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Transport and urban design - headlines

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How Biking Improves Employee Productivity

RP Siegel, Triple Pundit
The business case for bicycling sounds obvious to sustainability enthusiasts. However, making it stick requires a generous leap of faith or two. We need to first make the case that an employer should have any opinion at all about how employees get to work. Then, we must also consider why it might be in employers’ best interests to invest in employee bicycling by providing bike racks, changing rooms and showers, or even offering financial incentives to employees who ride...

Today, we’re going to ask you, Mr. Employer, to consider making an investment in your business by supporting bicycling among your employees.

We are going to suggest that you will recoup your investment in the form of increased productivity. There is ample evidence to support that proposition...
(20 August 2013)


Lulu and the Life-Sized City

Mikael Colville-Andersen, Copenhagenize
Some of you may remember the article about The World's Youngest Urbanist - Lulu-Sophia - a couple of years back. Since then, Lulu-Sophia continues to fire off brilliant, simple and rational observations about her life in Copenhagen. Many of them are simple observations...

A few months ago, Lulu-Sophia took it to the next level. We were walking and had stopped at a pedestrian crossing, waiting to cross...

She looked up at me and said, quite simply, "When will my city fit me, Daddy?"...

As always with Lulu-Sophia's observations, she makes me think. Right then and there I started a longer thought process, wondering if my city fits ME. A process that has become constant as I move about my city and all the other cities I visit and work in.

It's an interesting way of thinking. Does my city fit me? Am I at scale on the urban landscape?..
(17 July 2013)


In Seattle, Bike Lanes Are Good for Business

Contributor, The Dirt
The debate on whether new bike lanes help or hurt business among street-level retail stores, bicycle advocates, local transportation departments, and politicians is nothing new. Seeing the same problems come up again and again, Seattle Transit Blog guest columnist, Kyle Rowe, University of Washington, set out to shed some light on the situation by “utilizing taxable retail sales data” to show what actually happened in Seattle neighborhood retail districts when bike lanes and other bicycle infrastructure were added. In his report called Bikenomics: Measuring the Economic Impact of Bicycle Facilities on Neighborhood Business Districts, Rowe argues that bike lanes have had a positive economic impact there, at least in the areas where the research was conducted.

In the Seattle case study, Rowe attempted to “bridge that gap in knowledge” by using public retail sales data to show what happened to neighborhood business districts when bike lanes and other facilities are constructed...
(20 August 2013)
Link to Bikenomics: Measuring the Economic Impact of Bicycle Facilities on Neighborhood Business Districts report


Plan to Convert Roads to Gravel Begins Despite Pushback

Ian Floyd, Texas Tribune
As he witnesses the roads around his South Texas farm crumble and deteriorate, Dane Elliot is aware that he is both a victim of the problem and part of it. The farmer and rancher in Live Oak County also owns a small trucking company that hauls oil field equipment...

The sharp increase in heavy traffic from a historic oil boom has damaged many farm-to-market roads in South and East Texas. The damage related to energy development has become so extensive that state and local authorities lack the funding to make all the repairs. Last month, the Texas Department of Transportation announced plans to convert more than 80 miles of paved roads to gravel. The conversions are expected to start Monday, TxDOT officials said. But the plan has been met with criticism from lawmakers and some of the farmers and ranchers who live near those roads.

"Since paving roads is too expensive and there is not enough funding to repave them all, our only other option to make them safer is to turn them into gravel roads," TxDOT spokesman David Glessner said...
(19 August 2013)


Smoking Ban: Shipping Shifts to Cleaner Fuel

Christian Wüst, Der Spiegel
Starting next year, ships fueled only with heavy oil will no longer be allowed to sail Europe's North and Baltic seas. But cleaner alternatives are costly. Liquid natural gas could be the solution.

Ships are the dirt eaters of our mobile society, and although their contribution to global pollution is only minor (see graphic), they are a nuisance on a local scale. Their diesel engines burn heavy oil, the dregs of refineries. "It's more like a thick mush than a liquid," says Christoph Brockmann, vice president of the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency in Hamburg. The highly viscous material has to be heated to 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) so that it can be pumped through the fuel lines and into the engine.

Out of the chimney then comes the muck. Brockmann has a few photos on his mobile phone showing ship smokestacks emitting plumes of black and yellow smoke. Black is soot and yellow is sulfur. "These photos are ugly," says Brockmann, "we don't want that anymore."
(16 August 2013)
Resilience.org reader and contributor Jan Lundberg, commented at Der Spiegel saying "The report is very informative, but it completely omitted any mention of the obvious long-term energy source for propulsion on the water: wind on sails. It is both clean and limitless. Natural gas is neither, particularly when we consider that the CO2 emission is still half as much as oil. Natural-gas spills also represent methane emissions which have a much higher greenhouse-gas effect. Since Bloomberg, Time, CNN and the BBC have recently covered the trend toward sail transport for cargo, surely Der Spiegel could address it as well in a long report on fuels for shipping. Or is it that a big reduction from today's unnecessarily high volumes of trade and travel is unthinkable in some quarters? Or that major industry players and governments don't spot the shift to emphasizing local economics and local food security? Because oil-powered cargo ships have slowed down to an average speed of the old clipper ships of 150 years ago, 15 knots, since 2008, there is clearly a sea-change in the wind hitting everyone in the face. One overall source for sail transport trends is http://www.sailtransportnetwork.org which can bring readers up to speed. - Jan Lundberg, independent oil industry analyst, Sail Transport Network".


On your bikes! Turkmenistan president orders entire nation to saddle up for national cycling day

Staff, The Independent
The leader of one of the world's most authoritarian states has gone to extreme lengths to promote cycling among his subjects.

President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow of Turkmenistan has reportedly ordered all citizens to buy bikes in preparation for a mass event on 1 September...

In a despotic version of Boris Johnson's cycling promotion in London, the president expects the entire population of more than five million to take part in the ride next month.

"Prices for bikes have sharply risen in the country," reported opposition news website Chrono in an article picked up by the BBC. "By any means, all able-bodied individuals, pupils and students should have bikes by 1 September."
(21 August 2013)

Image via henry/flickr

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