Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Urban mobility in the smart city age

A smart city is an efficient city, a livable city, as well as an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable city. This vision can be realised today, using innovative operational and information technology, and leveraging meaningful and reliable real-time data generated by citizens and city infrastructure. However, an unprecedented scale of change is needed for cities to become more efficient, attractive, inclusive and competitive. This change will require a new paradigm, which looks at the fabric of cities in a totally new way. This, in turn, requires a breakthrough in how cities, businesses, citizens and academia think and work together. The transition towards smarter cities is about reinventing cities, such that: • citizens are no longer considered as users, but as key stakeholders; • technology is no longer looked at as a static asset, but as a dynamic enabler; • business is no longer viewed as a provider, but as a partner; • the notion of urban evolution is replaced by one of transformation. Read on in URBAN MOBILITY IN  THE SMART CITY AGE and find out how Velo Mondial thinks, as well as a growing number of people and institutions.

Monday, September 29, 2014

London cycling lanes face opposition from Transport for London

Senior figures at Transport for London (TfL) believe Boris Johnson is trying to rush through his plans for segregated cycle lanes in London too quickly, Politics.co.uk can reveal. The London mayor has promised to build a series of segregated cycle routes across London over ten years. The plans are broadly supported by cyclists but are meeting stiff opposition from motoring and business groups, who believe the lanes will cause congestion. A senior source at TfL told Politics.co.uk that they were concerned that the mayor's cycling ambassador Andrew Gilligan had not effectively explained the policy to Londoners."It's not a bad policy as long as you communicate to people what it entails and I'm not sure that's been done," they said. The source described Mr Gilligan as a "zealot" and suggested that he had failed to convince anyone beyond those already persuaded by the need for the new segregated cycle lanes. They pointed to new figures showing the mayor's cycle superhighways will delay other journeys across London by up to 16 minutes on some routes. Read more here. For London planners, read: 'Enabling Cycling Cities, Ingredients for success' where preventing this problem is addressed. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Rome was not built in one day; nor shall London's cycling network

Boris Johnson cycle superhighway plans are cut and delayed. While his allies rally round his flagship project, other elements of the London mayor’s “cycling vision” are being quietly dropped or slowed down With media attention firmly focussed on the 18-mile, east-west “Crossrail for bikes” and concerns that this ambitious scheme is being forced through too fast in order to make Boris Johnson look good before he formally steps down in 2016, two of the mayor’s other planned “cycle superhighways” have been dumped and others have been put back. In a written answer to a question from Green Party London Assembly member Darren Johnson, the mayor has confirmed that plans for a superhighway 6 (CS6) from Penge to the City and a superhighway 12 from East Finchley/Muswell Hill to Angel (CS12) “are now deleted from the programme”. Meanwhile, the latest Transport for London (TfL) operational and financial performance report shows that CS11, CS4 and an extension to the forthcoming CS5 are “scheduled to complete later than originally forecast”. Read on here.

Lambeth: a new public space

In response to residents’ feedback from consultation on the Loughborough Junction Plan, Lambeth Council are now working with the Loughborough Junction Action Group, local residents and architects DSDHA to develop proposals to improve the junction of Coldharbour Lane and Loughborough Road for pedestrians and cyclists and a new public space outside on Loughborough Road at Wyck Gardens. Bringing together other local initiatives such as the 7 Bridges project, the proposals aim to create a positive new public space in the heart of Loughborough Junction, helping to build the identity of the area to reflect the existing vibrant community and enhance the quality of life for local residents, businesses and visitors. The proposals would increase the amount of public space at the junction of Loughborough Road and Coldharbour Lane by reducing the width of the road. Conditions for cycling and walking would be greatly improved.The proposals would complement the area-wide proposals to create calmer residential streets with less through-traffic whilst maintaining access for residents, visitors, deliveries, the emergency services, cyclists and buses. Read on here.

Friday, September 19, 2014

'The Law of the Mind' and the 'Perfect Citizen'

Riding a bike, you are agile, able to make calculated maneuvers in spontaneous circumstances; your body and face are exposed, integrated in your built and social environment; you communicate informally, as you see another cyclist turn a corner coming toward you, you lean subtly left to signal your direction and with a split- second glance at their eyes, the other acknowledges and veers just to your side; you are aware of others; others are aware of you; your actions are communal and collective; your actions are private and individual; you think and decide; you decide without thinking; your body is performing; you dip on and off the sidewalk, avoiding autos and obstacles, squeezing through traffic and slipping through red lights; you do what autos do; you do what autos do not, and at times, what autos cannot; you see chaos in congestion; you find order in the swarm; you conform to formal traffic rules; you have your own set of rules; you are a cyclist. Read on in this highly interesting blog of 'Cycling Academics'.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Segregation removable for state occasions

Europe’s longest substantially-segregated urban cycleways were unveiled today, the centrepiece of the Mayor’s £913 million commitment to get more Londoners on their bikes. Two continuous cycle routes almost completely separated from traffic will cross central London from east to west and north to south, opening up thousands of new journey opportunities for cyclists. The north-south route will run for more than 3 miles from Elephant & Castle to King’s Cross. The east-west route will run from Barking to Acton, a distance of over 18 miles, including a section on the Westway flyover, where one lane will be removed to create a segregated cycle track. Protected cycle routes will also be created through dangerous junctions, including Tower Hill, Blackfriars, Parliament Square and Lancaster Gate. Connections will be created to cycle routes servicing other parts of the City, West End and suburbs. Subject to detailed public consultation – which begins today – work will start early next year and the routes will open in March 2016. High-quality materials will be used for the scheme to enhance the look of the streets and reflect their importance. On parts of the scheme, the segregation will be removable for state occasions. Read on here.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The world's largest study of bicycle user behaviour

Nine intersections. 19,500 cyclists. Nine hours. All in a city considered as a model for many urban planners. The Copenhagenize 'Design Company Desire Lines Analysis Tool' headed south to Amsterdam to study bicycle user behaviour and how it interacts with - or is affected by - urban infrastructure. In a loose collaboration between Copenhagenize Design Co. and The University of Amsterdam in the guise of Marco te Brömmelstroet nine intersections in the city were filmed during the morning rush hour in order to complete the world's largest study of bicycle user behaviour. The results of our study and showcase some of the data, analyses and desire line maps. The bicycle infrastructure in the City of Amsterdam is rather different from the typology used in Copenhagen ,where we did the first anthropological studies of the cyclists - The Choregraphy of an Urban Intersection, and others. It was therefore interesting for us to observe the trajectories and behavioiur of Dutch cyclists crossing over-crowded intersections.  Do we really have the World's Best Behaved Cyclists in Copenhagen or can the Dutch compete with that? Read on in Copenhagenize.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Electric Bikeshare in Madrid

Madrid’s bike sharing program finally debut this week, joining other metropolises, such as Barcelona, Seville, Valencia, Zaragoza, and Vitoria, to advance the most sustainable and healthy transport system after walking. More interestingly, Madrid’s brand new bicycles are electric. The chosen name was initially controversial. BiciMad comes from bicicleta (bicycle) and Madrid, and despite some people noticing the double meaning in English, the local council did not get it or actually liked it and decided to go “loco.” It was prophetic, as the first day was a little hectic, with it not working and a fake twitter account helping people better than the official one. Nevertheless the bike sharing system is welcome in Madrid. The Spanish capital is begging for clean air and many social movements have been started in the last few years demanding more space for bikes in the street. Will people in Madrid leave the car to take the bike? The electric motor will probably make the difference. Read more here.