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Why is cycling so popular in the Netherlands?

Anna Holligan, BBC
There are more bicycles than residents in The Netherlands and in cities like Amsterdam and The Hague up to 70% of all journeys are made by bike. The BBC’s Hague correspondent, Anna Holligan, who rides an omafiets – or "granny style" – bike complete with wicker basket and pedal-back brakes, examines what made everyone get back in the saddle…

The 70s velo-rution Before World War II, journeys in the Netherlands were predominantly made by bike, but in the 1950s and 1960s, as car ownership rocketed, this changed. As in many countries in Europe, roads became increasingly congested and cyclists were squeezed to the kerb.

The jump in car numbers caused a huge rise in the number of deaths on the roads. In 1971 more than 3,000 people were killed by motor vehicles, 450 of them children…

UK based readers can watch a longer report on iplayer till August 13. Segment starts at 22:30.
(8 August 2013)


VIDEO: Set Sail for Greener Maritime Cargo Shipping

Bryan Walsh, Time Magazine

…Without container ships, you really would have to buy American.

But shipping incurs an environmental cost. According to the International Maritime Organization, sea shipping accounts for around 3 to 4% of global CO2 emissions. That may not sound like a lot—and because container ships can carry so much, they’re relatively efficient on a ton per mile basis—but as shipping industry grows, so does its carbon footprint…

(7 August 2013)


Rolls-Royce Revives Age of Sail to Beat Fuel-Cost Surge: Freight

Robert Wall, Bloomberg
Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc (RR/), best known for powering planes from Concorde to the Airbus superjumbo, is working on a modern-day clipper ship as it bets on emissions curbs to jack up bunker-fuel costs and herald a new age of sail.

Cargo vessels are set for a design change embracing sleeker hulls and hybrid propulsion systems, according to London-based Rolls, which is helping to develop a ship featuring a 180-foot sail augmented by bio-methane engines and carrying 4,500 tons.

“We’re at the dawn of a transition,” said Oskar Levander, vice president for innovation at Rolls’s marine unit, who predicts a switch to alternative fuels such as dimethyl ether and liquid natural gas, as well as “high-tech wind.”…
(11 July 2013)


Why aren’t young people getting drivers’ licenses? Too much hassle!

Brad Plumer, Washington Post
Ever since the recession hit in 2007, Americans have been driving less and less. And, as we’ve discussed before, a big chunk of that decline has been due to the fact that kids these days don’t seem to drive as much as their parents did.

Case in point: Back in 1983, about 87 percent of 19-year-olds had drivers’ licenses. But in 2010, only 69.5 percent did.

So why the decline? Well, we could always just ask the young folks. And that’s exactly what Brandon Schoettle and Michael Sivak of the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute have done in an interesting new survey… 
(7 August 2013)
Link to the survey


Let’s All Stop Obsessing About the ‘Next Great Thing’ in Urban Transportation

Eric Jaffe, Atlantic Cities
skytranIt looks like Tel Aviv is really moving forward with this whole futuristic floating pod idea. Reports have surfaced that the city hired a U.S. consulting firm "to get the ball rolling, or pod sliding," as the Times of Israel put it. The pilot program, being developed by a company called SkyTran, could launch as soon as 2014, according to a Hebrew news article that I’m sure Wikipedia translated accurately…

Nothing against this particular plan for floating pods. If nothing else the science seems sound, with NASA engineers having cooked up the concept. But the truth is transportation has very rarely changed with a great deal of speed or spectacle. The shape and pace of life today might stun someone who just woke up from a century-long cryogenic nap, plus woah like when did the Dodgers leave Brooklyn?, but the basic elements we use to navigate that life aren’t astonishingly different…
(8 August 2013)


South Korean road wirelessly recharges OLEV buses

Leo Kelion, BBC
South Korea has switched on a road which can recharge electric vehicles as they drive over it.

The project’s developer says the 12km (7.5 miles) route is the first of its kind in the world.

It means vehicles fitted with compatible equipment do not need to stop to recharge and can also be fitted with smaller than normal batteries.

Two public buses are already using the technology and there are plans to add 10 more by 2015…
(7 August 2013)