NCBW Newsroom - The National & International Scene
The National & International Scene | Regional and Local Actions | The Research Beat | Resources | Jobs, Grants & RFPs
3 EUROPEAN CITIES' TRAFFIC POLICIES COMBAT AIR POLLUTION
-> Fast Company reports that to combat dangerous levels of air pollution London, Paris, and Barcelona are pursuing radical policies to cut traffic. (http://bit.ly/2neJuQd) London's air is infamously deadly, killing 10,000 residents every year. Mayor Sadiq Khan has already banned cars from Oxford Street, switched from diesel buses, and invested $1 billion on cycling (http://bit.ly/2neZTnX). This year he plans a T-Charge (T for toxicity) in which pretty much any vehicle built before 2006 entering the city will pay another £10 ($12.36) on top of the existing £11.50 ($14.21) Congestion Charge.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has enacted car-free days (http://bit.ly/2nf0FkL), commissioned redesigns of streets and intersections to favor pedestrians (http://bit.ly/2nwQRjn), changed the law to let cyclists run red lights (http://bit.ly/2nwZbj6), banned old cars from the city center and closed a 2-mile stretch of a major road along the Right Bank of the Seine entirely. While some of its traffic was displaced onto nearby traffic arteries, most of it just disappeared.
Barcelona's Superblocks (http://bit.ly/2nwRBFd) divide the road grid into nine-block squares. Through-traffic can only use the perimeter roads, and the city's bus routes have already been completely redesigned to adhere to the new layouts. Anyone entering the Superblock in a car will be guided straight back out again. Reclaimed spaces are reused for pedestrians.
ASCE 2017 INFRASTRUCTURE REPORT CARD
-> Every four years, the American Society of Civil Engineers' Report Card for America's Infrastructure depicts the condition and performance of American infrastructure in the familiar form of a school report card—assigning letter grades based on the physical condition and needed investments for improvement. Overall ASCE gives US roads a D (http://bit.ly/2nQTXPx). http://bit.ly/ZpsdMB
FINAL RULE BROADENS TRAVEL TYPES STATES MUST CONSIDER
-> Rails-to-Trails Conservancy reports in the waning hours of his time as secretary of transportation, Anthony Foxx issued a regulation that could, if implemented, be a true gift to cyclists and pedestrians around the country. (National Performance Management Measures; Assessing Performance of the National Highway System, Freight Movement on the Interstate System, and Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: http://bit.ly/2nQSdWg) It made several changes that help broaden the types of travel that states have to consider. First, both the NHPP (National Highway Performance Program) and CMAQ (congestion mitigation and air quality) rule now include consideration of reduction in CO2 emissions caused by the highway system. Second, the NHPP measure now considers "person-miles" traveled, rather than just vehicle miles traveled—thus, looking at how many people are able to get around. Third, the CMAQ performance rule includes a measure of how many people travel by modes other than a single-occupancy vehicle.
These changes are a big victory for trails, walking and biking. With the new rule, FHWA is looking to transportation planners on the state level and in major metropolitan areas to consider all types of travel as they attempt to relieve traffic congestion and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is uncertain whether the U.S. Department of Transportation—now under the authority of newly confirmed Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao—will actually implement the rule, and they may even repeal it altogether. http://bit.ly/2nQJJi1
TRUMP'S BUDGET AS AN ATTACK ON CITIES
-> Streetsblog reports the National Association of City Transportation Officials called President Trump's budget outline that calls for severe cuts to transit "a disaster" for cities. Transportation for America said it was a "slap in the face" for local communities that have raised funds to expand transit. The budget threatens dozens of transit projects cities have been planning for years and which, in many cases, voters have approved by large margins. Meanwhile, no such cuts are planned for federal highway funding. http://bit.ly/2nQAUoo
LAB: WHAT TRUMP'S BUDGET MEANS FOR CYCLISTS
-> A League of American Bicyclists article outlines what President Trump's budget means for cyclists. The budget lays out a 13% cut to the DOT including a zeroing out of TIGER (which hurts biking and walking, and multimodal projects), severe cuts to Amtrak long distance trains and limits transit "New Starts" program to projects where funds have already been obligated. Transportation Alternatives and other core programs are not affected by the budget because the Highway Trust Fund, which can only be spent on transportation, funds them. The argument for defunding the transit program could have repercussions for biking and walking in the future. (For a primer on the budget process go to: http://bit.ly/2nQHZVS) http://bit.ly/2nQTL2T
AUTONOMOUS CARS IMPACT ON SUSTAINABLE CITIES
-> An article published by Cities of the Future predicts within the next 10 years autonomous cars could reverse the trend of freeing cities from private vehicles, instead flooding the streets with even more cars, undermining public transit, and leaving no space for other uses. It reports that Sam Schwartz recently said that the arrival of autonomous cars will increase the Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT), reverse the millennial trend eschewing driving, decimate public transport, and increase the occurrence of inactivity related illnesses. http://bit.ly/2nHeGsi
[See Research section for Bike PGH Surveys Cyclists & Peds re Autonomous Vehicles.]
AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES CANNIBALIZE NYC TRANSIT, WORSEN CONGESTION & EMISSIONS
-> A State Smart Transportation Initiative article reports the effect of transportation network companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft is one of the central concerns of transportation planning, in part because TNCs can provide a hint about what might happen when driverless vehicles become widely available. In addition, to date the lack of TNCs' willingness to share data has limited our ability to assess these effects. A new report focusing on these services in New York City found after 2014 TNCs began cannibalizing transit travel, as well as adding new vehicle-miles because of how TNCs operate—including vehicle-miles for travelers who might have avoided a vehicle trip before (induced demand). (Unsustainable? The Growth of App-Based Ride Services and Traffic, Travel and the Future of New York City: http://bit.ly/2nR8ivp) "TNC growth can generate additional mileage on city streets because of deadheading to pick-up locations and drivers' personal use of the vehicle." The report suggests several policy responses. http://bit.ly/2nR38PT
DRIVERLESS FUTURE: A POLICY ROADMAP FOR CITY LEADERS
-> DriverlessFuture.org reports through the collaboration of Arcadis, HR&A and Sam Schwartz, "Driverless Future: A Policy Roadmap for City Leaders" (http://bit.ly/2nQ7TcB) explores six major priorities for policymakers to protect against risks, maximize potential benefits, and ensure the next transportation revolution will improve quality of life in our cities. The paper also estimates impacts in three prototypical US cities – New York City, Los Angeles and Dallas – showing a shift of nearly 7 million drivers to from driving to autonomous vehicles. This potential shift illustrates how cities with different population densities, transit availability, and car ownership can all be greatly impacted and why city leaders must act now to prepare for a driverless future. http://bit.ly/2nQnj0z
BIKE SHARE IN THE US: 2010-2016
-> Vox reports bike sharing systems now provide 28 million trips in the US a year. NACTO has just released the first comprehensive snapshot of bike-share growth in the US. (Bike Share in the US: 2010-2016: http://bit.ly/2nR3CW2) It shows that from 2010 to 2016, bike sharing has gone from virtually nothing to... well, something. It is still a marginal means of transportation in the grand scheme of things, but if current growth rates hold, that won't be true for long. There were just 4 bike share systems (at least 10 stations and 100 bikes) in the US in 2010; by 2016 there were 55. http://bit.ly/2nR3CW2
ECF: HOW TO COMBINE BIKES & TRAINS FOR LONG DISTANCE TRAVEL
-> A new report from the European Cyclists' Federation lists 7 simple steps for getting more people to use long-distance and international rail services and help to reduce Green House Gas (GHG) emissions in the European Union. (Bikes and Trains: 7 Basic Services that Give Cyclists a Smile: A Collection of Good Practice Examples of Integrating Cycling with Long-Distance and International Rail Services: http://bit.ly/2nLMwZY) The report identifies ways to encourage railway customers to combine bicycle and long distance and international and train trips rather than use private motor vehicles, and provides best practice examples from across Europe. http://bit.ly/2nLMuBk
CHINA OPENS 8K ELEVATED CYCLING & PED PATH
-> Arch Daily reports the city of Xiamen, China recently opened that country's first elevated cycling path, which also provides color-coded areas for pedestrians. Watch 2 videos of the nearly 8 kilometer long structure that provides a new sustainable transportation alternative for up to 2,023 cyclists/hr. The path has 13 connections to other public transport systems to facilitate intermodality across three financial centers and five residential neighborhoods. Its 11 spiral ramps to allow for uninterrupted riding. http://bit.ly/2nHtSp3
OUTSIDE TORONTO, CANADA: BIKE/PED PROJECTS IN SMALLER TOWNS
-> The Toronto (Canada) Centre for Active Transportation released "Active Transportation Planning Beyond the Greenbelt: The Outer Ring of the Greater Golden Horseshoe Region" (http://bit.ly/2nIMG7s). This new book profiles projects that have improved conditions for walking and cycling in unique contexts beyond the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. These 13 projects are wide-ranging and at times unexpected, as smaller towns, suburbs, and rural areas often face the perception that walking or cycling are not viable travel options there. Physical conditions such as topography and large distances can act as barriers, as do the presence of provincial highways that run right through the middle of historic small towns. Despite these and other challenges, the municipalities in this book have successfully implemented off-road trails, paved shoulders, bike lanes, sidewalks and more to create spaces that encourage active transportation. http://bit.ly/2nIV1bb
WOMEN'S UNIQUE PERSPECTIVES & EXPERIENCES BICYCLING
-> Listen to or read the transcript of a recent Living on Earth segment called Women and Bicycling. Living on Earth interviewed several women about women's unique bicycling experiences. The focus and data are on biking to work, but that doesn't capture the many ways women use their bikes. If you ask women around the world what they are doing on a day to day basis, they won't describe going to pick up groceries or moving kids around the city as "work." So you're really missing how women move around a city. Women tend to feel safer using bike paths separated from the road, while men are less concerned about heading off into traffic. http://bit.ly/2nQICPk
PLACES FOR BIKES BASED ON 2 EUROPEAN MODELS, 4/15 SURVEY DEADLINE
-> In a recent post to the Alliance for Biking & Walking: People Discussion Group, SRAM Cycling Fund Director, Randy Neufeld, clarified the purpose of the Places for Bikes program. It is based on 2 European programs that he wanted to bring to US cities and towns. One is the Copenhagen Bicycle Account (http://bit.ly/2nIuqek) and the other is the German ADFC Fahrradklima Test (Cycling Environment Test (http://bit.ly/2nIC6O1, in German, but the Google translate function does a good job). They both offer online resources and results. Both programs survey local cycle network users and gather information on network utility and satisfaction. They then compare progress over time, and in the case of ADFC; between cities. To see what the survey covers, take the Places for Bikes community survey for your town: http://bit.ly/2nIIftg
There need to be enough responses to make the data useful. People for Bikes will share data details with groups or agencies that help get people to take the survey. This is a powerful resource that is now available free to any place that wants to participate. Spread the word about this survey between now and the April 15 deadline so you can have good data for local advocacy and planning.
STREETFILMS: #SNECKDOWN VIDEO SHOWS MORE PED SPACE POSSIBLE
-> A new Streetfilms #sneckdown video (3:16 minutes) shot before and after a recent snowstorm in New York City makes a compelling visual case for adding 3-10 or 11 feet more pedestrian space from currently unused motorist space. Sneckdowns are the white spaces unused by motorists after a snowstorm that are "like nature blanketing the city with curb extensions [and street islands] overnight" causing motorized traffic to slow down. Sneckdowns demonstrate streets have been overbuilt for motorists causing them to be able to go faster and drive more recklessly. Use this video to nudge you city to think differently about road design. http://bit.ly/2nLc9Kh
Get a jump start on this news by subscribing to CenterLines.