Stop being an S O V

Welcome SOV's
I am listening to the radio. The holiday advertisements are rolling. Then a new ad rolls out. It is quick, pithy, and pointed. It draws our attention to the environmental and other costs of driving. Then it jumps right to urging you not to be an SOV (single occupancy vehicle).

The tagline is edgy, no doubt. It is surprising. It catches you (or at least, me) off-guard. I thought: who really is behind paying for the creativity of such much less the air-time. As it turns out, it is sponsored by a partnership led by Denver the Regional Council of Governments.

The campaign is clearly playing to the moral suasion argument—a strategy I have suggested that, in the past, has had very little success in the past in triggering behavioral change. I guess we can keep trying. Maybe more “edgy awareness” will help.

Top planning books of 2012…including the Bikeway Design Guide?

Planetizen just announced its 11th annual list of the ten best books in urban planning, design and development published for 2012. The list selected by Planetizen’s editorial staff covers a range of urgent topics. A couple of reactions:

-Popular press and journalistic authors dominate (not academics and researchers). This is to be expected, but I did not recognize a single academic. I suppose our writing style (or our findings?) really are boring.

…but, speaking of boring:

-Of the ten books listed, the 329 page Urban Bikeway Design Guide by the National Association of City Transportation Officials is one of them. Seriously? A technical manual as a “best of”? Apparently, the editorial staff is stacked w insomniacs. It is great to see a bike reference among the list. And, it is a really useful guide, don’t get me wrong. But still.

Mixite and Development of the Hippodrome de Montreal area

Hippodrome Project Logo.I am currently in Montreal as part of a forum of experts invited by the mayor’s office to help the city determine the strongest development potential for a 100+ acre development project (the old horseracing track).

Sure, it exciting to pretend like one is going to Europe for 2 days. But one of the best things I acquired on this trip is the use of a new word from my Francophone colleagues: mixite. Wikipedia tells me, “The diversity in general, refers to the presence or the context of individuals of both genders in a group or a concept. The word specializes in specific contexts: 1. The diversity , training and education together boys and girls in mixed groups. 2. In sociology , we talk about social mix , heterogeneous nature of society .”

…and, based on its use these past two days, I am guessing it can also mean the co-mingling of different items (e.g., people of different socio economic class, different ideas, or even different travel modes). I like it.

 

Heated paths — which first and what of salt?

Snow season is coming (at least in northern places in the northern hemisphere). I have read two accounts in the past week calling for heated bike paths and heated sidewalks.

Heating coils are one option. Retaining summer heat is the other. Both seem pretty expensive. But it does beg two questions, assuming it can be done and paid for,

1. Is it best to start with the sidewalks, bike paths or roads? I am less convinced the roads need it. The cars are relatively stable in moderate snow.

2. Can we really kick the salt habit?

Bicycle Urbanism Symposium

Inline image 1Here is another unique opportunity to advance bicycle planning on a national/international stage. I am on the International Program Committee for this event and it looks to be good. Late June in Seattle is not quite as good as September,  but its not bad…

The International Bicycle Urbanism Symposium will take place at the College of Built Environments, University of Washington, Seattle from June 19-22, 2013.

You are invited to submit abstracts for papers dealings with:

  • Ways that cities can best encourage and accommodate bicycle use 20-30 years in the future
  • Leading research that addresses bicycle use and effects of innovation in infrastructure and programs
  • Best practices and how these can inform long-term planning for bicycle use.

Intended participants include planning and design professionals, researchers, bicycle advocates, and public officials. Selected papers will be edited for one or more referred books.

A fuller description of the Symposium and its program can be found at www.be.washington.edu/bicycleurbanism. Questions can be addressed at bikeurb@uw.edu.

Warning: Next “generation” of bicycle advice forthcoming

We have been hearing for the last few years of the bicycle renaissance worldwide. The visibility is undoubtedly helping bicycling. The cries have been upbeat, reassuring, and feel-good: bicycling is good and cities are changing themselves to better accommodate such.

We are starting to better weigh the opportunity costs of different strategies and where there is room for improvement. In a positive step forward, we now have representatives in leading cities questioning some of their initiatives. We are reeling back some of the enthusiasm with a critical eye. This is healthy. Here are some examples:

I offered some thoughts for Boulder, Colorado a few months ago.

We apparently have some hiccups in Copenhagen’s bicycle-sharing system (note: each trip is a whopping $4.50?)

Seattle is apparently getting lots of press for cycling (owing to its Mayor?), but little traction.

 

 

WSTLUR to be held in Delft

Recently released: WSTLUR

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

It is our pleasure to announce that the 2014 World Symposium on Transport and Land Use Research (WSTLUR) will be held in Delft, the Netherlands, from Tuesday, June 24, 2014, through Friday, June 27, 2014. Please mark your calendars. Deadlines for full paper submissions will be announced in early 2013. This will be a call for full paper submission with a double-blind peer review process. Selected articles from the symposium will appear in the Journal of Transport and Land Use in 2015. More information regarding the symposium will be posted in the future on the WSTLUR website.

We would like to take this opportunity first to congratulate Professor Kees Maat from Delft University of Technology and Professor Karst Geurs from the University of Twente for their excellent proposal that won the bid. We would also like to thank all the institutions that indicated interest in organizing WSTLUR 2014.

Looking forward to seeing you in Delft.

Kelly Clifton and Ahmed El-Geneidy

 

Health benefits of switching to transport and bikes

Some of the most robust research, internationally, of the health benefits derived from switching car use to other modes is coming out of the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL) in Barcelona. They have looked at the impacts of Barcelona’s bike-sharing system in the past. Their latest work is more generally about the benefits of public transport and bike. Yes, they are working with future scenarios. Yes, there are lots of assumptions embedded. But the framework and the identification of key outcomes and specific measures is good to see.

*****
Cover imageReplacing car trips by increasing bike and public transport in the
greater Barcelona metropolitan area: A health impact assessment study
Environment International
Volume 49, 15 November 2012, Pages 100–109
Rojas et al.
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412012001833
****

Abstract

Objective
Estimate the health risks and benefits of mode shifts from car to cycling and public transport in the metropolitan area of Barcelona,Spain.
Methods
We conducted a health impact assessment (HIA), creating 8 different scenarios on the replacement of short and long car trips, by public transport or/and bike. The primary outcome measure was all-cause
mortality and change in life expectancy related to two different assessments: A) the exposure of travellers to physical activity, air pollution to particulate matter < 2.5 μm (PM2.5), and road traffic fatality; and B) the exposure of general population to PM2.5, modelling by Barcelona Air-Dispersion Model. The secondary outcome was a change in emissions of carbon dioxide.
Results
The annual health impact of a shift of 40% of the car trips, starting and ending in Barcelona City, to cycling (n = 141,690) would be for the travellers who shift modes 1.15 additional deaths from air pollution, 0.17 additional deaths from road traffic fatality and 67.46 deaths avoided from physical activity resulting in a total of 66.12 deaths avoided. Fewer deaths would be avoided annually if half of the replaced trips were shifted to public transport (43.76 deaths). The annual health impact in the Barcelona City general population (n = 1,630,494) of the 40% reduction in car trips would be 10.03 deaths avoided due to the reduction of 0.64% in exposure to PM2.5. The deaths (including travellers and general population) avoided in Barcelona City therefore would be 76.15 annually. Further health benefits would
be obtained with a shift of 40% of the car trips from the Greater Barcelona Metropolitan which either start or end in Barcelona City to public transport (40.15 deaths avoided) or public transport and
cycling (98.50 deaths avoided).The carbon dioxide reduction for shifting from car to other modes of transport (bike and public transport) in Barcelona metropolitan area was estimated to be 203,251
t/CO2 emissions per year.

Conclusions
Interventions to reduce car use and increase cycling and the use of public transport in metropolitan areas, like Barcelona, can produce health benefits for travellers and for the general population of the
city. Also these interventions help to reduce green house gas emissions.
Highlights

  • We assess the health impacts of replacing car trips by bicycle or public transport.
  • Replacement of the car trips reduces mortality in travellers who shift the mode.
  • Replacement of the car trips also reduces mortality in residents of urban areas.
  • Replacement of car trips can reduce the emissions of CO2.

Professor, Environmental Design and Transport, University of Colorado