Thursday, January 19, 2012

Improving Motor Cycle Safety

Throughout the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and across the world, riders and passengers of motorcycles and scooters are among the most vulnerable road users. Such vulnerability is especially pertinent for nations that more often use motorcycles and scooters as a method of transportation. This compendium aims to facilitate implementation of best practice countermeasures to improve motorcycle safety in APEC member economies.For information all kinds of information visit the Economies page. To read about important issues and contributing factors to serious crashes, injuries and deaths of motorcycle and scooter users, visit the Issues page. To learn about countermeasures to improve motorcycle safety and how to evaluate programs, visit the Safety Interventions page. To see examples of treatments and programs implemented by APEC member economies, visit the Case Studies page. Useful links and selected references are located on the Links page. More information about this Compendium, a glossary of terms and acronyms used, and links to download the Report to APEC and Literature Review on which this Compendium is based, can be found on the About page.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Less cars, more mopeds .....

The number of snorfietsen – light mopeds allowed on bicycle paths, often scooters – has grown almost 3 times as fast in Amsterdam as elsewhere in the Netherlands. Almost 6,000 people have signed a petition against nuisance from scooters, but Alderman Wiebes wants to continue allowing scooters on bicycle paths. Next Thursday, the city council will discuss a proposal from GroenLinks to deal with scooter nuisance. Along with Landsmeer, Laren and Bloemendaal, Amsterdam is among the cities with the highest growth in snorfietsen. The number of serious traffic accidents involving scooters has also risen sharply. According to the municipality, one of the main causes is speeding by scooter riders. A study by cyclists’ organisation Fietsersbond found that 94% of scooters on bicycle paths in Amsterdam exceed the speed limit. Many cyclists think this is a reason why scooters do not belong on bicycle paths. By contrast, Alderman Wiebes thinks the reckless driving by scooter riders is a reason to keep them on bicycle paths, for otherwise ‘a nuisance to cyclists is traded for an even higher risk for snorfietsers (…) while the accident rate for mopeds and snorfietsen is very high as it is'.  Are we heading towards Taipei? Source: Nieuws uit Amsterdam

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Does Car Travel equal business?

As gross domestic product (GDP) tends to increase with car travel, some critics argue that a reduction of car travel will harm the economy. However, the correlation between GDP and car travel does not prove that economic growth is caused by car travel. Most developed countries are increasing their GDP per unit of energy and mobility, showing that these economies are becoming more efficient. The paper 'Are VMT Reduction Targets Justified?' (VTPI, 2011) contains many interesting graphs (mostly about the USA) indicating that economic productivity in urban regions tends to increase with declining car travel, declining roadway supply, increasing public transport use and even increasing fuel prices. Conventional transport economic evaluation tends to focus on a limited set of impacts (travel time, congestion delay, vehicle operation costs, accident costs). Other economic impacts are often overlooked, like parking costs, vehicle ownership costs, car infrastructure construction and maintenance costs. This leads to a distortion of project appraisal in favour of car transport improvements. There is an optimal level of automobile travel, beyond which marginal costs of car traffic exceed marginal benefits. Extensive guidance on transport cost-benefit analysis can be found on VTPI's website.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Better streets in India

'Better Streets,Better Cities', is a guide to designing streets in urban India. Current street design practice in India is often based on a vision of high-speed motorized mobility that does not take into account the variety and types of activities that actually take place in Indian streets. While streets are often designed from the centerline outward, Better Streets, Better Cities urges planners to explore an alternate approach that prioritizes the needs of pedestrians and cyclists. The guide begins with a discussion of sixteen street elements, such as footpaths, cycle tracks, medians, and spaces for street vending, covering the importance of each element as well as implementation challenges and design criteria. While existing NMT infrastructure in Indian cities is implemented with good intent, design shortcomings resulting from a failure to account for the practical needs of pedestrians and cyclists often mean that these facilities remain unused. The guide indicates how these pitfalls can be avoided. Next is a library of design templates for various rights-of-way, followed by sample intersections. The final section describes the process of street design—from data collection, surveys, and analysis to the preparation of
final plans—using a real-world example of an urban intersection to explain methodological issues.