Good riddance to Britain's franchised railway system
"The Williams review, launched after months of chaos on the Thameslink and Northern rail networks, is expected to advise the government to replace franchising with a system in which companies bid to run both infrastructure and trains across entire chunks of the network: a model often compared to Japan."
The Guardian, 02.12.2020
The Secret to Year-Round Streeteries? What Greenhouses Can Teach Us
Outdoor eating rather than parking, configurable according to weather conditions.
New emergency contracts spell the end of Britain’s franchising system
After 24 years, the rail franchising system in Britain is killed off by the Department for Transport, implicitly acknowledging the failure of this approach.
International Railway Journal, 22.09.2020
Electric car warning signals as Denmark calculates cost of switch
Switches to electric cars are causing countries to consider how to plug the resulting holes in finances caused by the loss of fuel excises. The article does not clearly define the issues (referring only to car and vehicle taxes) but the coming decline in fuel excise revenue associated with a switch to electric vehicles is an issue in many countries.
Why London’s Underground is in better post-pandemic shape than NYC’s subways
Coordination, through TFL. Leadership. Funding.
New York Post, 07.09.2020
The Broken Algorithm That Poisoned American Transportation
"Perhaps the most useful thing the model does is obscure that debate behind a veil of scientific certainty. Behind hard, solid numbers. “From the standpoint of a citizen, these numbers essentially come out of a black box,” he said. “You don’t have any idea how they generated these numbers, so you can’t begin to critique them.” In other words, the model shuts people up. It may not be honest, but in the world of transportation politics, there’s nothing more valuable than that."
Rotterdam Offers Free Parklets to Help Local Businesses Turn Parking Spots Into Terraces
Rotterdam municipality is helping local businesses to reopen by offering free decking to create an outdoor terraced area to carry out business activities in a safe space.
China approves $US 68bn inter-city plan for Pearl River Delta
Massive railway expansion approved, much of it centred on Guangzhou.
International Railway Journal, 04.08.2020
We’ll Build Thousands Of Miles Of Protected Cycleways, Pledges Boris Johnson
“Schemes which consist mainly of paint, which make pedestrians and cyclists share the same space, or which do not make meaningful change to the status quo on the road, will not be funded.”
Government moves to end minimum carpark requirements and remove low height-limits in bid to increase dense housing
"In all “tier 1” cities – Auckland, Wellington, Tauranga, Christchurch, and Hamilton - councils would not be able to set building height limits of less than six storeys in city centres. In all urban areas with more than 10,000 people, district plans will not be allowed to include minimum car parking requirements, other than for accessible carparks."
HCMC seeks to revive public buses with new operators
Useless measures straight out of a World Bank consultant study: just change the contracting form, adjusting the incentives, and all the problems will be solved....right? Meanwhile, the small matter of buses being stuck in congestion is not addressed.
COVID Mobility Works gathers best practices of Global Mobility Responses to COVID-19
A platform "devoted to collecting, compiling, and sharing mobility initiatives that are keeping the world moving during the COVID-19 pandemic", with breakdowns by topic and mode. Quality is patchy but with some useful nuggets.
Covid Mobility Works, 06.07.2020
World Bank funding for a combination median bus lane and kerbside bus lane project in Harbin. It is designed to be 'upgradeable to BRT in the future', which raises the obvious question: why didn't they just do BRT now?
NSW government failed to update public on true cost of light rail
Incredibly, Sydney's 12km light rail system has cost A$3.1 billion, or US$2.13 billion, which is nearly US$200 million per kilometre. An auditor-general report finds that the government concealed the huge cost blowouts and the irrelevance of the project's business plan.
Sydney Morning Herald, 11.06.2020
Germany will require all petrol stations to provide electric car charging
The plans to encourage EVs also include a tax on SUVs.
What happens to neighborhood appeal if the coronavirus closes small businesses for good?
One of the better takes on the Covid-19 impact on urban transport: this article considers impacts of small business closures on the appeal of urban streets and neighbourhoods.
Philadelphia Inquirer, 03.06.2020
GM says it is 'almost there' on million-mile electric vehicle battery
Current electric vehicle batteries typically last 160,000 to 320,000 km. Reuters reported in early May that Tesla, in partnership with Chinese battery maker CATL, plans to introduce its own million-mile (1.6 million km) battery later this year or early next.
U.K. Government Boosts Bicycling And Walking With Ambitious £2 Billion Post-Pandemic Plan
Amidst a pandemic of pandemic-related prognostications of future transport trends, an article that focuses on the main point: what infrastructure is being provided? Without boosts to bike and walking facilities, temporary gains may be ephemeral if a Covid-19 vaccine is developed. The UK is providing a model for other cities, allocating 2 billion pounds (USD2.436bn) to walking and cycling. Though it is not actually new funds, but part of a bigger package announced for buses and cycling in February. The £2 billion plan starts with £250 million to enable local authorities to pay for “pop-up” cycling and walking infrastructure to cater for physical distancing during lockdown.
Europe’s Cities Are Making Less Room for Cars After Coronavirus
With limitations on transit density cities are accelerating measures to promote cycling and walking, including downtown pedestrian priority and long-distance cycleways.
Playing out: Waverley's kids are reclaiming the streets from cars
Districts in one part of Sydney can request road closures for a few hours each week so people can use the streets. It's proven very popular.
Sydney Morning Herald, 14.03.2020
Spectular pedestrian bridge to be built in Guangzhou. "人行桥跨中总宽 20米，其中西侧桥面宽6米，东侧桥面宽8米，中部梯道宽6米。整个工程占地面积约15025.9平方米,其中 占河道约9329.6平方米、陆地约5696.3平方米。总投资约19486万元。"
“Parking cash-out” clears the first of two votes unanimously
"The DC Council voted unanimously Tuesday for a bill that would allow employees to “cash-out” free parking offered by their employer. The bill would let employees who receive free parking instead take the value in cash for transit, bicycling, or walking."
Greater Greater Washington, 03.03.2020
Cash top-up allows boardwalk along Parramatta River
"Located opposite the ferry wharf in central Parramatta, the three-metre wide boardwalk will be a "river-level path" that will allow pedestrians and cyclists to access the foreshore on the river's northern bank. The project includes stairs from the boardwalk to Stewart and Macarthur streets." Unfortuntately Parramatta is also building an LRT.
Sydney Morning Herald, 01.03.2020
Estimated car cost as a predictor of driver yielding behaviors for pedestrians
The science is clear: drivers of expensive cars are jerks.
Science Direct, 29.02.2020
Uber and Lyft Are Increasing Emissions, Not Lowering Them
"The report concludes that ride-sharing services could become more climate-friendly by electrifying their fleets, improving the pricing and convenience of pooled rides, and encouraging the use of public transit by providing “first- and last-mile connections” that only replace the part of the journey that a train or bus won’t cover."
The stubborn myths of rent and gentrification
Stop worrying about gentrification.
The Week, 19.02.2020
Hyundai Motor halts production at local plants on parts supply disruption
Given China's central role in many supply chains, the coronavirus outbreak is going to impact global supply chains in unexpected ways. This article from Korea provides an early indication of the coming disruptions and impacts. "The production shutdown is due mainly to the inventory shortage of wiring harnesses, which are mostly produced in China."
Korea Herald, 04.02.2020
No One Can Explain Why Planes Stay In The Air
Putting mysteries of BRT capacity into perspective.
Scientific American, 02.02.2020
Light rail drivers 'under immense pressure' to right 'flawed service': union
"The network speed, among the lowest in the world, is squarely due to design flaws that were not accounted for during the planning stage." These miserable results come after a government report in 2014 said CBD light rail had "no material speed benefits" and would be "significantly more expensive than bus services".
Sydney Morning Herald, 20.01.2020
London buses to become front-boarding only in bid to reduce fare evasion
New Routemasters buses will reportedly be converted to make the middle and rear doors exit only, following a successful pilot on route eight that reduced fare evasion without affecting the reliability of the route.
Intelligent Transport, 10.01.2020
Oslo saw zero pedestrian and cyclist deaths in 2019. Here’s how the city did it.
"Perhaps most remarkably, no children under 15 died in roadway crashes anywhere in the country of Norway during 2019, which has a population of about 5.3 million."
Hyperloop Is Midwest's Answer to No One's Question
"While the Hyperloop boosters do their thing spending millions of dollars studying a transportation project that can be described as futuristic at best and batshit at worst, the Cleveland transportation system itself has some dire needs."
Travel times on Sydney's new light rail line 'so slow'
A $3 billion tram line which is much slower than buses. "The government came under fire from Labor over the trams' average travel time of about 50 minutes between Randwick and Circular Quay, which is slower than forecasts several months ago of 38 to 40 minutes. Buses can take about 35 minutes to complete the same route."
Sydney Morning Herald, 15.12.2019
Minneapolis’ tight rules usher in a new era of window shopping
Window theory and rules.
Minneapolis Post (Minnpost), 11.12.2019
Level-of-Crowding Icon Tested at Shanghai Bus Stops
The number of cartoon icons on the forecast screens of bus stops on route 99 from 1 to 3 corresponds to "comfortable, moderate and crowded". This is a new technology for pilot ride comfort forecasting-passenger density analysis based on image capture technology.
Jiusi Bus Group, No. 1 Bus Company, 26.11.2019
Sydney's light rail bill soars to at least $2.9 billion
The transport minister says the light rail will move only 6,570 people in two directions per hour; a paltry capacity level for such a major corridor and huge project cost.
Sydney Morning Herald, 22.11.2019
Zombie Miles And Napa Weekends: How A Week With Chauffeurs Showed The Major Flaw In Our Self-Driving Car Future
Autonomous vehicles is not the answer.
The Captured City
"Urban command centers are built primarily for police, not planners, let alone the public."
Real Life, 12.11.2019
The City That Cycles With the Young, the Old, the Busy and the Dead
"Some 49 percent of all journeys to school and work now transpire by bicycle, according to the city, up from 36 percent a decade ago. When the municipal government recently surveyed Copenhagen’s bikers on what inspires them to bike, 55 percent said it was more convenient than the alternatives. Only 16 percent cited environmental benefits."
New York Times, 09.11.2019
1.5 Million Packages a Day: The Internet Brings Chaos to N.Y. Streets
Excellent insights into traffic impacts of online deliveries.
New York Times, 27.10.2019
It Was Supposed to Be the Safest Building in the World. Then It Cracked.
"The project had been built by some of the most respected firms in the industry. Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects conceived the design. Thornton Tomasetti, Pelli's collaborators on Malaysia’s iconic Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, served as the designer and engineer of record. The Bay Area’s preeminent contractor, Webcor/Obayashi, led the construction. Skanska, the construction firm behind New York’s World Trade Center Transportation Hub and Oculus, won the $189 million subcontract to furnish the structural steel. And the Herrick Corporation, another California construction heavyweight, had shop-fabricated the girders in question, using steel flange plates supplied by two subcontractors."
Popular Mechanics, 25.10.2019
E-Bike Craze Continues Unabated in Holland
A survey of 318 dealers suggests half of all new bike sales in Holland are e-bikes.
Bike Europe, 24.10.2019
Sydney's new 65km walking track stretches from Parramatta to Penrith
Ambitious greenway network planning - 65km walking route.
Sydney Morning Herald, 13.10.2019
Pedestrian detection systems don’t work very well, AAA finds
Dismal results in all but the least challenging scenarios.
Ars Technica, 08.10.2019
'A deadly problem': should we ban SUVs from our cities?
The Guardian, 07.10.2019
Street by Street, Amsterdam Is Cutting Cars Out of the Picture
"The tools Amsterdam is using to build its car-free future don’t require huge amounts of disruption or cost. Key among these is what the Dutch call a “cut” (knip in Dutch). This involves simply putting up barriers that close off a short strip of a long street; most of the street can still be accessed for deliveries, pick-ups, and drop-offs, but it’s no longer good as a route across town."
Rio's Defunct Gondola Tells a Tale of Transit Style Over Substance
"What seemed a new era for Alemão didn’t last. In September 2016, just a month after the Olympics concluded, the consortium in charge of operating the cable car shut it down, citing a lack of funds for maintenance."
The ‘arrested decay’ architecture trend is changing how we restore our old buildings
"Consolidation rather than restoration.”
Real high speed rail TOD.
Berlin horror crash prompts growing calls to ban SUVs from German cities
Ban SUVs in cities.
The Local, 09.09.2019
New Study Shows Promise for Curbing Ride-Hail Traffic
"The study tested the traffic impacts of providing more passenger load zones (PLZs) paired with in-app geofencing technology that guided drivers and riders to designated load/unload locations. While limited to a very specific sample, the results indicate that creating a designated space for passenger loading can discourage double-parking and reduce traffic conflicts."
University of Washington, 05.09.2019
Cities under pressure to remove car registration restrictions. 国务院发文要求取消汽车限购 北京称没接到通知，买车仍需摇号
Is Elon Wrong About LiDAR?
Yes... It's better to have multiple sensors.
Skateboarding does not need Games validation, says Hawk
“Skateboarding has so much more to offer young people in terms of self confidence, in terms of identity, in terms of setting their own challenges. And that is not competitive-based.”
We regret to inform you that scooters aren’t actually good for the environment
Just because the scooters themselves don’t spew out carbon dioxide, doesn’t mean the process of making, charging, and transporting them is emission-free.... Scooters typically produce more emissions than a standard bus with high ridership, an electric moped, an electric bicycle, a regular bicycle, or a good old carbon-free walk.
“Old Paris Is No More”
Writers like Charles Baudelaire, Émile Zola, and Gustave Flaubert walked through the streets and monuments that would attract millions of tourists over the next century and felt little more than shame.... not only were thousands of buildings destroyed to make way for the new construction, but thousands of people were forced from their homes to make way for luxury buildings that the former tenants would not be able to afford. The new construction caused something of a great migration of people from the center of the city to the outskirts, setting up a geographical separation of poor and rich—and the corresponding dichotomy of suburb and city center—that has lingered to this day.
LAPHAM’S QUARTERLY, 29.07.2019
Was the Automotive Era a Terrible Mistake?
The age of driving may be merely a cul-de-sac in transportation history.
New Yorker, 22.07.2019
The Hidden Winners in Neighborhood Gentrification
A welcome sanity check on anti-gentrification arguments.
Americans Shouldn’t Have to Drive, but the Law Insists on It
"Inequities in traffic regulation are only the beginning. Land-use law, criminal law, torts, insurance, vehicle safety regulations, even the tax code—all these sources of law provide rewards to cooperate with what has become the dominant transport mode, and punishment for those who defy it."
The Atlantic, 09.07.2019
Berlin Brandenburg: The airport with half a million faults
Some very expensive lessons learned from Berlin's new airport. One simple problem, bizarrely enough, was the airport architect, Meinhard von Gerkan's dislike of shopping. The need for constant changes to the design even while construction was ongoing reflects a lack of adequate preliminary planning and design.
'No effective oversight': why the Opal and Mascot Towers cases may be the tip of a very large iceberg
"The design-and-construct model means a developer can get approval to start a project on the basis of partial concept drawings, a builder then tenders for construction and takes over the rest of the design work as construction takes place. Unlike the system which prevailed two or three decades ago, when an architect or clerk of works or engineer would see the whole process through from start to finish, in the design-and-construct model it can be a bit like pass the parcel."
Sydney Morning Herald, 22.06.2019
Airbnb likely removed 31,000 homes from Canada’s rental market, study finds
The McGill authors note that frequently rented homes “are still a small fraction of total housing” in any Canadian city. However, listings can be highly concentrated in some neighbourhoods. In parts of Montreal, for instance, one in five homes were listed on Airbnb.
Globe and Mail, 20.06.2019
Taking a city’s pulse with moveable sensors
A small number of taxis can circulate over a one-third of a city in a day, and a slightly larger number can reach half the city, but after that, a much bigger fleet is needed. "The practical side of the study is that city planners and policymakers, among others, now potentially have a more concrete idea about the investment needed for certain levels of mobile sensing, as well as the extent of the results they would likely obtain."
MIT News, 11.06.2019
Tokyo proves that housing shortages are a political choice
"The planning framework that underpins this supply is a simple zoning system that allows by-right development, rather than one that relies on granting planning permission for each individual site. There are only 12 zones, defined according to the maximum nuisance level they allow, ranging from sleepy residential to polluting industrial uses. The key is that pretty much anything can be built, provided it does not exceed the zone’s nuisance level – so in areas zoned for high street usages it is possible to convert a hotel into housing and vice versa, but this is not possible in residential only zones."
The Birth and Death of a Bike Company; What Happened to Speedx?
"In May 2017, SpeedX and Bluegogo were at the zenith of their industry – a company of more than 500 staff, valued at more than US$150M, with an attractive high-end road bike on the way, a fleet of 800,000 sharebikes, and 20 million registered users. Within six months, it was all gone."
VeloClub. Image from AP via AAP Ri Xi/Xiquinho Silva/SpeedX, 15.05.2019
Hanoi BRT project faces failure
Writing on the wall for the Hanoi BRT
STEC allots B7.79bn for Mor Chit project
Value capture - US$250 million (7.79 billion baht) paid by developer for a site next to Mo Chit Skytrain station owned by the Skytrain operator.
Bangkok Post, 12.04.2019
Barcelona’s superblocks are a new model for “post-car” urban living
Plans to drastically reduce the motor vehicle network in Barcelona.
Ford CEO says the company 'overestimated' self-driving cars
"Following years of hype and billions of dollars in investment, some other companies are admitting that expectations for self-driving cars were perhaps too high."
The World’s Greatest Delivery Empire
Meituan vs Alibaba.
Sadiq Khan pushes for tube-style services on London's railways
'Turn up and go' train service proposed for suburban lines in London. The same approach is used in high-frequency bus service applications. With high frequency, all-day service passengers don't need to time journeys according to transit timetables.
Scientists rise up against statistical significance
"Eradicating categorization will help to halt overconfident claims, unwarranted declarations of ‘no difference’ and absurd statements about ‘replication failure’ when the results from the original and replication studies are highly compatible. The misuse of statistical significance has done much harm to the scientific community and those who rely on scientific advice. P values, intervals and other statistical measures all have their place, but it’s time for statistical significance to go."
In Need of Housing, Barcelona Fines Landlords For Long-Vacant Buildings
"The law the city is using, which gives it scope to fine negligent landlords after two years of leaving a property vacant, has in fact been in place since 2007 (before Colau’s election) but wasn’t implemented until during her tenure. Since then, the scale of fines demanded has been rising dramatically."
Abolish Parking Minimums
A city (in this case San Diego) abolishing parking minimums is unfortunately still newsworthy. Future urban planners will look back in complete bafflement at the practice of minimum parking requirements.
Ban cars near schools, says Public Health England
An excellent high level policy orientation. Possible pilot project applications in Guangzhou?
Motoring Research, 12.03.2019
Autonomous vehicles could be an environmental boon or disaster, depending on public policy
"Planning, management and carefully crafted regulations are essential to reducing vehicle emissions and avoiding additional miles traveled by the vehicles, specifically vehicles traveling with few passengers or without any passengers at all."
Science Daily, 12.03.2019
Why American Costs Are So High
Excellent breakdown of factors leading to metro project cost blowouts.
Pedestrian Observations, 03.03.2019
The Way Forward for Yangon Comprises Bus Priority Measures and Traffic Flow Reforms
CDIA's bus priority, NMT and parking improvement feasibility studies for Yangon, carried out by Far East Mobility during 2018.
Economic benefits of walking and cycling
The latest evidence, research and findings on the economic benefits of walking and cycling, showcasing studies developed by Transport for London and other organisations.
Transport for London, 19.02.2019
Why the California Bullet Train Project Failed: 7 “Worst Practices”
Autopsy of a train-wreck, California high speed rail.
Eno Center for Transportation, 13.02.2019
Welcome to Oslo! NO PARKING.
More and more European cities are effectively banning automobiles from their city centers — and it seems to be working out just fine for local businesses. The cities are "discovering that restoring these historic spaces to their pre-automobile states is as good for tourism, local business, and overall civic contentedness as it is for air quality and a shrinking carbon footprint."
Why outer suburbs lack inner city’s ‘third places’: a partial defence of the hipster
Fairly obvious, but still interesting article about a 'third place' concept.
The Conversation, 30.01.2019
What’s Not Great About China’s High-Speed Rail? The Debt
HSR as grey rhino. High-speed rail in China, as in Europe, can hollow out conventional rail and force more freight onto roads. Debt burdens are onerous even on the highest demand lines.
Caixin Global, 29.01.2019
What happened when Oslo decided to make its downtown basically car-free?
It was a huge success: Parking spots are now bike lanes, transit is fast and easy, and the streets (and local businesses) are full of people. To help support the shift, the city made “massive improvements in public transport and making cycling safe and comfortable,” says Rune Gjøs, Oslo’s head of cycling.
Fast Company, 24.01.2019
The Transcendent Incompetence of the L Train Fiasco
Fascinating case study of how projects can move forward with no-one actually questioning anything. This is an issue with many BRT projects. "In all walks of life — engineering, politics, transportation — there is a fine line between the earned wisdom of experience and the toxic self-regard of a credentialed rut."
New York Times, 12.01.2019
Transport Ministry Tightens Toll Road Rules as Losses Spiral
End of the road for unviable toll road projects?
Shenzhen's silent revolution: world's first fully electric bus fleet quietens Chinese megacity
Interesting though uncritical take on bus fleet electrification in Shenzhen, headlining the noise reduction benefits. Bus frequency is very high even in off-peak periods, with near empty electric buses ubiquitous in off-peak periods, providing an impressive level of passenger service. However, Shenzhen still does not manage to provide any real-time information on bus arrivals at bus stops, and the city does not provide any significant on-street bus priority anywhere, and the benefits of high bus frequency have nothing to do with electrification. The article does clear up one mystery: why such extremely high off-peak frequency even where buses are near empty? Evidently a large subsidy requires buses to meet operational-km targets. Our proposal for Shenzhen's next step forward for its 100% electric bus fleet? Implement BRT or meaningful bus priority and provide real-time bus arrival information for passengers at bus stops.
Scooter Companies vs. the Regulators
Regulators vs dockless mobility: it's what drove Mobike and Ofo into the ground in Guangzhou, and the experience is also familiar in the US.
Sydney's new 80km walk to be most spectacular in the world
"It was an act of imagination to have Sydneysiders understand the scale of public land around the harbour. The idea that you can walk from Bondi to Manly is a reality now". The multi-day walk would become a "major tourist attraction". It would be as good if not better than the world's great walking trails including North America's Appalachian Trail, the Camino de Santiago in France and Spain, and Cinque Terra in Italy. Together with federal and state government agencies, six related mayors agreed to link existing coastal and harbour-side walking tracks and paths, and erect consistent signs and directions. About 60 km of the trail is on public land. The rest will be on footpaths, including near Point Piper, Darling Point and Potts Point.
Sydney Morning Herald, 26.11.2018
The Case Against Quantum Computing
In our Busway, Parking and NMT Concept Design presentations in Yangon on 15 Nov, one participant asked, 'but what about the future? What about elevated roads and sky trains?' Our response: our proposals ARE the future... Unlike hyped and perpetually 'on the horizon breakthroughs' like quantum computing or level 5 SAE 'full automation' driverless cars in urban areas.
Milking Scooters for Cash Helps Cities Build for the Future
"In Austin, officials are charging companies $100 a bike or scooter during its experimental phase, and could raise tens of thousands annually. Mobility startups operating in Santa Monica, California, have shelled out a $20,000 each for the right to operate, plus $130 per each device on the street, plus $1 per device per day for the privilege of parking on the public sidewalk. (That last charge is modeled off the way the city charges restaurants for outdoor dining.) Participants’ in Los Angeles’ soon-to-launch scooter and bike program will have a similar setup. Portland, Oregon, meanwhile, is charging the companies operating there a 25-cent per trip fee."
Cities on the World Stage: A ‘superblock’ design that inspires more like it
Superblocks to the rescue? "The Superblock has the potential to address a number of urban priorities, including air quality, noise pollution, public health and social isolation. Barcelona’s leadership and ambition with the Superblock is refreshing, and others around the world are taking notice."
A Step-by-Step Guide for Fixing Badly Planned American Cities
Active and thick facades.
'On brink of ruin': Light rail inquiry hears financial, personal toll
Sydney's light rail redefines 'train wreck'. But can light rail be blamed, apart from contracting or other issues? Yes.
Sydney Morning Herald, 03.10.2018
Ride-hailing increases vehicle miles traveled
Innovative research methodology reveals htat ride-hailing accounts for an 83 percent increase in the miles cars travel for ride-hailing passengers in Denver’s metro area, according to a study published this week in the Journal of Transportation by researchers at the University of Colorado Denver. "Hi Rider! I'm a grad student doing research about transportation. Would you please help me by doing a short survey about this ride?"
University of Colorado, 27.09.2018
Don't walk this way: why Hong Kong reopened a pedestrian street to cars
Hong Kong's solution to noisy buskers: open a pedestrian street to cars. While the elevated walkway network is outstanding, at street level Hong Kong is way behind other cities in the region and decades behind Europe.
The Guardian, 20.09.2018
Robert Venturi: the bad-taste architect who took a sledgehammer to modernism
Robert Venturi, author of one of the 20th Century's best books on architecture, 'Learning from Las Vegas', has died. The Guardian: "Venturi was one of the most influential figures in 20th-century architecture, taking an erudite sledgehammer to the dogmas of modernism and arguing for a world that embraced history, diversity and humour."
The Guardian, 20.09.2018
The complex sets of inputs required for quantifying induced demand—including local economic and demographic conditions, the quality and availability of alternative transportation options, and the decision-making processes of thousands of individual actors—leave plenty of room for interpretation.
College Park is pulling for south metro Atlanta’s first transit-based zoning
The proposed new rules detail very specific requirements on such aspects as height of buildings, lot sizes, building materials, facade designs, landscaping, parking and lighting, and also prohibit business types including vehicle sales, pawn shops, adult entertainment and tattoo parlours.
Curbed Atlanta, 04.09.2018
See No Evil
An article explaining the robustness of supply chains. 'Tributaries' rather than 'chains'. ... "In some sense all gold is the same, so you just buy the cheapest gold you can get. But if you look at it in another way, it matters how it was mined and transported. And then all of the sudden, every piece of gold is a little bit different."
Miriam Posner, Logic Magazine, 11.08.2018
A Once-Maligned Concrete Megastructure in Seoul is Revitalized—Sans Gentrification
A focus on infill and re-use is example for some of the largely abandoned areas in cities like Ji'an, China. "Now, thanks to the Remaking Sewoon Project, which Seoul mayor Park Won-soon spearheaded in 2015, Sewoon Sangga is poised as an adaptive- reuse success story in the city’s post–2008 recession efforts to improve walkability, connect communities, and nurture creative growth."
Secret document warns vision for Sydney's light rail ignored realities
A 'Lessons for Light Rail' report says the project for a light rail from Sydney's CBD to the eastern suburbs should have had a more detailed design process with a longer evaluation and negotiation period. The report notes that "Visions were promoted before understanding the real constraints of the project - the underground utilities and drainage."
Two Dockless Bikeshare Companies Have Left D.C., One Citing Tight Regulations
Mobike is leaving Washington DC citing a 400-bike cap that killed any chance of efficient or meangingful operations. Washington joins the long list of cities that rather than embracing dockless bike sharing and the potential to double or triple the proportion of trips made by bicycle, has instead focused on over-regulation and obstruction.
China made solar panels cheap. Now it’s doing the same for electric buses.
"Battery electric buses are still a nascent technology; they haven’t hit the steep upward slope of the S-curve yet. For city and county authorities, the decision between BEBs and diesel or natural gas buses is still agonizingly difficult, involving considerations about infrastructure, interoperability, lock-in, and lifecycle analysis that are new to many of them. So the market needs a kick in the pants to really get moving. And it looks like China is providing it."
Uber's e-bikes are cannibalizing rides from Uber's cars
The greatest shift away from cars occurred each weekday between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., when traffic congestion is at its worst. Uber and Jump anticipated that, figuring that passengers would seek alternatives to slogging through gridlock in a car.
Apartment buildings are illegal to build in 73.5% of San Francisco
"Apartment building" is defined to be a building with 3 or more homes. It is illegal to build a building with more than 5 homes in 87% of San Francisco. Many apartment buildings already exist in the red and orange areas but would be illegal to build today.
vadimg (data SF Gov, code Github), 19.07.2018
How Helsinki Arrived at the Future of Urban Travel First
[Another installment in the 'future of urban transport' genre.] Instead of using one app for rides and local government apps for public transport, Whim offers a single app with a single fee. Users get to pick the most efficient way to get between any two places. “We’re trying to solve the big question in transportation: What do we need to offer to compete with car ownership?”
American Cities Are Drowning in Car Storage
'It’s not an exaggeration to say American cities have been built for cars more than people. [...] “Car storage has become the primary land use in many city areas.” In Des Moines, for example, there are 18 times as many parking spaces per acre as households — 1.6 million parking spaces and about 81,000 homes. In Philadelphia, there are 3.7 times more parking spaces than households. Of the five cities, only New York has more households than parking spaces, and New York still has 1.85 million parking spaces.'
Mobike Discards Deposits in Bid for Bike-Sharing Supremacy
New users of Mobike no longer have to put up a 300 yuan ($45) deposit, and the platform’s 105 million current users are now eligible to get their deposits refunded.
Where did Sydney light-rail project go so wrong?
When did it all go wrong? Rather than directly engage contractors to perform specific works, a government wraps up an entire project into one large contract, with risks provided for in the details of that contract.
Sydney Morning Herald, 30.06.2018
AMERICA’S UGLY STRIP MALLS WERE CAUSED BY GOVERNMENT REGULATION
Strip malls come from government regulation, not the market: requirements on setbacks, parking, single use, density.
Market Urbanism Report, 28.06.2018
Do Londoners dream of electric buses?
"There are also plans that could see a return, in a way, of the old trollybus. Rather than an unsightly electric wire running the entire length of the route, as say on a tram network, here there would be recharging points at bus stops."
Deals on Wheels: Why Group Bike Rides Are the New Boardroom
Cyclists have been praising their sport as the “new golf” for business networking.
Wall Street Journal, 20.06.2018
Report criticizes Albuquerque BRT project
What can go wrong with poorly planned BRT? Mayor Tim Keller said in a statement: “The report is a helpful summary of how they got into this mess. The findings show why it’s taking an extraordinary amount of time and effort to clean it up, so the transportation system works for the people of our city.”
Albuquerque Journal, 08.06.2018
BYD’s SkyRail Project Called Off Amid Stricter Scrutiny of Rail Projects
The project was halted because developers failed to report related information to the NDRC to obtain necessary approval and tried to skirt regulatory reviews. The 7.8-kilometer rail was scheduled to start operation by the end of this year, but there has been no sign of resumed construction. A Hunan government official told Caixin that the city and provincial governments submitted a revised city transportation development plan to the NDRC for further review.
Madrid Takes Its Car Ban to the Next Level
Following an announcement this week, the Spanish capital confirmed that, starting in November, all non-resident vehicles will be barred from a zone that covers the entirety of Madrid’s center. The only vehicles that will be allowed in this zone are cars that belong to residents who live there, zero-emissions delivery vehicles, taxis, and public transit.
London one of worst capitals in Europe for clean, safe transport, study shows
UK capital has the most expensive public transport, third-worst air quality and is one of most dangerous to walk and cycle, study by the Wuppertal Institute of 13 cities reveals. Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Oslo score the highest.
The Guardian, 22.05.2018
The Amazing Psychology of Japanese Train Stations
How Tokyo train operators manage 13 billion passenger-trips a year through the world’s most crowded railway stations. The method is part planning, part engineering, part psychology. Blue lamps at the ends of platforms deter suicide attempts. Melodic jingles alert passengers to departing trains, in place of alarmist whistles and buzzers. High-pitched noise generators, inaudible to the over-25s, disperse teenagers tempted to gather in station concourses.
Electric Scooter Charger Culture Is Out of Control
Bird is a scooter-sharing company that launched in 2017 and has been dubbed the “Uber of scooters.” When night falls, what most riders don’t realize is that the scooters themselves are charged by a contract workforce. These people are known as “Bird hunters” or “chargers.”
The Atlantic, 20.05.2018
Chicago Parking Meter Lease Slow-Motion Train Wreck Only Has 65 More Years to Go
Chicago’s parking meter system raked in $134.2 million last year, putting private investors on pace to recoup their entire $1.16 billion investment by 2021 with 62 years to go in the lease, the latest annual audit shows. Chicago has converted what used to be $23.8 million in annual revenues for the city and turned it into a $21.7 million expense.
We can’t forget about mass transit when we talk about the ‘future of transportation’
The best ideas for improving public transportation are simply not flashy. A bus rapid transit system (which is arguably one of the better ways a city can improve the flow of its citizens), is just not as scintillating an answer as a “fleet of self-driving cars,” or “flying cars,” or that blasted jetpack.
The Verge, 12.05.2018
China Seeks to Rein In Ambitious High-Speed Rail Projects
China's top national economic planner has issued guidelines specifying that land around high speed rail stations earmarked for development should not on average exceed 50 hectares, although for a small number of stations, that figure goes to up to 100 ha. The NDRC said that new high-speed railway lines should not lead to the partitioning of cities; stations should be located within, or as near as possible to, central urban areas for convenience of passengers; and buildings should not be ostentatious, grandiose projects. Unfortunately, the horse has bolted and these guidelines probably should have been provided a decade ago.
Railways’ failure to meet public expectations
The whole system is a shambles. Half the trains don’t work, the others move at a crawl. Crashes are frequent, death-tolls are high, workers live miserably. “The rail between Sukkur and Quetta still uses the British-era signal system that employs kerosene lanterns on signal posts and a token, passed from one group of the signal staff to the next, to ensure that there are no gaps in communication.”
Electric Buses Are Hurting the Oil Industry
China had about 99 percent of the 385,000 electric buses on the roads worldwide in 2017, accounting for 17 percent of the country’s entire fleet. Every five weeks, Chinese cities add 9,500 of the zero-emissions transporters—the equivalent of London’s entire working fleet, according Bloomberg New Energy Finance. For every 1,000 battery-powered buses on the road, about 500 barrels a day of diesel fuel will be displaced from the market.
The Real Reason Your Local Mall is Failing
"And we should also recognize where our wealth really comes from. It comes from our downtown and our core neighborhoods (those within walking distance of the downtown). It certainly doesn't come from people driving through those places. It doesn't come from people commuting in. It doesn't come from tourists or developers or the potential of land development out on the edge."
Strong Towns, 23.04.2018
Here’s the real nightmare scenario for self-driving cars
"The only way to spend time with a car is to drive somewhere in it. Insofar as they get revenue from advertising, owners of shared vehicle fleets will want more people to go more places in cars. Their revenue will rise with VMT, so they will strive to maximize VMT. Hitching ad revenue to VMT would put the industry squarely in opposition to other, non-car modes of transit and make it an enemy of good urban planning."
Sydney light rail's finish date now 2020, a year later than planned
When the system eventually opens, late and subject to more than $1 billion in litigation and cost overruns, it will provide a service which is slower than the former bus shuttle connecting the same areas.
Sydney Morning Herald, 19.04.2018
THE DISGRACEFUL DOCKLESS DRAMA: WHAT DOCKLESS BIKES/SCOOTERS ARE EXPOSING
"For the first time, scooters and bikes, the absolute rockstars of urban mobility, have started coming close to enjoying a similar user experience as cars: the convenient user experience of go anywhere, park anywhere.
If cities allow and mandate that we be able to park cars everywhere, why shouldn’t bikes have the same convenience? Especially considering they require 10 times less space than cars and offer enormous efficiency, environmental, cost, and health benefits."
Have A Go, 18.04.2018
OLPC's $100 Laptop Was Going to Change the World - Then It All Went Wrong
“We already knew that kids could learn to use computers. They’ve been doing that since day one,” he says. “What the project did not demonstrate is that kids could use computers for learning.”
The Verge, 16.04.2018
Are Houston’s Deed Restrictions “Basically Zoning”?
City officials don't regulate zoning, but do regulate lot sizes, setbacks, and parking requirements. They also enforce private deed restrictions.
Market Urbanism, 11.04.2018
No finish date for Sydney's light rail as company takes NSW to court
The legal bill for the 14-km line has climbed past $15 million so far – or 0.72 per cent of the $2.1 billion cost of the project. And Spanish builder Acciona, subcontracted by ALTRAC, are reportedly demanding an extra $1.2 billion from the government due to additional utilities complexities.
Sydney Morning Herald, 10.04.2018
Transit retail hitting the mark as train stations multiply
"Transit hubs, like hospitals and airports, are the new frontiers for retailers... Sydney Metro Northwest are planning to deliver retail offerings that are station specific and complementary to the broader newly created station precinct and retail already on offer in the immediate area."
Sydney Morning Herald, 07.04.2018
HK$80 from Hong Kong to Zhuhai on mega bridge – sole bus rights go to group including ‘gambling queen’ Pansy Ho’s firm
Between 90 and 140 buses will run daily between the border checkpoints of the three cities. They will depart every five minutes at peak hours and every 10 to 15 minutes in non-peak hours. A night service will see buses leaving every 15 to 30 minutes. The HK$80 fare to Zhuhai is much lower than the HK$220 ferry and HK$130 coaches using other routes.
South China Morning Post, 05.04.2018
Beijing strictly controls vehicle ownership of core and sub-centers
The "Beijing Municipality Parking Regulations for Motor Vehicles" was approved on 30 March. The regulations require that the number of motor vehicles in core functional areas and sub-central cities in the capital be strictly controlled; an accreditation mechanism for residential parking areas be gradually established; and that operating parking facilities within the central urban area should be open 24 hours.
Caijing (Chinese), 02.04.2018
Parking Spaces Will No Longer Be Just For Cars
Cars spend an average of 95 percent of their days at rest. Thanks to the exploding popularity of car-sharing services and the heralded arrival of autonomous vehicles, cities are reimagining their soon-to-be irrelevant parking garages.
Paris Offers Sweet Incentives to Ditch Your Car for a Bike
The city will reimburse residents who buy e-bikes and cargo bikes by up to €600. A better bet for cities than massive electric car subsidies that do nothing to address congestion issues?
San Jose Becomes Fourth California City to Adopt VMT as Metric for Traffic Impacts
San Jose City Council has adopted a new citywide policy that requires new developments to account for the amount of vehicle travel they would produce, rather than just how much they will delay car traffic. And transportation projects that encourage travel by transit, bike, or walking may no longer even have to go through a CEQA analysis for transportation impacts, since it is presumed they will produce fewer vehicles miles traveled.
Streetsblog Cal, 06.03.2018
California's Love of Cars Is Fueling Its Housing Crisis
Adding an above-ground parking spot costs $27,000, just for construction, while an underground space runs around $35,000, according to Donald Shoup in 2014.
Electric Bikes Want To Take On Everyone - Even Uber
Dockless, electric bike sharing is the future?
Highrise car parks to be banned in drive to improve city streetscapes
Underground car parking would be the only type allowed in most city apartment and office developments, under new rules being considered by Melbourne City Council. Many additional streetscape-improving policies are being planned.
The Age, 15.02.2018
China’s SUV Sales Rise Sharply, Underpin Gasoline Demand
SUVs now account for 40 percent of the country’s passenger vehicle market, up from 17 percent in 2013.
The Fuse, 02.02.2018
These maps reveal the truth about population density across Europe
Simply dividing the number of people by the land area of a country is not always the best way to understand population density.
Plan To Hike Taxes Near Big Subway Projects
NY State 2019 budget plan would give the Metropolitan Transportation Authority the power to create "transportation improvement subdistricts" in areas where property values would increase because of transit projects.
Patch Media, 23.01.2018
Didi has a brilliant plan to contain the threat of China’s bike-sharing services
By introducing its own bike sharing service inside its own app, Didi aims to tame Ofo and Bluegogo. It wants them to exist as features inside its app, rather than develop services that could challenge Didi’s dominance.
ART project ‘a bit of a lemon,’ mayor says as problems mount
Mayor Tim Keller and his administration say problems with the Albuquerque Bus Rapid Transit project are so grave that they won’t even venture a guess on when the project will be operational.
Albuquerque Journal, 09.01.2018
Netflix, Deliveroo and terrorism blamed for huge dip in Tube passenger numbers
Figures show London Underground users dropped by 2 per cent in a year, meaning 4 million fewer people are travelling on the Tube.
The Independent, 03.01.2018
Why experts believe cheaper, better lidar is right around the corner
Lidar used to cost $75,000, but the price may fall to $100. Like radar, lidar scanners can measure distances with high accuracy. Some lidar sensors can even measure velocity, and lidar provides high resolution and works about as well in any lighting.
Ars Technica, 01.01.2018
Empty Buses Allegedly Help Automaker Get Its Hands On Electric Car Subsidies
A national rule compels carmakers to prove that a customer has driven a new-energy car at least 30,000 km on the road before the manufacturer can apply for a subsidy for it.
U.S. cities are being invaded by dock-less bike share. It’s going to be messy—and worth it.
Traffic fumes in city streets 'largely wipe out exercise benefits for over-60s'
Walking in Oxford St compared to Hype Park: A study highlights the risks to health by walking along polluted roads, for the over-60s with specific pre-existing medical conditions.
The Guardian, 06.12.2017
Electric cars already cheaper to own and run than petrol or diesel – study
The researchers analysed the total cost of ownership of cars over four years, including the purchase price and depreciation, fuel, insurance, taxation and maintenance. Pure electric cars came out cheapest in all the markets examined.
The Guardian, 02.12.2017
To Reduce Pollution, London Will Outlaw Parking Construction
Khan’s goal is to increase the share of trips by foot, bike, or transit from 64 percent to 80 percent over the next 25 years, according to the Times, eliminating 3 million daily car trips.
Wheels Fall Off Wuhan’s Government-Backed Bikes
Wuhan Huantou, the operator of Wuhan’s bike-rental service, announced in a statement that its bicycle business will cease operation on Sunday. This will mean its 40,000 public bikes will be removed from the city’s streets.
WeChat Hitches Ride on Guangzhou Metro
Since unlike the existing public transport card, WeChat payment does not offer discounts to frequent riders, it's likely to appeal to only irregular users.
China Revises Key Policy to Rein in Subway Boom
The NDRC is reportedly considering tightening the 2003 rules on population, GDP and revenue that are applied to cities wanting to build subways.
Is Rapid Growth of Subway Systems in China Losing Steam?
"Since Baotou’s project was halted, the NDRC and its local commissions have been giving greater consideration to the financial risks of proposed subway projects."
London's Oxford Street could be traffic-free by December 2018, says mayor
Large parts of London's Oxford Street could be pedestrianised by December 2018, under plans put forward by London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
Faster Growth Begins With a Land Tax in U.S. Cities
The tax would reduce land prices and increase the incentive to build more, which in turn will help drive down rents, making a city more affordable.
Did a conspiracy really destroy LA's huge streetcar system?
In fact, the streetcars might just have been doomed long before National City Lines got involved.
Councils' knee-jerk reaction is the problem, not share bikes
Instead of trying to control and repress this free-floating, revolutionary and joyful way of getting around our city, by corralling the bikes into set parking areas, why don't councils work on creating the best possible conditions for it to work?
Sydney Morning Herald, 18.10.2017
London Overground is experimenting with telling passengers which bits of the next train is busiest
Can the same be done for BRT buses on high frequency lines?
The European cities leading the way in car-free living in a bid to tackle toxic air pollution
Copenhagen, Madrid, Oslo, Hamburg, Paris, Athens, Brussels.
Evening Standard, 16.10.2017
Our cities need fewer cars, not cleaner cars
Electric cars won’t eradicate gridlocks and air pollution, but carbon footprints could be cut by favouring pedestrians, cyclists and mass transit.
The Guardian, 16.10.2017
Inner-city living makes for healthier, happier people, study finds
The study – by Oxford University and the University of Hong Kong – showed that in 22 British cities people living in built-up residential areas had lower levels of obesity and exercised more than residents in scattered, suburban homes.
The Guardian (citing Lancet), 06.10.2017
Amsterdam Rethinks the Traffic Light’s Role in City Planning
“In the end, traffic light infrastructure is an infrastructure for cars, not an infrastructure for people on bikes and people walking. In locations with high levels of people on bikes and people walking, traffic lights maybe aren’t appropriate.”
Next City, 05.10.2017
Green Gentrification, and How Environmentalists Can Avoid It
A new report from the Prevention Institute — Healthy Development Without Displacement: Realizing the Vision of Healthy Communities for All — aims to connect healthy community development with sound anti-displacement policies.
The ‘New Urbanism’ Movement Might Be Dead
Like 'big data', New Urbanism has become so mainstream that it’s hard to think of it as a separate movement anymore.
UK is on the road to a cycling revolution
Mobike and the other new arrivals, Ofo, OBike and Urbo, find themselves in harmony with the UK government's health and transportation plans.
China Daily, 30.09.2017
More showers, lockers for workers who cycle to office could be a reality, with grant extension
Singapore transport authority funds construction of facilities, Travel Smart Rewards, and Travel Smart Consultancy Vouchers
Straits Times, 29.09.2017
New report reveals huge social value of London’s high streets
A report explores the threats to high streets as well as their value and offers recommendations to strengthen them.
Los Angeles' legendary palm trees are dying – and few will be replaced
A beetle known as the South American palm weevil and a fungus called Fusarium are killing palm trees across southern California ... and doing residents a big favour.
The Guardian, 29.09.2017
Deloitte 4+ months late on breach: New poster child for bad security practices?
Trust in big consulting firms? Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd. is the world’s No. 1 security consulting group.
Tech Beacon, 28.09.2017
UnionPay launches mobile payment in public transportation in 20 cities
"Public transportation, having a large user group, high frequency of use and position information, is one of the best industries where companies can attract users and collect data."
China Daily, 28.09.2017
Tfl plans to make £322m by collecting data from passengers' mobiles via Tube Wi-Fi
TfL in 2016 ran a pilot which tracked Wi-Fi signals from 5.6 million phones as people moved around the London Underground, even if they weren't connected to a Wi-Fi network. It is now in consultation about tracking passengers on a permanent basis.
Sky News, 27.09.2017
Build it and they will come? Why Britain's 1960s cycling revolution flopped
“If the reasons for Stevenage’s failure to encourage cycling were that it was too easy to drive, then no amount of investment in marketing the town’s cycling facilities would have changed travel behaviour.”
The Guardian, 19.09.2017
Bike-sharing schemes might seem like a waste of space but the economics makes sense
The economic models behind dockless bike share schemes actually have as much to do with data mining, advertising and turning a profit from interest on the deposits as from the bike rental itself.
The Conversation, 19.09.2017
Idea to use MTR dividends to subsidise fares is way off track
"Public transport is widely used by all people except those at the very top of the income range. I don’t need the cheaper fares. Yet I will be given them."
1,500 scientists lift the lid on reproducibility
Dubai on Empty
Nothing actually goes anywhere. The wide lanes loop around endlessly, and then there’s no place to go. No plaza or square, no center. Nowhere to hang out, nowhere to walk.
Vanity Fair, 15.04.2011