Monday, May 11, 2015

If your city is up to capacity on traffic flows what can you do?

If your city street is packed with cars like image (1) you might think that the 'disused' cycle path might be a waste of space. 
But you would be wrong - As figure 2 shows the actual density of a 4 lanes of bumper to bumper traffic is quite low. Figure 3 shows what this look likes as a bus, but for this blog figure 4 looks 'quite' but infact it's the same capcacity ( number of people ) is the traffic jam in figure 1. So which would you prefer to be in ?

(Photo credit: Phil Sheffield, Tampa Tribune ) 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Cycling news in Brisbane — Briscycle

If you want to add a big cycle lane for a packed city think about the water. 
This aquatic water way in Brisbane  isn't elevated but it is a seperate. I think it's pretty cool and a good example of what can be done. Personally it would be better covered/shelterd. It would be good to have narrow lanes in London's quite canals. 


Cycling news in Brisbane — Briscycle

Monday, April 27, 2015

SLEADD AvatarOne and EcoFlyer Promo

Cool I wish it was as fast as Shweeb. There is a huge logic to run a system on a wire (so called mono-wire systems ) the visual intrusion is at an absolute minimum. This is obviously designed for tourism, but  there is no reason in principle not to run it down a city street (with an enclosed pod).

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Cycling could be worth as much as £17 billion to the NHS – it's worth the investment

Cycling could be worth as much as £17 billion to the NHS – it's worth the investment

Alan J Taylor, University of Nottingham

Yellow truly is the colour of cycling in the UK. The victories of Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome in the World’s biggest bike race, the Tour de France, thrust cycling into the headlines. The visit of Le Tour to England in 2014 kindled a Lycra-led euphoria that some have tried to bottle up as a legacy for health and well-being.

Liberal Democrat MP and cycling lobbyist Julian Huppert (among others) has been waving his own yellow flag – and has received government support for his call for a long-term commitment to cycling and walking. Huppert is co-chair of the all party parliamentary group on cycling and recently highlighted the fact that the infrastructure bill (which recently came before parliament) makes a commitment to road building but neglects to make similar provision for cyclists and walkers.

Is this all brouhaha and political manoeuvring, or is there a real measurable benefit to the call for us all to take to two wheels?

Poster boy Wiggins.
Robert King, CC BY

Health benefits

Huppert and others have based their rhetoric on a review paper, published in The Lancet, which suggested a plethora of positive effects for a number of health outcomes linked to an increase in cycling and walking in urban areas. They suggested that “within 20 years, reductions in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes, dementia, ischaemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, and cancer because of increased physical activity would lead to savings of roughly £17 billion (in 2010 prices) for the NHS”. We also know that the documented effects on mental health and well-being alone are enough to make you consider getting into the saddle.

The authors of The Lancet study modelled for health effects, road traffic injuries and cost impacts, and included a series of “sensitivity analyses” (which accounted for numerous variables). The authors stated that, even with the most conservative of sensitivity analyses, “there would be a substantial reduction in the potential effect on the NHS budget, with savings of roughly £6 billion in 20 years. Irrespective of the scenario … increased walking and cycling would have a positive effect on NHS expenditure.” Moreover, their analysis and discussion of the health benefits and disease prevalence was equally impressive.

Changing habits

The authors did acknowledge, however, that the challenge of implementing behaviour-change initiatives “can be quite difficult.” They made the helpful suggestion that “activities that can become part of everyday life, such as walking or cycling to work or school, might be more likely to be sustained than are activities that necessitate attendance at specific venues” (such as gyms) and this fits well with current thinking on implementing exercise regimes and sticking to them.

Going Dutch.
Franklin Heijnen, CC BY

As we know from the plans to build cycling superhighways in London amid safety fears for cyclists on busy roads with other traffic, that increasing cyclist numbers doesn’t come without fears of road safety dangers.

This is clearly a leading disincentive (or perhaps excuse) for some, for not taking up cycling or walking. The suggestion is that improved infrastructure and planning would segregate road users whose speeds differ greatly (as is done in the Netherlands). Such policies “could have double benefits such as lessening of the risk of road injury and encouragement of more people to cycle or walk, who will then reap the health benefits”.

The NHS have also produced a special cycle safety report to aid those wanting to take to their bike.

The bottom line

The bottom line is that exercise is good and reduces the risk of developing a number of major of health conditions. Cycling and walking are excellent ways to encourage a healthier lifestyle – and particularly because they can be linked to a daily commute. The big “but” though, is that the government has to get on board and commit to infrastructure to facilitate this lifestyle change.

British Cycling have looked at the evidence from both the UK and other countries which has shown that increasing cycling levels is best achieved through sustained expenditure on cycling programmes at a level of £10 per head or more. For example, cycling demonstration towns – including Aylesbury, Brighton & Hove, Darlington,
Derby, Exeter and Lancaster with Morecambe – doubled levels of cycling by spending between £14 and £17 per head and the mayor of London plans to spend £18 per head. The Netherlands currently spends more than £24 per head.

British Cycling puts it into numbers.
British Cycling

Lycra revolution

If you are of the belief that more roads and more traffic equals more progress and growth then the cycling revolution may not be for you. But if you have experienced the calm tranquillity of European cities that have integrated their transport systems well to account for human sensibilities and health, over and above the priority for traffic and the motor vehicle, then you will have seen what the future could look like – and maybe it’s time to get your own wheels turning.

Einstein said of his theory of relativity that he “thought of it while riding my bicycle”, so if you don’t fancy donning Lycra, there’s always tweed.

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Transportation | Rebuilding Civilization

Transportation | Rebuilding Civilization: The humble bicycle is an amazingly efficient form of transportation. �I would have liked to see mass transit such as trains on this list. I wonder how they would compare.

Monday, March 30, 2015

how to save NHS £17 Billion ....

Effect of increasing active travel in urban England and Wales on costs to the National Health Service

 Within 20 years, reductions in the prevalences of type 2 diabetes, dementia, ischaemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease,
and cancer because of increased physical activity would lead to savings of roughly
UK£17 billion (in 2010 prices) for the
NHS, after adjusting for an increased risk of road traffic injuries. Further costs would be averted after 20 years.

17 Billion is a lot of elevated cycle lanes and cycle monorails.... 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A working elevated cycleway.

Okay I admit it it's  not the full truth.  This is the peace Bridge in Calgary in Canada.   It does show you what an elevated cycle path could look like.  it looks lovely and is very popular.

Peace Bridge (Calgary) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Technically it's also far too wide  (   heavy and expensive )  for a street by cycle system  but it does give you a good flavour of what the system could be like.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Friday, March 20, 2015

Traveling to the Netherlands, Bicycling Home | Solutions

Traveling to the Netherlands, Bicycling Home | Solutions: We were in search of the “27 percent solution”—the health, environmental, economic, and community benefits gained in a nation where more than a quarter of all daily trips are made on bicycle, according to Patrick Seidler, vice-chairman of the Bikes Belong Foundation, a nonprofit group dedicated to getting more people on bikes more often. Seidler regularly takes public officials on tours of cities where biking is popular. Bikes Belong sponsored our trip, which included half a dozen government officials from the San Francisco Bay Area.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Bikenomics: How Bicycling Will Save the Economy (If We Let It): Elly Blue: 9781621060031: Books

 this is a good book if you'd like to know more about the economic cycling  and its larger impact on the economy. It's a lot more than economics.

Bikenomics provides a surprising and compelling new perspective on the way we get around and on how we spend our money, as families and as a society. Bicycle transportation is good for a lot of things: it's healthy, it's green, it's quiet, it's fun and it builds community. It also makes financial sense and the magnitude of bicycling's economic impact gets far less attention than it deserves. In Bikenomics, Elly Blue explores the scope of that impact, from personal finance to local economies to the big picture of the national budget.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Green wave for bicylists

As you know one of the ideas behind elevated cycle lanes is you don't have to stop at intersections. One idea from Denmark does this at grade with a cycle lane. 

Here lights in the road indicate the speed you need to ride at so when you reach the specially timed lights they will be green. Good for cyclists and bad for cars. It's a very cool solution. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Bike paths in abandoned tube tunnels: is the London Underline serious? | Cities | The Guardian

Bike paths in abandoned tube tunnels: is the London Underline serious? | Cities | The Guardian

Another curious proposal. Naturally it will be quicker and have far more capacity if every tube line was converted into a cycle lane. A dense row of bicycles gives you a huge capacity and given that the bicycles are not stopping the time taken to cycle would be a little bit less than the tube.

 All of this proposal's claims are exactly those for elevated cycle lanes. Generally one would never think of building an underground network because of the very high expense of digging tunnels. There is a reason why crossrail is costing in the billions of pounds to dig.  All of this goes out the window if the tunnel already exists.   I have previously reported on a Spanish underground cycle lane which seem to be fairly successful. So it is rather pleasing to report on a proposal for a cycle lane  which Best Conceptual Project at the London Planning awards.

My first response is it would be interesting to see people's path planning given that they have two walk/cycle into a lift and then go down.   on the elevated cycle system there is generally a smooth ramp on (  with a tow rope to pull you up)  and the smooth ramp off (  which you can freewheel off).  I have never seen a proposal for an elevated system with lifts -  it seems like an unnecessary interruption to momentum.  However given the fact that you can cycle as fast as you like pedestrian Free and without  a hint of danger it makes an interesting question.

As always I have issues with cycle lane provision  designed clearly by non-cyclist designed around  what free Spaces available rather than where cyclists really want to go.   However central London is dense enough that this might just work.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Vote on segregated cycle superhighways could help make London a city of the future | Environment | The Guardian

Tomorrow's vote on segregated cycle superhighways could help make London a city of the future | Environment | The Guardian:

In words, most reminiscent of 'I'm not racist, but...' quote by Steve McNamara LTDALicensed Taxi Drivers Association ) says 'We’re genuinely not anti-cyclist. Half the guys in my office cycle to work. What we need in London is a scheme that works from everyone'  as a way of objecting to a new cycle super highway in London. 

This reminds us that space in London ( and many cities ) is a zero sum game. To expand cycle provision we must remove car provision. There is a terrific logic to this there are 2000 new people a day in London and they need to get to work too. Car's are spatially very inefficient ( both when moving and when parked)  so from a capacity planning point of view it makes sense to swap space to a more compact form of transport ( the bike). This creates resistance to change which creates more problems. 

Naturally the solution is to think outside the box - or in this case think off the ground. Elevated cycle schemes ( both track and wire-rail) add a new dimension to transport and can do this without compromising the space for existing road users. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Thinking outside the box | As Easy As Riding A Bike

Thinking outside the box | As Easy As Riding A Bike

A good page from an at-grade cycle lane enthusiast talk about new Urban Design guidelines which want to treat cyclists as slow moving road blocks not as a form of transport. Who could not applaud the thinking here...

'These are the kinds of recommendations that show the authors are only really thinking about ‘cyclists’ as the people who are cycling already, not anyone who might want to ride a bike – from a very young child, to someone in old age.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Audi Urban Future Initiative

Audi Urban Future Initiative

Publicity on the Hovenring Bridge in Eindhoven and  other cycle projects fro Audi no less.


Saturday, February 7, 2015

To cover or not to cover cyclists

One of the huge biases against elevated cycle lanes is the use of covered cycle lanes. I know it doesn't feel 'natural' ( after all I don't think it's natural just logical). Let's take a look at a prison treadmill below. This comes from a book on  The Human-Powered Home: Choosing Muscles Over Motors pointed out that people used to be sent to prison to do 'hard labour'. In many urban prisons this meant many hours on the treadmill (see picture below).

So these were very bad people given the worst conditions possible and forced to spend many hours effectively climbing the staircase. Yet these guys get the roof (look at it) to protect them from the elements. Yet when we look at poor people just trying to get to work in the wet we think they deserve to have worse condition than prisoners in the 18th century. 

Why does this cyclist who is doing everyone a favor deserve to get soaking wet on the way to work and yet the prisoners get shelter?

Why is protecting cyclists from the worst of the weather wrong? What have they done to you except tried to to prevent global warming, stop an obesity epidemic, and limit  pollution? 

After all it's not like covered cycleway is expensive ( compared to a new road which would have less capacity ) 

Friday, January 23, 2015

LOW-TECH MAGAZINE: The velomobile: high-tech bike or low-tech car?

LOW-TECH MAGAZINE: The velomobile: high-tech bike or low-tech car?:

'Nevertheless, thanks to the recumbent position, the minimal weight and the outstanding aerodynamics, pedalling a "velomobile" requires three to four times less energy than pedalling a normal bicycle.

This higher energy efficiency can be converted felt in terms of comfort, but can also be utilised to attain higher speeds and longer distances - regular cyclists can easily maintain a cruising speed of 40 km/h (25 mph) or more. The velomobile thus becomes an excellent alternative to the automobile for medium distances, especially in bad weather.'

I could believe this but a factor of 4 sounds quite impressive. I know the HPV competition on Battle Mountain use velomobiles and get in to the 70mph region so I guess it's not out of the question. The principle reason against them is the extra weight stopping/starting ( in traffic). If true a dedicated network could be vital to run over long distances.

Good artical worth a read.

Monday, January 19, 2015

BBC News Why do so many Dutch people cycle

There is a huge amount to hear in this BBC News interview.

1. We need to challange 'lycra culture' Cycling shouldn't be part for  leisure or new year's resolution fitness regime. Sustained health improvements will come about when people regularly commute with bikes to work. And the Dutch have shown this with thier 'low sweat to work' bikes.

2. "in the centre of London we don't have enough road space to dedicate to cycling" which is the principal argument behind elevated cycle networks. Create a flat network of segregated junction free 'roads'

Lovely to see the culture change in Hackney , London..

Frightful quote 'Cycling is one of the most dangerous activity ... you should by a car'

'We need to think radically about getting more cyclists and more pedestriants on the road'. Precisly what Elevated cycle networks do.

Note Elevated cycle networks use cycle lanes as a 'last mile' feeder network. Think of them as the equivalant of freeways/motorways for cycling. You  might do 90% of your journey on the fast thick backbone network but you can't expect to get the freeway/motorway or train to your door.

Ultralight Arches Made from Packaging Foam

On the subject of ways you could be easily installable elevated cycle lanes.

Ultralight Arches Made from Packaging Foam: Researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) have developed a new form of ultralight arch that could make it far easier to build large-scale column-free structures such as airport hangars, factories, stadiums, and concert halls.
The Cloud Arch is a long-span structure made using Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam – an ultra-lightweight material most commonly used for packaging purposes. The material is 95 per cent air, conferring it with an extraordinarily low mass.
The NUS research team, led by Shinya Okuda, an assistant professor of architecture at the NUS School of Design and Environment, and Tan Kiang Hwee, a professor from the NUS Faculty of Engineering, spent two years developing and testing long-span arches using composite materials that incorporate the EPS foam.

“EPS foam has almost similar compression strength to weight ratio as concrete and is currently used as landfill for landscape works,” he said. “We are also testing its composite properties when reinforced with bonded fabric as a possible material for permanent construction. “ - See more at:

Monday, January 12, 2015

Bicycle Rush Hour Utrecht (Netherlands) III

There is something you should realise - if there were cars not bike we would be looking at somehting closer to a 3-4 lane freeway for the same capcity.

I do have a problem with this - the cyclists are having to stop/start which is less important when it's flat but still very time/energy consuming.  An elevated cycle lane would avoid all this.

Monday, January 5, 2015

SkyCycle: Cycle Lanes in the Sky - Will the Idea come Crashing Down?

SkyCycle: Cycle Lanes in the Sky - Will the Idea come Crashing Down?: SkyCycle: Cycle Lanes in the Sky – Will the Idea come Crashing Down?

"Another practical consideration is the design of the cycleway itself. Recently published images show a transparent tunnel elevated 50-60 feet in the air, supported by steel structures underneath. The impact the cycle ways would have on London’s infrastructure is immense. If the routes are to be 50-60 feet in the air, then the inclines used to reach these heights would have to be either extremely steep, or extremely long and covering a wide area. How this is going to be achieved in one of the most crowded cities in the world remains to be seen."

I do like this, so if someone said "lets build a monorail" then the objection would be the walk ways up would be too long/bulky ? No one expects the BIG problem against underground tubes is the long walk down so why are we holding elevated cycle ways up to this higher standard. It doesn't take a genius to think a monorail would use a lift/elevator when space is tight so why no the same for a cycle way?

Even if you use a slope, then why not have a tow rope to help pull you up?

"SkyCycle, however, seems to overlook the crucial point: that cyclists are equal to other road users and should be treated as such." 

So if we substitute "car" for "bike" and suggest making a car only route (i.e motorways) then your saying car drivers would argue AGAINST motorways because "car drivers are equal to other road users and should be treated as such". 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Why we need elevated cycle lanes.

Sky-Cycle-Ways, Elevated bike lanes

It's time for new year's resolutions so we thought we would reiterate our reasons for elevated cycle lanes. 

  • Cheap By having the lightest possible vehicle structure, it is the lightest and possibly cheapest elevated concept available.
  • Cheap By having a very light network its possible to both mass produce track and have light foundations which reduces installation time.
  • Cheap Self funding. Unlike at grade cycle lanes entrance and exits are limited to stations. This permits the possibility of a low toll to help finance further expansion.
  • Cheap compared to light rail, monorails and busses, by having no drivers, the elevated network has a small work force reducing costs. Most cycle networks have a zero work force.
  • Cheap the elevated network has no complex mission critical electronics and power distribution system. The only maintenance is too the escalators - which are a well known off-the-self product and making sure the bridges are structurally sound.
  • Cheap the only powered items are the station escalators and the internal lighting. This is a very low energy demand compared to monorails, light rail and evaluated rail. No high power systems have to be installed in the local network.
  • Cheap the right of way for dedicated track is cheaper for elevated concepts than at grade. By being built over the sidewalk or over the current city streets zero cost can be incurred.
  • Cheap A cycle network is significantly more friendly a neighbor to have near your house or business than a train line, light rail or monorail track. By being a positive neighbor there is less likely hood of local objections changing route and delaying installation.
  • Cheap By providing a mode of transport to station there is less need for space around the station for park-and-ride movement reducing land cost.
  • Cheap Unlike Monorails,buses, light rail,heavy rail and PRT. The growth in the network is no limited to rate at which vehicles are purchased and installed on the system. This removes the problem of initial system deployment where small numbers of vehicles can cause large apparent delays. If the system becomes more popular more quickly it will not cause the expense and delay of a large number of new carriages to be purchased.
  • Low risk. Unlike a PRT no new technology has be to be developed and tried out. All the components, escalators, lifts, surveillance cameras,bridges,bicycles are super low risk concepts which just have to be brought together. By being a technologically simple concept there will be no delays in installation caused by integrating new technologies.
  • Cheap by being low risk its simpler for banks to lend money against the final outcome.
  • Cheap by being a light , modular system the bridge structure can be moved leaving the foundations behind. This could help reduce costs by recycling the structure and permit the inexpensive use of temporary undeveloped land.
  • Cheap Like most evaluated systems the station elements can be simple raised modular structures which consist of possible ticket hall, elevator/escalator/on ramp. This removes on the ground land so making land for stations less vi
  • Environment Low urban impact Use of one lane one direction elevated cycle lanes reduces shadowing of surrounding buildings.
  • Health Uniquely Cycle lanes despite the level escalators provide mild to exercise useful in fighting the growth in obesity and many other health problems. This exercise can be easily integrated into every day activity by combing commuting with some limited exercise. The level of exercise can be determined by the individuals choice of speed.
  • Reduced journey times by using the elevated nature of the network it is not necessary to stop at each junction. This reduces journey time and significantly reduces energy consumption.
  • Reduced journey times By providing an integrated network like a PRT system, there are no waits to change carriages on interchanges.
  • Reduced journey times Unlike an at grade network the elevated network can be made flat even over hilly geography, this reduces the delay of traveling up hill.
  • Reduced journey times Unlike PRT,light rail,Monorails buses and heavy rail elevated cycle networks the passenger does not have to walk to the 'station'.
  • Reduced journey times. Unlike an at grade cycle network cars cannot park on the cycle lanes blocking them off.
  • Reduced journey times Unlike at grade cycle networks the floors can be designed to the highest specification for low friction surfaces.
  • Reduces journey times elevated networks do no slow down cars and vehicles unlike buses and light rail. Neither do they remove road space or parking spaces from the current urban context.
  • Reduction of congestion. By moving people from the streets they
  • Environment Reduction in pollution Each journey on the cycle lane significantly reduces local urban pollution ( Ozone, NOx CO CO2...) and makes a significant reduction in urban energy consumption. Each car not traveling improves the local environment and helps save fuel for post 2025 consumption
  • Environment The cycle network does not produce the noise and vibration of traditional elevated transportation reducing impact on surrounding buildings. So increasing the flexibility of the network layout
  • Environment Unlike a monorail or elevated rail, The low speed network can turn tight corners so increasing flexibility of network layout.
  • Cheap Elevated components if designed correctly could be cheaper to install then dedicated at grade cycle paths
  • Reduced journey times An elevated network can be installed in congested areas with out removing vital capacity from current road networks
  • Unlike traditional at grade cycle networks, being enclosed the cycle network removes some of the effort ( no head wind) and all of the unpleasantness( rain, snow, cold) for all year round usage.
  • Safety, Unlike at grade cycle networks, The elevated cycle network with Lighting at night, with limited entrances and exits, with constant surveillance camera and a dedicated security team means a stronger safety environment.
  • Safety, Unlike an at grade cycle network. The evaluated network can be build as a continuous network this means from the point of entry to exit the network it safe from collisions with road vehicles.
  • Safety. Unlike monorails there is a mechanism for escape in case of fire or vehicle mechanical failure.
  • Safety. Unlike monorails and other elevated mechanisms ,the lack of vibration and light weight means it is possible to consider suspending the track from near by tail buildings. Removing the moderately vulnerable street supports (legs).
  • Reliability. Unlike monorails vehicles can fail between stations without interrupting the journeys of other passengers.
  • Reliability Unlike All other forms of transport, power supply to the network can fail completely without severely slowing the network down. Escalators may fail but people only have a short walk up a steep slop. The whole system is fail safe.