Category Archives: Ideas

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.

Change The Question - Move People (2)

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

Screen Shot 2018-05-15 at 07.12.35

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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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.

[EDIT] London Cycling Campaign has a really comprehensive page with two excellent documents.

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!

Edit: Study of an introduction of a Low Traffic Neighbourhood cell in Dublin http://www.dublincity.ie/sites/default/files/content/RoadsandTraffic/Documents/Walsh%20Road%20Report.pdf

Inclusive branding…

The way the council sometimes deals with Cycle Bath is to treat us like we’re just a bunch of people on two wheels with a fetish for lycra and riding fast on pavements. However the fight is about inclusive cycling.

Social Model of Disability

It is fully about tackling the social model of disability. Scope has a very good definition.

The social model of disability says that disability is caused by the way society is organised, rather than by a person’s impairment or difference. It looks at ways of removing barriers that restrict life choices for disabled people. When barriers are removed, disabled people can be independent and equal in society, with choice and control over their own lives.

Disabled people developed the social model of disability because the traditional medical model did not explain their personal experience of disability or help to develop more inclusive ways of living.

An impairment is defined as long-term limitation of a person’s physical, mental or sensory function.

Image is everything

To this end I’ve been rethinking the Cycle Bath branding and whether it truly reflects society.

Cycle Bath Proposed Logo

Bikes left to right:

  1. Wheelchair bike
  2. Dutch style bike with a child seat
  3. Child bicycle
  4. Cargo bike
  5. Wheelchair with eBike conversion kit
  6. Cargo trike
  7. Road bike
  8. City bike with child trailer
  9. Recumbent Trike

This is inspired by the work done by Highways England and their inclusive mobility vehicle design standard 1.2m wide x 2.8m wide vehicle they defined in IAN 195

Inclusivity

Cycle Bath, at its core, is trying to tackle the social model of disability. Huge numbers of people want to cycle but feel our road space does not enable them to cycle. The roads are simply too dangerous. The bollards are set too close together. The council, and particularly councillors, simply have the wrong view of who cyclists are.

designing-for

This has to change.

Give Feedback

Feedback is very welcome. The branding is being discussed in detail on facebook or leave a comment here.

PS It’s very hard to draw people 😀

[Edit] Latest one with a hand cycle leading the charge.

Cycle Bath Proposed Logo (25)

 

Council to investigate Resident Friendly Day Parking Zones

Although not strictly cycling related, many many many times, when we ask for better cycling infrastructure, the answer is no due to budgets. Even more insidious are Local Enterprise Partnership grants that can only be allocated on the basis of generating economic activity. So safe routes to schools from communities are harder to justify.

The Problem

  •  A council trying to find £16M cuts over the next three years.
  • Client Earth suing DEFRA again for not doing enough to tackle air pollution.
  • A city suffering from some of the worst congestion in the UK.
  • The cancelling of public bus services.
  • Lack of investment in walking and cycling.
  • 29,000 people commuting to Bath by car with most of them parking up in residential roads
  • 9,000 of those commuters live IN Bath and drive to work IN Bath

The Solution

We need a solution that

  • Removes ‘free’ day parking from our city roads removing the huge incentive to drive into the city rather than use provided park and rides or switch to public transport.
  • Enables the council to fund better public transport networks.
  • Enables the council to implement free bus passes for school age children tackling the 30% of rush hour traffic that is the school run.
  • Does not impact Residents financially for using a car, except when used to commute within the city.
  • Enables the council to work towards a fixed cost of say £35 per month to travel into and around the city by car or bus. Currently buses are £66 within the city or £80 from outside the city. Cars are ‘free’. Guess why people drive in?
  • Recovers some of the costs of Congestion to the city. Currently £9.9Million per year and car commuters directly impact that cost.
  • Delivers on Air Quality. There is no reason to consider that down the line, older diesel cars will be charged more for permits or even not allowed to have a permit.
  • Solves Congestion. Congestion is an exponential curve. A 30% reduction in number of cars entering the city would be similar to what happens to the roads in School Holidays.
  • Discourages car ownership within the city, particularly from students who are asked not to bring their cars with them, but many do.

We need a solution that changes the behaviour of car commuters getting them out of their cars. That places a cost on parking. That solution is Day Parking Zones.

Day Parking Zones

Keeping the current resident parking zones and placing the rest of the city under a new type of Day Parking Zone where:

  • Parking is free up to 4 hours Monday to Saturday, 8am to 6pm.
  • Council Tax Paying Residents get up to two free permits for their zone.
  • Day Tickets and ALL DPZ permits can be purchased from the council by anyone.
  • Key Workers get free ALL DPZ permits to enable them to carry out their jobs easily.

City Wide Day Parking Zones (3)City Wide Day Parking Zones.pdf

Show me the money

Generating around £54 Million in revenue over the next three years, enabling the council to invest heavily in public transport, walking and cycling, and simply getting more people out of cars. It even discourages students from bringing cars to the city.

I presented this idea to the BaNES Communities, Transport, and Environment Scrutiny panel last night, and they have now set up an All-Party Task and Finish working group to investigate the proposal further.

Bath Key Bus Network

This proposal is only the start though. We currently have a broken bus transport system and without delivery of a Key Bus Network that connects communities and park and ride sites to all economic centres of the city, we have to accept that people will still use their cars to get around the city.

Bath Key Bus Network MapBath Key Bus Network Map.pdf

If we want more cycling infrastructure, if we want a better environment, if we want a good public transport system, we need to enable the council to provide those. Day Parking Zones is that enabler.

IF YOU TRAVEL TO WORK IN BATH BY BUS IT SHOULD COST YOU LESS THAN TRAVELLING BY CAR.

What happens if this is too successful?

This one has been raised. Assuming that this creates a monumental shift in behaviour and suddenly, of the 29,000 commuters, we suddenly find only 50% switch to public transport. Over night air pollution would drop significantly. Public Transport would be heavily utilised requiring less/no subsidy. The economic cost of congestion to the city would drop. This is a win win situation. The less people commute by car, the better.

We need a functioning city, not this grid locked air pollution nightmare we currently have.

Working with the Metro Mayor on an evidence based approach to investing in cycling

Last night I was able to meet Mayor Tim Bowles and Cllr Tim Warren. I was able to discuss the use of cycle infrastructure as a strategic tool to tackle congestion on the West of England’s Key Road Network as well as present a proposal on how this could be achieved at a national level. I also presented with this document, an edited version of this article.

We discussed setting up MetroCycle, a body on equal footing to MetroRail and MetroBus.  There was little appetite for this. I suspect this is a no go for now.

We also discussed the importance of electric bikes at lowering the barriers to people cycling and how bike hire schemes (e.g. NextBike) really need to upgrade their systems to only use these. Exeter was highlighted as a great example where hire of bikes and particularly travelling to specific high elevation stations is not a problem.

During the meeting this quote was made, and I think it is rather appropriate for what is being proposed.

“In God we trust, all others bring data.” – W. Edwards Demming

What I would say is that this proposal is not *easy*, but if this comes off, the DfT, Combined Authorities, and Local Authorities will have a tool that allows them to use cycle infrastructure to target congestion and get more people cycling to work or to school.

Tim Bowles ask me to do a write-up of the High Return On Investment Routes proposal which I have copied below.

Note that the write-up focuses on the key remit of the Mayor, to tackle congestion. It is a given that tackling congestion by using cycling as a strategic tool provides health benefits through physical and mental well being and reduction in air pollution.


Hi Tim,
Apologies for the long write-up. Not quite the bulleted list you wanted.

The Problem: 

The way we deliver cycle infrastructure is based upon anecdotal evidence and asking people where they want to cycle. This usually delivers ‘nice’ leisure routes or improves infrastructure along existing routes where people are already cycling.
The Solution:
An evidence based approach to identifying High Return On Investment Routes on the Key Road Network enables West of England Combined Authority to utilise cycling as a strategic tool to tackle congestion while delivering significant modal shift from commuting by car to commuting by bicycle.
The Implementation:
  • Create the High Potential Modal Shift Network Map:
    • Use topography to calculate distance calculations equivalent to cycling 20 minutes/and or 20 minutes on an eBike.
    • Use Census 2011 Travel to Work Flow Data (WU03EW) at LSOA area filtered by “only commute to work by car or as car passenger” and “residence within 20 minute cycle/eBike ride of work”
    • Use DfT Traffic Counts for the road network to identify high volume roads.
    • Use School locations on or within (500m) of high traffic counts roads, recognising role of the school run in congestion.
  • Create the High Return On Investment Network Map:
    • Combine the High Potential Modal Shift Network Map with the Propensity To Cycle Network Map available through the DfT sponsored www.pct.bike/m/?r=avon
  • Identify High Return On Investment Routes:
    • Overlay the WECA Key Road Network Map onto the High Return On Investment Network Map to identify routes where investment in cycle infrastructure would have highest impact on congestion.
Suggested way forward:
The team behind the Propensity to Cycle Tool should be engaged via the DfT to expand their work to deliver both the High Potential Modal Shift Network and the combined High Return On Investment Network.
This would enable WECA to overlay the Key Road Network Map onto the High ROI Network Map and identify key investment opportunities within WECA that will significantly tackle congestion. Local Authorities should also be able to leverage this HROI network map to tackle congestion on their road networks.
Further the HROI Network should be something the DfT should take very seriously and provide funding to LAs and CAs to implement cycle infrastructure.
I hope this helps clarify my proposal. It was good meeting you. If you need anything further don’t hesitate to ask.
Regards,
Adam Reynolds

A better Advanced Stop Line

Over the weekend I made a rather ironic meme:

Blindspotand then tweeted it out:

It did result in a serious discussion and after a lot of thought I redesigned the markings for an ASL using the new deeper ASL standard to give better visual clues to cyclists, but also worked on a set of demands that would significantly improve junction safety.

Continue reading A better Advanced Stop Line

Bath, a city looking to tame the car

The UK has, for decades, been extremely backward looking when it comes to understanding how to build healthy livable cities. There are exceptions, Cambridge comes to mind. However if we really want to understand how we can make our city a healthier, more walkable, bikeable, economically vibrant place, we need to look further afield.

In particular there are two cities that have have had remarkable successes in achieving car free city centres; Pontevedra and Nijmegen. Continue reading Bath, a city looking to tame the car

In support of the Bath Cable Car

Recently I have been working with census data that indicates around 31,000 local car journeys are being made in the city, with around 7000 Bath residents driving to work in Bath and 5000 school children being dropped off and picked up by car. The decision commuters and parents make to use the car is fundamentally down to the choices they feel they have to make those journeys.

For many people living on one side of Bath that work or go to school on the other side of Bath, the lack of good cycle provision, the challenging seven hills of Bath, and the time consuming hub centred bus network requiring you to change buses at the bus station, reduce the choices people feel they can make down to one. Use the car.

Continue reading In support of the Bath Cable Car