Thursday, October 31, 2013

Good & Bad in the eyes of the elderly

A large group of people cycled through the town of Vught last Friday. Accompanied by the Vught alderman for traffic, a council member and the senior traffic policy maker. Together they were on a tour to visit good and bad cycling infrastructure. At least good and bad in the eyes of this very specific group of people cycling: the elderly. Dutch elderly people cycle a lot. There are more elderly than before and they cycle more often and also further. Sounds good, but it came with a price: more than half of all cycle deaths last year were people over the age of 65, an incredible figure! In 2012, 200 people cycling were killed in the Netherlands, but of those 200 no less than 108 were over the age of 65! It becomes even more mind-boggling when you consider that 60% of all bicycle crashes with serious injuries were single vehicle crashes. No motor vehicle, no other cyclists, not even a pedestrian was involved. Dutch elderly seem to just fall off their bicycles and they often sustain severe injuries or they even die. Dutch traffic experts are trying to find out what the cause of this all is. And once the cause is known if they can do something about it. Read on in Bicycle Dutch.

Nice goes telematics

Nice, the Mediterranean seaside resort and France's fifth largest city, is embarking on a year-long smart city proof-of-concept. It's partnering with Cisco and several companies involved with sustainable urban development through an alliance called Think Global. The project, "Connected Boulevard," is testing multiple applications such as smart parking, waste disposal, lighting efficiency and environmental monitoring. All of them build on information generated by approximately 200 wirelessly connected devices and sensors deployed along the 800-yard-long Boulevard Victor Hugo. "The goal is to define new applications, usages and business models," said Olivier Seznec, chief technology officer for Cisco France. In particular, the municipal government seeks to document specific ways in which these applications -- and others not yet defined -- may generate cost savings or new revenue for this city of about 550,000 inhabitants. That information is necessary to help justify a deeper investment. Read on in Greenbiz.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Portland cannot keep up with demand

The city of Portland, Oregon, has reached the impressive milestone of 100 bike corrals. That's 9 years after the first one was installed, and the city expects to reach 150 within 5 years and has 98 additional applications under review. As far as I know, that's a lot more than any other city in the US, though I hope that others will give Portland some competition. Why are bike corrals so great? Because in a dense urban environment, the are very space-efficient; where 1 or 2 cars could park, dozens of bikes might fit. The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) said that their bike corral program "has helped Portland businesses increase on-street customer parking ten-fold." That's 163 car parking spaces swapped for 1,644 bicycle parking spaces! They also allow cyclists to park right in front of where they're going to eat or shop, making cycling more convenient. And in their own way, they're great marketing for bikes. People see these big clumps of bikes and get used to the idea that cycling is something normal. Read more in Treehugger and check out this great short-film by our friends at Streetfilms.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Reliable, frequent and intermodal mobility in Stockholm

Stockholm, the capital and largest city of Sweden, is a beautiful and well planned city and known for its setting among island waterways.  It has a vibrant cafĂ© and nightlife scene and is full of parks as well as cycling and walking tracks.  It is an easy city to get around, possessing a 100-station metro system and complimentary network of trams, buses, light rail, and commuter trains.  What makes Stockholm’s transit system so good is its intermodal functionality, that is, the ease with which its riders can switch from a subway to a tram or commuter train, using the same fare card and with little walking or waiting.  The most important accomplishment of the public transportation system in Stockholm has been its high degree of reliability, frequency, and intermodal connectivity.  The commuter and city rail lines coalesce with the trams and buses in nearly seamless transfer points, making for short walks between modes.  Waiting is minimized by the high frequency and reliability of the rail and bus modes, and stations and bus shelters each contain standard, localized schedules and maps. Read more in Sustainable Cities Collective.