Friday, February 28, 2014

Minhang's bike rental program goes electronic

The Chinese district Minhang began their bicycle rental program in 2009 to encourage greener transport and help reduce vehicle congestion on the streets. The program offered 19,000 bikes from nearly 600 stations spread around the district, including transit hubs, residential blocks and supermarkets. More than 230,000 honesty cards were issued. A user could pick up a bicycle in one place and return it to a station somewhere else. In the past four years, however, about 1,200 bicycles went missing, and the cost of repairing damaged bikes and replacing lost ones was mounting. Another 1,000 public bicycles will join the program this year, said the commission. Under the revamped program, the Agricultural Bank of China is a co-issuer of the IC card. People can purchase the card at all Minhang branches of the bank. Although the era of the “free lunch” has ended, Minhang’s public bicycle rental program has gained new strength with the use of prepaid IC cards. A three-month trial of the integrated circuit cards was launched following the district’s decision to scrap the original “honesty” system for renting the bicycles, which led to too many lost or stolen bikes and drove up costs. Read more here.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Only silly people think that wearing a helmet makes cycling safe; it is the infrastrcuture, stupid!

Cycling is dangerous, and should be banned unless participants wear helmets. That at least is the message an independent observer would take from reading that – a few weeks ago – the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) banned an advert from Cycling Scotland. This seems to make sense, doesn’t it? People who ride bicycles without wearing a helmet get brain damage. It stands to reason that banning cycling without protective clothing is a good thing, doesn’t it? Just as it stands to reason that aspirin is good for viral fevers and that an anti-emetic is good for treating morning sickness. There haven’t been any clinical trials, but the ASA, the Highway Code and many people I know all hold that cycling without a helmet should be a criminal offence. The evidence that a 20 quid piece of plastic and foam can save your life must be incredibly compelling. Some jurisdictions have taken the step of banning cycling without a helmet. In Australia for example, it is now illegal even for children to ride around without a helmet. And in Australia, cycling-related deaths have fallen. But what’s intriguing is that cycling overall has also fallen, at a faster rate than cycling-related fatalities. Read on in The Guardian. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

A taste of the best: part 3: Eschede

Enschede is one of the five nominees to become best Cycling City of the Netherlands in 2014. Chosen from a long-list of 19 municipalities, these five municipalities compete to take over the title of current best cycling city ʼs-Hertogenbosch, which was elected in 2011. I will make a small portrait of all five nominees and in reversed alphabetical order Enschede is the third after Velsen and Zwolle. Enschede’s big cycle bridge that featured in an earlier blog post.Enschede is a larger university city in the East of the Netherlands, close to the German border. With its population of about 160,000 it is the largest city of the province of Overijssel. The city’s main industry had long been textile production, but that collapsed in the 1970s and 80s.  Many cities in the Netherlands are compact and Enschede is no exception. Coupled with good policies for cycling this makes that cycling is an important means of transport in this city. In the Bicycle Vision of the city for the period 2012-2020 we find that Enschede choses consciously for sustainable mobility and tries to get people to make the shift to cycling to improve traffic safety and the liveability of especially the city centre.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Hamburg Car Free in 20 years

Hamburg City Council has disclosed ambitious plans to divert most cars away from its main thoroughfares in twenty years. In order to do so, local authorities are to connect pedestrian and cycle lanes in what is expected to become a large green network. In all, the Grünes Netz (Green Web) plan envisages “eliminating the need for automoviles” within two decades. By connecting the entire urban centre with its outskirts Hamburg is expecting to smooth inner traffic flow. In all, the northernmost city is to lay out new green areas and connect them with the existing parks, community gardens and cementeries. Upon completion of the plan Hamburg will pride itself on having over 17,000 acres of green spaces, making up 40% of the city’s area. According to an official, the ambitious plan will “reduce the need to take the car for weekend outings outside the city”.  The entire city centre is to be linked with its outskirts by an extensive network of pedestrian and cycle lans. Read more here.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Cycling Health and Safety: International Transport Forum

The health benefits to society from cycling outweigh negative impacts by up to a factor of 20, according to the final research report "Cycling, Health and Safety" from the ITF Working Group on Cycling Safety. The report, published at a time when many cities are seeking to increase the share of cycling amidst concerns for safety, shows that the key to delivering overall benefits from cycling is creating a safe system through government policy and city action. Among the recommendations for policy makers is the moderation of some urban road speeds to 30km/h or less, and the use of separated cycling infrastructure to increase the number of new cyclists, hence reaping the greatest health benefits through increased physical activity, including reducing risks linked to cardiovascular disease, obesity and Type-2 diabetes.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Farming the city: FoodLogica

FOODLOGICA is a hallmark initiative of new urban transportation standards. Working with non-polluting transport companies (i.e. electric boats and trucks, bikes) we seek to create a network of zero-emission vehicles to bring local produce into the city. FOODLOGICA: refine local food logistics. The growing trend of eating local food is a sign of excellence in the development of our society. However, local food is usually transported with fuel-powered vehicles that constantly travel into and out of the city. This results in a fragmented transportation network, which increases pollution and congestion. Surprisingly, consuming local foods without understanding distribution practices can still contribute to the environmental degradation of our closest surroundings: where we breathe, work and play. FOODLOGICA shows that an activity, a business or an event does not additionally pollute/congest our cities.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

‘The Little Green One’ cycle bridge north of Nijmegen

Sjors van Duren, mobility advisor of the regional body Stadsregio Arnhem Nijmegen recently explained: “The city of Nijmegen is the project’s promoter for both the new bridge over the river Waal and the connecting roads. In the scoping phase the plans involved a level-crossing with the – at the time – ordinary cycle route to the town of Oosterhout. During the development of the new Waal bridge the project “RijnWaalPad”, which is the high-speed cycle route from Nijmegen to Arnhem, was started. [Which incorporated the cycle route to Oosterhout.] Although at first it did not seem possible to change the plans for this crossing, there was a window of opportunity in 2011 when it was clear there was room for a cycle bridge after all. It could cross over the new road and would connect to the area around the Lent railway station. Because the high-speed cycle route is high priority, the council of Nijmegen, the province of Gelderland and the regional body ‘Stadsregio Arnhem – Nijmegen’ were able to allocate funds, 4.8 million Euro, in a time span of only two months.” Read more in Bicycle Dutch here

Thursday, February 6, 2014

A taste of the best. Part 2 Velsen

Velsen is one of the five nominees to become best Cycling City of the Netherlands in 2014. Chosen from a long-list of 19 municipalities, these five municipalities compete to take over the title of current best cycling city ʼs-Hertogenbosch, which was elected in 2011. I will make a small portrait of all five nominees and in reversed alphabetical order Velsen is second after Zwolle. The municipality of Velsen and its cycle routes. Even though the municipality consists of no less than 7 different boroughs, (Velsen-North, Velsen-South, IJmuiden*, Santpoort-North, Santpoort-South, Driehuis and Velserbroek) Velsen is the smallest municipality of the five nominees with a population of 67,180. Velsen is not really well-known for its cycling in the Netherlands and the town has a massive man-made barrier right through its heart: the North Sea Canal that links the port of Amsterdam with the North Sea. This year’s theme for Best Cycling City is “Cycling without barriers” so that seems to be a bit odd. But when I visited the town I experienced a good cycling climate that also seems to be improving. Read more in Bicycle Dutch.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The foldable e-bicycle as a real weapon; an alternative to mountain bikes

The TREFECTA was launched at the annual NIDV symposium on the 21st of November 2013 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. This cross-over between a bicycle and a motorbike was developed in cooperation with Swiss company Emobility Concepts GmbH. ADSE supports Emobility Concepts with the design, integration, supply chain development, first prototype development and testing of TREFECTA.The all-terrain TREFECTA combines power, design and functionality. It has a range of 160 km and a top speed of 70km/h. This unique foldable e-Bike features high-end materials, state of the art battery technology and integrated mobile communication. Three prototypes that were shown are developed for military customers and national security organizations. Following this successful launch, the first delivery for the consumer market is planned for 2014. Read more here.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Free public transport attracts pedestrians, not car drivers

In an ambitious move, the capital of Estonia gave its 430,000 residents access to public transit. So why didn't the free rides result in new passengers? A year ago, the city of Tallinn, Estonia, situated a short hop across the Baltic Sea from Finland, made public transportation free to its residents. The capital city of roughly 430,000 people embarked on the largest experiment so far in the fare-free public transportation movement, which proponents claim increases ridership, gets cars off the road, and decreases congestion all while making the city more accessible to low-income residents.
As a study from the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden found, Tallinn's fare-free transit, which applies to buses, trams and trolleys, didn't bring new riders in droves as city officials expected. The researchers, who presented at the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board in Washington, D.C. this January, found that dropping fares only accounted for a 1.2% increase in demand for the service. Read on here in East Company.