The Man Behind the Scooter Revolution - City Lab

Like so many inventions, the scooter was a child of necessity: Specifically, the need to get a bratwurst without looking like an idiot. One night in 1990, Wim Ouboter, a Dutch-Swiss banker and amateur craftsman, was “in the mood for a St. Gallen bratwurst at the Sternengrill in Zurich,” or so the story goes. He wanted to get from his house to the brat place and then to a bar, stat, but the stops seemed too far apart to walk, and too close to drive. What he really needed, Ouboter decided, was a mode of transportation that would let him swiftly cover that micro-distance. A bike seemed like too much trouble to take out of the garage. What he wanted was a kick scooter. Ouboter was a big fan of t

The Netherlands is testing a bike lane made from recycled plastic

The Netherlands, land of bikes and good design, is no stranger to clever takes on the bike lane. Some of them glow, while others are paved with asphalt made with recycled toilet paper. Now you can add the world’s first bike lane made from recycled plastic to the list. A new 100-foot stretch of bike lane in Zwolle is made from 70 percent recycled plastic, which includes waste from plastic bottles, festival beer cups, packaging, and plastic furniture. The material, which looks similar to that used on running tracks, is formed into hollow, lightweight pre-fabricated parts that can be installed in pieces instead of poured like concrete and asphalt. A tube inside the pieces is able to hold storm

Removing a few parking spaces should get people very excited - Mobility Lab

Mobility Lab has now been writing about the little-know excellent idea of PARK(ing) Day for six years. And despite the stragglers who find it impossible to accept change, the concept is beginning to take hold. Although the mission of PARK(ing) Day (which occurred Friday) is to create temporary parklets, one day per year, where people can congregate in places traditionally designed for cars, we’ve always wondered why that idea needs to be so modest. Takoma Park, Md., is taking PARK(ing) Day one step further. It just became the first city in the Washington D.C. region to allow year-round rental of parking spots for the creation of outdoor cafe spaces – parkets. Takoma Beverage Co. became the f

Florida town is first in the world to test autonomous school shuttles - Curbed

The southwestern Florida town of Babcock Ranch bills itself as the nation’s first solar-powered town. Now, it can add another big high-tech notch to its belt: The first city to test autonomously driving school shuttle buses. This fall, the planned community has partnered with Transdev to launch a pilot program for self-driving shuttle buses that can transport up to 12 children at a time. Like other autonomous shuttles that are popping up across the country, the EasyMile Easy10 Gen II is pod-like vehicle that runs on electricity. The yellow shuttle bus will follow a predetermined path, scooping up children from a designated pick-up area and dropping them off in front of the school. Though the

Report: Taking transit a little more makes all of us safer - Mobility Lab

Organizations in the transportation industry are obsessed with safety. When those organizations are heavily focused on cars, drivers, and highways, that makes a lot of sense. And while safety is obviously still important for people on transit and on bikes and feet, unless cars get in those people’s way, those people are largely extremely safe. Still, it’s not surprising that so many people have a fear or concern when they hear their loved ones are preparing to walk or bike somewhere. Transportation organizations largely feed that perception with an endless barrage of mindless safety messages. Their time and money would be much better spent on actually inspiring people to take transit or try

The Global Mass Transit Revolution - City Lab

The world is building mass transit networks faster than ever before, and ridership is increasing to match. But the United States continues to lag behind both Asia and Europe in mass transit. New York is the only North American city to rank among the global top-ten busiest transit systems. That’s according to a new report published by UITP, the International Association of Public Transport, which takes a close look at mass transit systems in 182 cities across the world. It defines transit systems or “metro networks” as “high capacity urban rail systems, running on an exclusive right-of-way” that hold at least 100 passengers per train. Urban mass transit systems have exploded in recent decades

Yes, being surrounded by other people is a strength of public transportation - Mobility Lab

The sociologist Richard Sennet describes cities as “places where strangers meet.” This defines the city both as larger than a village or neighborhood (where you might know or recognize everyone), but it excludes many of the areas that Americans label “cities.” Even if these “cities” have the mass of people necessary for there to be strangers, there are precious few places where one can encounter someone you don’t already know. In a car-centric city, a worker can go straight to her car from her home’s connected garage and have no contact with any other city dweller until she arrives at the office. Of course, the streets are teeming with people, but everyone is insulated and separated from one

Automated bus lane enforcement is more effective than police, among other findings

Bus-only lanes are one of the most effective ways to improve bus service. However, they do no good if constantly impinged on by traffic, as happened with Washington, DC’s recent experiment with a priority bus lane to replace a shut-down portion of Metrorail. This largely failed when “parked cars freely blocked the right of way” while trucks “weaved in and out of traffic” according to the Washington Post. The good news: enforcement is relatively easy and at little cost. We just have to actually do it. A 2017 report from the National Capital Region Planning Board found that enforcement cameras mounted to the front of buses are the most effective tool. These cameras help levy hefty fines on peo

Cycling Is Key to Safer, Healthier, More Vital Cities - City Lab

Frustrated by the obstacles to urban cycling in North America, Melissa and Chris Bruntlett traveled with their two kids from Vancouver to the Netherlands in 2016 to take a deep five-week dive into places that do cycling better. Traversing cities in the Netherlands by bike, they found that cycling is not just a better way to get around; when done right, it leads to healthier, safer, more vibrant, more family-friendly communities. They wrote it all up in their new book, Building the Cycling City: The Dutch Blueprint for Urban Vitality, which provides a guide for cities and communities that want to do cycling right, and for urban cyclists and families who want to learn the keys to cycling as a

France’s High-Speed Rail Expansion Takes a New Direction - CityLab

France’s high-speed rail network is about to get a massive expansion. On Tuesday, the government of President Emmanuel Macron announced a €13.4 billion ($15.5 billion) injection of funds into the high-speed TGV network, with work due to be staggered over the next decade. This increase of 44 percent on the previous government’s investments will deliver five new high-speed links, connections that have long been suggested and now have their funds confirmed and first steps agreed to. The new links will connect fresh destinations at a maximum speed of up to 173.5 miles (279.3 kilometers) per hour, and their locations reveal a clear new sense of direction. Of the five links, only one connects dir

The big timeline of Uber’s 2 years of testing self-driving cars in Pittsburgh - The Incline

Two years ago, reporters from across the country flocked to Pittsburgh for two days of secretive media briefings on a new pilot program from Uber. The company had opened its Advanced Technologies Group here the previous year and was already testing autonomous cars on Pittsburgh streets. But two years ago Friday, Uber started allowing ride share users to be picked up and dropped off in its self-driving cars. While Uber wasn’t the first autonomous vehicle tester in Pittsburgh — or the latest one — the company has been the most visible, both on the streets and in headlines. But Uber paused testing for nearly four months this year after a fatal crash in Arizona, effectively ending the pilot prog

The Motor City’s New Transportation Plan is a Breath of Fresh Air - StreetsBlog

The Motor City might have to change its nickname. Detroit’s new five-year transportation plan [PDF] calls for a network of protected bike lanes on the city’s wide streets, intersection signals that give more time to pedestrians, and traffic calming measures such as speed bumps in residential areas and school zones “The goal isn’t just to deliver better projects, but to build a better city, one where Detroiters’ opportunities are not limited by their choices for getting around,” Janette Sadik-Khan, the former NYC DOT Commissioner who created the plan with Bloomberg Associates, told Curbed. Getting around has long been a problem in the city built for — and by — the automobile. Detroit has the

6abc's Tamala Edwards recognizes Main Line Health, Vanguard and others as TDM Advocates

King of Prussia, PA - The Greater Philadelphia region has over four million people living and working throughout it which can lead to congestion and poor air quality if everyone drove alone. Thankfully the region has many TDM advocates who are working with GVF, a non-profit regional transportation association, who partners with local private and public sectors to combat these challenges through Transportation Demand Management (TDM). Transportation Demand Management (TDM) are strategies that aim to reduce congestion, improve the environment and our quality of life. Examples of TDM include using different modes like a bus, bike or walking. It looks at the current design of our neighborhoods s

Study: Rail should make it easier for riders to telework - Mobility Lab

A new study from the United Kingdom found that the ability to multitask attracts riders to intercity and commuter rail more than we had thought. A survey of commuters on two Chiltern Railway lines – one going between London and Birmingham, and the other between London and a suburban town – found that more than half of commuters on the former line and just under a quarter on the latter considered their train ride to be productive time. Stable WiFi access was integral for riders to work on the train. Twenty percent of passengers on the intercity line listed free WiFi as the “main reason to travel by train; connectivity coupled with time use makes rail travel attractive,” according to researche

Bird flooded cities with electric scooters, and now it wants to help them better manage the influx -

Bird released a new set of tools for cities that are struggling to manage the influx of shareable electric scooters flooding their streets — a phenomenon that the Venice, California-based startup helped create almost a year ago. The tools, which Bird calls its “GovTech Platform,” are intended to assist cities in better integrating e-scooters into their overall transportation networks, the company says. But it will only be applicable to Bird’s scooters, not those from other companies. The GovTech Platform includes a data dashboard for cities to track how its citizens are using electric scooters, as well as geofencing capabilities to prevent users from using or parking scooters in certain area

Driverless Tram Will Get Debut Spin in Berlin - Next City

Driverless Light Rail Vehicle to Make Demonstration Run in Potsdam This Month Driverless rapid transit trains have been around for decades. But driverless streetcars, like driverless cars, remain a technology in development. And now, as has been taking place for a little while with driverless cars and buses, the technology has advanced to the point where it’s ready for some real-world testing. The International Railway Journal reports that railcar manufacturer Siemens and the transit authority of Potsdam, Germany, will put an autonomous light rail vehicle (LRV) through its paces on a four-day demonstration run during InnoTrans, the biennial international transportation technology trade fair

Austin’s transit marketing focused on “fun” trips instead of commuting (and it worked) - Mobility La

It’s one thing to provide a new transit service, and another to get people to use it. Last year, Austin, Texas launched two express bus routes with a new marketing campaign Starting in late 2016, the campaign stemmed decreasing ridership, preparing the way for an entirely redesigned bus network in 2018. The results were unusually good: a 38 percent increase in weekday riders and – surprisingly – an 85 percent increase in weekend riders, according to Austin’s Capital Metro. MetroRapid (the two express routes) “crosses the heart of Austin,” Cynthia Lucas, Marketing Director at Capital Metro, told me earlier this month. Buses arrive every 10 minutes, and service extends to 2:30 a.m. weekends, m

Here are the three best public transit apps - Mobility Lab

Deciphering your transit agency’s schedule, posted on faded paper at the bus stop, is both difficult and futile: even if you decipher its Java Code-esque contents, the bus probably isn’t adhering exactly to the schedule, anyway. Luckily, we live in an age where data scientists and designers try to solve these problems. The result is gorgeous transit navigation apps. In 2015 we published an article recommending the best apps for riders. Things have changed a lot since then, so we updated our recommendations (based on a very intense Excel spreadsheet comparing their different features). Using these apps is super easy: the apps use your location to give you real-time arrival information for nea


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