Will eBikes save the planet?

Wired published a rather excellent article “THE VEHICLE OF THE FUTURE HAS TWO WHEELS, HANDLEBARS, AND IS A BIKE” which explores the future of autonomous vehicles and whether they will truly be the answer to urban travel.

When you start doing the math, you very quickly realise that we have allocated an exceptional amount of space on our roads to not moving people to the point where we could be moving three times as many people down our roads given the provided space.

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However, we appear to have shafted the planet and are in the middle of the 6th mass extinction event on caused by you, fellow human.

What is your MPG?

In all of this, how efficiently we move around the planet is hugely important.

Even cycling and walking have a carbon cost in terms of food consumed. In fact the MPG of a human has been roughly calculated

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More interesting is that this article from 2011, doesn’t consider the impact of electric bicycles in their ability to efficiently use power or the impact of renewables on the electric supply market. However others have written on the subject “Surprising Ways An Electric Bike Affects The Environment”

Save the planet, get on an eBike

Although this might sound illogical, an eBike is the most efficient way to move a human.

It also makes Bath an easy city to cycle. 😉

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Car centric councils create inequality, poor performing employees, and limit the local labour market

If an employee cycles to work, employers will find that this employee will be more on time, perform better and save employers money. This employee will also have half the number of sick days that other employees do.

Now, an American study, looking at inequality and employer access to potential candidates has found that a council that does not focus on delivering a true multi-modal road network, is directly impacting the earning capacity of minority groups and women while limiting the access employers have to good candidates. Travel choice is key in achieving equity.

Congestion costs the UK £300Billion

On top of this, the car centric road infrastructure approach that is rife, not only at council level, but within the highest echelons of UK Government is costing the country £300 Billion in congestion each year.

But let’s be clear, this is absolutely not about banning the car, but recognising that if we want a healthy, functioning, equal society, then our roads must treat each mode of transport equally and using a set of good design standards for delivering the right infrastructure.

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WECA and LEP are failing us

What surprises me most about this is that neither WECA or LEP seem to have a handle on this. Congestion alone is costing the West of England £300M per year. Cars really are not providing the answer and the lack of action on behalf of the Metro Mayor and Patricia Greer (CEO of both WECA and LEP) should have employers up in arms.

We need to move people

For too long Highways and the DfT model things in terms of vehicle movements. Not people movements. Removing on-street parking and introducing 1 bi-directional car lane wide cycle land is the same as installing a 5 lane motorway in terms of people moved.

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WHATABOUTERY?!

What about the 37.5Million cars on our roads? They VOTE.

Most politicians will fight tooth and nail to prevent enlightened council officers from delivering a balanced road system that gives equal priority to walking, cycling, and driving.

When accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.

Ignoring the immense long term costs these politicians are burdening the council with in terms of youth and social services through loss of child independent travel and health impacts from transport related obesity and air pollution, they are doing all those businesses in your area a disservice, while ensuring people from minority groups and women have limited access to employers.

It’s the economy stupid

Transport policy pervades all aspects of our lives, and the travel choices available to you will limit the job roles you can apply for. As an employer, your council’s lack of willingness to deliver good cycling infrastructure is costing you money and you will be missing out on star employees.

A new parking garage in ’s-Hertogenbosch

When you look at Park and Ride facilities, as done by other countries you see an approach predicated on providing good connections via all modes of traffic, not simply use of bus. Given the square meterage of this parking garage, I’m surprised higher capacity was not achieved through the use of car park stacking systems. These building should, in effect be big hangars within which a car stacking systems are built. This would achieve a capacity of 4000+ cars and provide an charging point for each car. The thought and planning that has gone into the environmental impact of this building and how it has been connected to transport routes, be it by car, bus, foot, or bicycle, is simply brilliant. All it needs now is a tram connection 😉

BICYCLE DUTCH

The city of ’s-Hertogenbosch wants to have fewer cars in its city centre. To achieve that goal the city built a large car parking garage at the edge of the city, where people can transfer from their private car to a bus that takes them to the city centre. The city decided to build the so-called Transferium as green as possible in collaboration with a lot of stake holders. Cycling infrastructure is an integral part of the project. The building was opened last week with a bike-fest.

Once the outside is covered in green ivy this parking garage will be hidden in plain sight with all the green surrounding it. In the distance to the right: the city hospital. In the far distance: the city. Still from a video by the city of ʼs-Hertogenbosch.

Some of you may wonder why I would show you a car parking garage on…

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Low Traffic Neighbourhoods

Many people are in awe of what has been achieved in Walthamstow, London with over 10,000 less car movements per day and a big shift to walking and cycling as the neighbourhood became car light and traffic free.

London Cycling Campaign and Living Streets London have now created a guide for campaigners, council officers, and politicians on how to achieve these cheap, hugely impactful changes within your towns and cities in a matter of months.

The introduction I hope gives you a taste for what this document can do for Bath and North East Somerset, if the political will can be found.

Each neighbourhood or “cell” is a group of residential streets, bordered by main or “distributor” roads (the places where buses, lorries, lots of traffic passing through should be), or by features in the landscape that form barriers to motor traffic – rivers, train lines etc.

  • You should be able to walk across a neighbourhood in fifteen minutes at most. Larger, and people start driving inside the neighbourhood. We suggest an ideal size of about 1km2.
  • Groups of cells or neighbourhoods should be clustered around key amenities and transport interchanges in a 6-10km radius (with 1-2km walking journeys key) as a priority. This is typically what you get in Dutch suburbs, towns and cities. People walk and cycle within their area, and to the station etc.
  • Cells should link together with crossings across distributor roads or other cell boundaries – this enables people to comfortably walk and cycle between cells from home to amenities, transport interchanges etc.
  • The positive benefits of low traffic neighbourhoods can be further enhanced by providing high quality cycle tracks and pavements along the distributor roads also.

In the coming weeks I will be working publicly to identify all traffic light neighbourhood cells within the city and deliver a plan to create a city that truly prioritises walking and cycling and creates the behaviour change that a clean air zone could never achieve.

Watch this space!

Stop idling

BATH NEWSEUM

Gillian Risbridger writes to ask if Bath Newseum could give ‘Bath living Streets’ a shout and also mention their role in a campaign to help cut pollution and improve air quality in Bath.

She would like people to come and support the anti-idling initiative aimed at encouraging drivers to turn off their engines when parked. The next action day takes place on Saturday 28 April at 10.15am at the YMCA in Bath.

Gillian – who is the campaign organiser – writes; “Idling – running a vehicle’s engine when the vehicle is not in motion – increases the amount of exhaust fumes in the air. The anti-idling initiative is organised by Bath Living Streets, a UK charity for everyday walking. 

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The first action day in March was a great success. After a short training session, volunteers – called Bath Clean Air Champions – went out to engage with drivers in…

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WECA Head of Transport, walking and cycling not needed

Before attending WECA meeting today to do my speech (WECA 18 April March 2018 pdf) on behalf of Cycle Bath and Bristol Cycle Campaign, somebody made me aware that the West of England Combined Authority is looking for a Head of Transport. Within the job specification document the key responsibilities listed are:

  • Manage the Transport Team of the West of England Combined Authority.
  • Manage and lead on the strategic transport functions of the West of England Combined Authority including the Joint Local Transport Plan, Bus Strategy, Key Route Network and Major Transport Scheme programme and other transport projects and initiatives that arise.
  • Manage the West of England Combined Authority’s Integrated Transport Authority functions for concessionary travel, bus information, community transport and supported bus services, clean air zones and transitional arrangements with the constituent councils
  • Monitor and manage spend from the West of England Combined Authority’s transport budgets.
  • Lead and co-ordinate the development, adoption and enactment of transport policies and schemes that assist the West of England Combined Authority in making best use of its capital and revenue resources including the West of England Investment Fund.
  • Develop the future role of the West of England Combined Authority in taking on responsibility for new transport powers and functions.
  • Provide strategic transport advice to the Mayor and the constituent councils on transport and planning functions.
  • Provide a lead role in joint working with the constituent councils on developing and delivering transport schemes including leading on bids to Government and other agencies to maximise investment in the area.
  • Promote the role of the West of England Combined Authority as a transport authority.
  • Engage with a range of stakeholders including Network Rail, Highways England, bus and rail operators.

Continue reading WECA Head of Transport, walking and cycling not needed

Where the **** is our Cycling and Walking Tsar?

Chris Boardman is Greater Manchester’s Cycling and Walking Tsar appointed by Metro Mayor Andy Burnham. Andy has been a Metro Mayor for almost 1 year. West of England’s Metro Mayor Tim Bowles has also been in the role for almost 1 year.

I am utterly disappointed with Tim Bowles. He appears to be way over his head and has no idea what he’s doing with transport. Casual observers might think he is utterly obsessed with junction 18A of the M4 or any scheme as long as it appears to make it better for motorised vehicles.

Continue reading Where the **** is our Cycling and Walking Tsar?

Bath Preservation Trust support for Clean Air Zone.

It’s good to see the Bath Preservation Trust calling for the hypothecation of revenue to prioritise the delivery of walking and cycling infrastructure.

BPT recognising that the Clean Air Zone does not change behaviour and does not get people out of cars really needs repeating. It does nothing to solve congestion.

I note that BPT says a CAZ tackles Air Pollution but a CAZ ONLY tackles NOx, not PM2.5/10 (brake ,tyre, road dust etc) pollution. BPT calling for the CAZ to be the largest and include private vehicles is something everyone should be telling the council. I really hope the council takes note of BPT’s statement. We need so much more from the council. The vacuum of political will is really not helping here.

We are in a Public Health crisis caused by Air Pollution and Transport related Obesity. We need so much more from our councillors.

BATH NEWSEUM

Bath Preservation Trust  has come out in support of the proposal by B&NES to introduce a Clean Air Zone in Bath (CAZ) – particularly because its boundaries take into account the through traffic crossing Cleveland Bridge and exiting the City along the London Road. 

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In a press statement – released today, Tuesday. April 10th – BPT say:

‘We support the highest category of restriction (category D) in order to encourage behavioural change for car users as well as commercial vehicles.

Bath traffic results in three problems which can damage the listed buildings and harm the amenity of the World Heritage Site: pollution, congestion and vibrations. The CAZ is primarily aimed at the former (pollution) though it is to be hoped that it will also change behaviours of both longer distance drivers and local users.

While the CAZ is therefore by no means a total solution to the traffic problems…

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Waltham Forest Mini-Holland (part 3) – Modal filters

I really think with sat navs and map apps giving drivers almost perfect information on an area, modal filters are a key cheap tool to reclaim our streets for residents and make them liveable places where it is pleasant to walk, cycle, and play.

Just Step Sideways

This is part 3 in my series of posts looking at Waltham Forest Mini-Holland, looking at modal filters.

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City of Bath Cycle Network Print

This is a bit of a teaser. We’re looking to run a 2019 Cycle Bath Sustainable Transport Festival (hopefully at the Bath Quays), produce better campaign materials that we are using (brochures, banners, etc). We also see an “opportunity” to double any money raised through the use of the BaNES Community Enablement Fund available through the Bath City Forum.

We’re in the process of producing a high quality (300GSM) A3 print of the the Cycle Network Map on a 50cm x 40cm mount that will be sold for £20. It will be available through all local bike shops shortly as well as directly from Cycle Bath (best for revenue generation).

Mail order will also be possible but there is some concern that sending prints through the post is not a good idea.

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I really hope you like this. I hope to see it in every house in Bath 😀

Working, Living, Cycling, and campaigning for better cycle infrastructure in Bath, UK