Thursday, March 20, 2014

A taste of the best. Part 5: Almere

Almere is a new city and the first residents have only lived here since 1976. The area where the city is now, a former seabed, was pumped dry in the 1960s. I have written about this in an earlier blog post. The former sea became the province of Flevoland. Almere was the second large city in the new province after the capital Lelystad. Designers wanted to create completely separate grids for the different types of transport in Almere too, but they did not want to make the same mistakes as in Lelystad. There all the cycle routes were elevated and all crossings were built as 5 metre high overpasses. That meant that cyclists had to cycle up steep inclines and with the fierce winds in the former seabed that was not an easy task. So the designers went to the United Kingdom and looked how the cycle grid of Stevenage was built! They took their inspiration from that new town and perfected the system. All major roads in Almere were elevated one and a half metres, so that all cycle tracks only had to be lowered with one and a half metres too, to provide the necessary clearance for the crossings without needing steep inclines. In tunnels you would be cycling protected from the winds. This is why Almere now has 120 bicycle underpasses.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

European Cycle Logistics Conference & Cargo Bike Festival 2014

The European Cycle Logistics Federation is a professional body which represents and supports the needs of cycle logistics companies across Europe. The second, FREE to attend, conference of the European Cycle Logistics Federation will be held on Saturday 12 April 2014 in Nijmegen, the Netherlands and forms part of the International Cargo Bike Festival 2014 which is running at the same time over the 12 & 13 Apri 2014. The conference will build on the success of the first event held in Cambridge, UK in 2012 and includes a comprehenisve agenda of industry experts along with opportunities for participants to hear and learn from established cycle logistics operators.The conference programme has now been finalised and the full agenda of sessions and speakers can be viewed below. Over 150 delegates from 24 countries have so far signed up to attend - Click here to register. Also the International Cargo Bike Festival 2014 will run then and there during the weekend of 12 & 13 April 2014 in Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Smart Crosswalks in London

London is set to test 'smart' crosswalks equipped with sensors and cameras to make crossing roads easier and safer for pedestrians. The introduction of Pedestrian Split Cycle Offset Optimisation Technique or 'Pedestrian SCOOT', is the first of its kind in the world and uses hi-tech video camera technology   to automatically detect how many pedestrians are waiting at crossings.   It enables the adjustment of traffic signal timings  automatically to extend the green pedestrian invitation to cross phase when large numbers of people are waiting, allowing   more people to cross the road. The first trials of pedestrian SCOOT are set to take place on crossings outside Balham and Tooting Bec Underground   stations this summer.   London will be the first city to use this kind of   technology in its pedestrian crossings, though SCOOT is   already used in traffic lights, to help control traffic   congestion, in London and other cities around the world,   including Toronto, Beijing and Santiago. Transport for London , the agency overseeing the   project, is also developing a 'call cancel' technology, which can detect when a pedestrian who has pushed the crossing button has either crossed before the signal goes green or   walks away, and therefore cancels the pedestrian crossing   phase. Read more here.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

New Traffic Test App for Dutch Children

This year in April about 150,000 Dutch school children will take a traffic test called “Traffic Exam”. It is tradition Dutch school children do this test when they are in their last year of primary school. Bicycle Dutch has shown you this before in a video. But traffic experts now sound the alarm: ever more children fail the test. In 2013 6,000 children failed the test which is … a staggering 4%. So something clearly has to be done! Safe Traffic Netherlands, (Veilig Verkeer Nederland) the organisation behind the test has now developed an App, so children can learn about traffic safety in a fun way. In this report from the news for children (Jeugdjournaal) of Monday 10th of March 2014, an expert also explains the children are not to blame, it’s their parents taking them to school in a car!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A taste of the best. Part 4: Eindhoven

Eindhoven is the 5th largest city in the Netherlands with a population of 220,000 in the city and about 440,000 in the agglomeration. The city grew most because it was home to multinational Philips since its founding in 1891 until 1997 when headquarters were moved to Amsterdam. And the city grew because of Philips in the most literal sense: the company built an entire village with houses for its employees. Many of my relatives worked for Philips since my mother’s side of the family hails from the Eindhoven region.The letters in the name of the well-known football club PSV Eindhoven stand for Philips Sport Club. There was more industry in Eindhoven; tobacco, textile and the city even manufactured cars. But in more recent years DAF has become a brand that only constructs trucks. Nowadays Eindhoven is a high tech city, with a so-called “brainport” which, according to the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF), was the world’s smartest region in 2011. The Financial Times ranks Eindhoven in third place after London and Helsinki, in the overall ranking of its Foreign Direct Investment Index (fDi index).