Mobility

Bicibox: Solving the bike parking problem

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yikjgJnFfTM&context=C435488dADvjVQa1PpcFOJ1wVZFRcV3UIjBc0ZpSVdJIgPEPvH2Zs=] As a commuter cyclist, I'm used to getting questions from people who are interested in the practicality of biking to work or school: What clothes do you wear? How do you carry all of your stuff? How do you keep your bike from getting stolen? This last one is a question that is hard to answer simply, since no lock is 100% theft-proof. Finding decent bike parking can be a problem as well. Depending on your city, it may be hard to find a secure place to park a bike because racks are nonexistent or inconvenient, forcing cyclists to lock to less secure signposts, parking meters, or street trees.

Unfortunately, studies have shown that these problems surrounding bike parking are some of the major reasons that more people don't travel by bike. Even just the fear of theft may deter many people from bike commuting. This makes the lack of secure bike parking in our cities not just an inconvenience, but a serious hindrance to citywide mobility. While some cities have started to install secure bike parking pods at transit stations and other high activity locations, in many areas the current options still leave much to be desired. But some cities, such as Barcelona with its Bicibox project, are working to change that.

Bicibox is a secure, modular bicycle parking system that is designed to offer safe and convenient bike parking options throughout the city. Smaller Bicibox stations provide 7 bicycle storage spots and take up about the same amount of space as a single on-street car parking spot, while larger stations provide 14 spots. The stations are divided into individual parking boxes, each fully covered by secure sliding doors so that bikes are shielded from weather and risk of theft. Each station is also equipped with an energy efficient console and card swipe system to access a bicycle parking space. The creators of Bicibox plan to offer pay-per-use stations in the future, but as of now cyclists may access any Bicibox station by signing up as members on an annual flat rate basis.

What I love most about this solution is that it provides so much more than just safe bicycle parking. Like the latest generation of bike share systems, Bicibox stations are fully networked and provide real-time information on parking space availability to users. Cyclists can use the system's website or the Bicibox mobile app to check for open spots and may search by destination to find the nearest station.  By making bike parking convenient, secure, easy to locate, and abundant, innovations like Bicibox make cycling an option for many people who may have otherwise found it infeasible. Eliminating the parking-related barriers to bicycling can go a long way towards promoting better mobility and access to alternative transportation options in our cities.

~ Allison Bullock

Keeping Road Surfaces in top condition - Guadalajara wants your solutions!

Guadalajara (Mexico) is investing to secure the sustainability and longevity of its road surfaces and invites companies worldwide to submit their solutions before 17th February to the Living Labs Global Award 2012.

Submissions are free of charge and the winner of the Guadalajara category will be invited to pilot its solutions in this city with full support from local stakeholders to evaluate the solution before a full-scale roll-out.

In last year’s edition, Urbiotica, for example managed to see a pilot implementation of its Smart Waste Sensors in Barcelona after winning the Living Labs Global Award 2010.

Guadalajara is seeking new solutions to improve management and financing of materials and labor to keep the streets and avenues of the city in best possible conditions for the circulation of over 1.5 million private, public and commercial vehicles. The city also aims to create a collaborative environment between suppliers, citizens and government to make the pavement challenge part of the culture of the city as well as of the day-to-day lives of its citizens (more information here).

How to submit:

Entries can be submitted online until 17th February.

International juries will evaluate the entries and provide a shortlist of the top 100 showcases on 5th March. Winners will be announced on 2nd May 2012 at the Award Ceremony during the networking Rio Summit on Service Innovation in Cities, for which all participants are invited.

 

About the Living Labs Global Award 2012:

Living Labs Global, a non-profit association promoting innovative solutions in cities around the world, is organising the 2012 edition of the Living Labs Global Award in cooperation with the cities of Barcelona, Birmingham, Caceres, Cape Town, Coventry, Derry~Londonderry, Eindhoven, Fukuoka, Glasgow, Guadalajara, Hamburg, Lagos, Lavasa, Kristiansand, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Rome-Lazio, San Francisco, Sant Cugat, Santiago de Chile and Terrassa.

Together with these 21 cities, the Living Labs Global Award 2012 aims to provide a market opportunity to innovative solutions with the aim of helping over 110 million citizens in the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe.

 

For more information please contact Living Labs Global office in Spain:

Email: media@livinglabs-global.com / Tel.: 0034 93 1855110

www.llga.org Twitter: @LivingLabsAward Facebook: www.facebook.com/llga2012

Could it be easier to live without a car than with?

If you’re living car-free, you probably already know the answer to that question. If you live in one of the select cities where development is dense, urban spaces are interesting and inviting, and streets are places rather than empty spaces, then your answer is almost certainly a resounding ‘yes.’

Quebec City

A friend passed along this series of posts about “traditional cities” versus “hypertrophic cities,” and the implications each have for a car-free (and, he argues, a generally pleasant) lifestyle. He further classifies hypertrophic cities into 19th and 20th Century versions – 19th Century hypertrophic cities grew as a result of the Industrial Revolution, when technology advanced quickly but travel speeds were not at all near what we have today. Twentieth Century hypertrophic cities grew at an alarmingly fast rate, with the provision of interstate highways, fast and comfortable cars, cheap fuel, and a vision of The Future City that prioritized the machine elements of a city rather than human ones. Traditional cities (like Venice, Tallin, older parts of Kyoto) have a couple key characteristics; the most revealing according to Nathan Lewis are narrow streets. These have two effects: they make driving difficult and they make walking appealing. Today, in our 20th Century hypertrophic cities, we are trying to grapple with the discrepancy between these inviting places and the hostile environments created through prioritizing non-human elements.

Perhaps the metric of success we should use is whether or not it becomes easier, after retrofitting and changing future growth scenarios, to live in our cities without a car than with. Do citizens have more access to jobs, to amenities, to health care, to activities by walking, biking, or taking mass transit than by driving? Several strategies are being used to achieve this (e.g. limiting parking, pricing driving in downtowns). Do you think our cities are retrofit-able? In what other ways can we conceive of these “narrow streets?”

-          Terra Curtis 

Smart and Sustainable Mobility for the UK and Eindhoven

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQnbh3Vvsys&w=440&h=253] Our congratulations are extended to colleagues at Active eConcept, who have just expanded the implementation of their sustainable mobility solution to Smart Homes in Eindhoven and the Boroughs of Southend-on-Sea in the UK.

Active eConcept, which we feature in our Showcase, develops electric bicycle mobility plans for cities and businesses.  In addition to planning a specialized solution for each of its clients, Active eConcept provides a cost-benefit analysis of all of the plan’s components so the client can see how they will save money by providing more sustainable transportation options. Smart Homes in Eindhoven, an assisted living facility for the  physically- and mentally-handicapped will be using Active eConcept’s solution to provide residents with electronic and smart devices that improve quality of life and prevent residents from unnecessary health risks.

After inviting Active eConcept to the UK to develop ideas for sustainable transportation there, Southend-on-Sea will also begin working with the team over the next 6 months.  The first steps will be to meet with interested companies and local partners who will implement and maintain the solutions locally.

Living Labs Global is always encouraged to see smart and sustainable innovative urban solutions come to fruition.  Congratulations!

- Terra Curtis

 

State of Cities' Ideas

MindMixer, who we have covered on this blog before, is a community engagement tool that markets itself as a “virtual town hall service.”  It is meant to extend the reach of governments’ public engagement campaigns by making it easier for citizens to provide input, insights, and feedback.  They’ve deployed their solution in cities as diverse as Burbank, California; Omaha, Nebraska; and Flagstaff, Arizona on topics such as transportation, budget, and master plans. A few months ago, the company pulled together all the ideas submitted by citizens in every city using their solution.  They divided the ideas into 10 categories:

(1)    Mobility

(2)    Services

(3)    Sustainability

(4)    Health

(5)    Infrastructure

(6)    Government 2.0

(7)    Safety

(8)    Housing

(9)    Parks

(10)Urban Design

Within each category, they highlighted the number of citizen ideas that relate to that category.  For example, the Mobility category most commonly included ideas on bicycles, mass transit, pedestrians, parking, and car access (in that order). State_of_Cities_Ideas

By far, Urban Design and Mobility were the two most common categories of ideas that citizens were concerned with.  Housing, Sustainability, and Government 2.0 were in the second tier.  The remaining categories (Safety, Parks, Infrastructure, Health, and Services) all received relatively little attention.

This may be surprising given news media’s frequent exaggerating of safety issues, health, and the U.S.’s crumbling infrastructure.  However, the responses seem to reflect the population that is  most likely using a solution like this – those who have access to a computer, who trust participating in an online forum, who are confident in articulating their ideas.  It seems likely that this population is younger, perhaps more likely to live in the urban center areas of these cities with access to transit and shorter bicycling and walking distances, and who perhaps have more sensibility about urban design issues due to their daily environment.

Given these results, it appears that the challenges of expanding this solution to a more diverse population still exist.  Nonetheless, it’s a great infographic that not only conveys what people are talking about but also that people are willing and able to engage in this type of public participation process.

- Terra Curtis

 

Mobility and Access in Mexico

IMG_4856 Transportation planners often talk about mobility and accessibility.  Mobility is the concept of being able to move freely from point to point, while accessibility reflects the set of possible destinations within reasonable reach.  The two are not necessarily complementary, as downtown Manhattan offers high accessibility with low mobility (congestion), while rural Maine downtowns offer much lower accessibility but high mobility.

I recently returned from a 10-day trip around three states of Mexico: Quintana Roo, Yucatán, and Campeche.  This area of Mexico has a few large cities (including Mérida, Campeche city, and Cancún) but is mostly home to smaller cities of thirty- to fifty-thousand residents and much smaller Mayan villages.  One remarkable facet of travel here is how mobile one can be – buses within cities and between cities are plentiful, frequent, and many are very low-cost.  Aside from buses, Mexicans take advantage of many other forms of transport as well – bicycles, tricitaxis (half-motorcycle, half-utility bicycle), and colectivos (taxi vans that charge a low per-person fare to travel between popular origins and destinations) – many of which are foreign to Americans and, if found in our cities, would be more likely to be considered novelties than real transportation solutions.  But, in an area where sprawling development is a relatively new thing, older and denser cities allow for this type of mobility. I found accessibility to be high as well, particularly in the cities located at intersection points of several transportation corridors.  Smaller Mayan villages tended to be located along single roads and would offer small local businesses, such as taquerias, a school, and almost always a church.  Bigger cities offered all types of businesses, from shoe repair shops to groceries, hospitals, fish, meat and produce markets, and lawyers’ and doctors’ offices.  What makes these cities different from American cities (among other things) is how intermingled these commercial establishments are with residences.  Mexico has very few zoning laws, allowing for mixed land uses of this type and increased accessibility.

As Mexico continues to develop, a major challenge will be to maintain its mobility and accessibility – more people means more congestion on tiny, old urban streets.  The contrast was highlighted for me on a bus ride arriving to Mérida from Cancún.  Across much of the peninsula, traffic was low and travel speeds were high; however, upon arrival in Mérida we immediately slowed to a crawl on narrow, two-lane, one-way streets among bikers, scooters, taxis, colectivos, city buses and several personal automobiles.  We walked the distance later in almost the same time.  And, as a pedestrian on these streets, the air quality was noticeably poor, thick with exhaust fumes.

I think we stand to learn a lot from developing countries’ transportation systems.  Implementing these ideas would require adaptation to developed countries’ established systems; however the ideas – of less fossil-fuel-dependent and more communal-based travel systems – are entirely relevant.  Mexico should also learn from the US and other developed countries, while maintaining the accessibility they have allowed.  Short term increases in mobility through private auto ownership only lead to long term decreases in mobility.

-Terra Curtis

Mobility and Access in Mexico

IMG_4856 Transportation planners often talk about mobility and accessibility.  Mobility is the concept of being able to move freely from point to point, while accessibility reflects the set of possible destinations within reasonable reach.  The two are not necessarily complementary, as downtown Manhattan offers high accessibility with low mobility (congestion), while rural Maine downtowns offer much lower accessibility but high mobility.

I recently returned from a 10-day trip around three states of Mexico: Quintana Roo, Yucatán, and Campeche.  This area of Mexico has a few large cities (including Mérida, Campeche city, and Cancún) but is mostly home to smaller cities of thirty- to fifty-thousand residents and much smaller Mayan villages.  One remarkable facet of travel here is how mobile one can be – buses within cities and between cities are plentiful, frequent, and many are very low-cost.  Aside from buses, Mexicans take advantage of many other forms of transport as well – bicycles, tricitaxis (half-motorcycle, half-utility bicycle), and colectivos (taxi vans that charge a low per-person fare to travel between popular origins and destinations) – many of which are foreign to Americans and, if found in our cities, would be more likely to be considered novelties than real transportation solutions.  But, in an area where sprawling development is a relatively new thing, older and denser cities allow for this type of mobility. I found accessibility to be high as well, particularly in the cities located at intersection points of several transportation corridors.  Smaller Mayan villages tended to be located along single roads and would offer small local businesses, such as taquerias, a school, and almost always a church.  Bigger cities offered all types of businesses, from shoe repair shops to groceries, hospitals, fish, meat and produce markets, and lawyers’ and doctors’ offices.  What makes these cities different from American cities (among other things) is how intermingled these commercial establishments are with residences.  Mexico has very few zoning laws, allowing for mixed land uses of this type and increased accessibility.

As Mexico continues to develop, a major challenge will be to maintain its mobility and accessibility – more people means more congestion on tiny, old urban streets.  The contrast was highlighted for me on a bus ride arriving to Mérida from Cancún.  Across much of the peninsula, traffic was low and travel speeds were high; however, upon arrival in Mérida we immediately slowed to a crawl on narrow, two-lane, one-way streets among bikers, scooters, taxis, colectivos, city buses and several personal automobiles.  We walked the distance later in almost the same time.  And, as a pedestrian on these streets, the air quality was noticeably poor, thick with exhaust fumes.

I think we stand to learn a lot from developing countries’ transportation systems.  Implementing these ideas would require adaptation to developed countries’ established systems; however the ideas – of less fossil-fuel-dependent and more communal-based travel systems – are entirely relevant.  Mexico should also learn from the US and other developed countries, while maintaining the accessibility they have allowed.  Short term increases in mobility through private auto ownership only lead to long term decreases in mobility.

-Terra Curtis

Shortlist Copenhagen Future Bike Pilot

On behalf of the City of Copenhagen, we would hereby like to inform you about the 6 Showcases that have been shortlisted in the Future Biking pilot call. To learn more about each Showcase, just follow the respective link.

Billy Bike in Copenhagen Stockholm Sweden
City Supported Community Bicycle Shop Austin USA
eMobility Management Tool Eindhoven The Netherlands
HOME TOWN Athens Greece
Little Bicycle-Sheds - Fahrradhaeuschen Hamburg Germany
Wikiloc Urban Routes Girona Spain

Evaluators at the City of Copenhagen has been impressed with the high level of quality and innovation of the 37 submitted pilots from 17 countries in Europe, Asia and North America and will seek to stay in contact with many of the other inspiring Showcases to see how these might fit into the future strategy of the city and relevant activities. The ideal forum to follow up will naturally be the “Copenhagen | Barcelona | Kaohsiung Summit on Service Innovation in Cities” on November 25th where the relevant decision-makers, led by Health Mayor Ninna Thomsen and Andreas Roehl, director of the bicycle programme will be available to pick up the discussion.

Full details will be published shortly!

Shortlist Copenhagen Future Bike Pilot

On behalf of the City of Copenhagen, we would hereby like to inform you about the 6 Showcases that have been shortlisted in the Future Biking pilot call. To learn more about each Showcase, just follow the respective link.

Billy Bike in Copenhagen Stockholm Sweden
City Supported Community Bicycle Shop Austin USA
eMobility Management Tool Eindhoven The Netherlands
HOME TOWN Athens Greece
Little Bicycle-Sheds - Fahrradhaeuschen Hamburg Germany
Wikiloc Urban Routes Girona Spain

Evaluators at the City of Copenhagen has been impressed with the high level of quality and innovation of the 37 submitted pilots from 17 countries in Europe, Asia and North America and will seek to stay in contact with many of the other inspiring Showcases to see how these might fit into the future strategy of the city and relevant activities. The ideal forum to follow up will naturally be the “Copenhagen | Barcelona | Kaohsiung Summit on Service Innovation in Cities” on November 25th where the relevant decision-makers, led by Health Mayor Ninna Thomsen and Andreas Roehl, director of the bicycle programme will be available to pick up the discussion.

Full details will be published shortly!

Future of Biking: Copenhagen Calls for Innovations

Copenhagen has one of the world’s most ambitious local climate policies, striving to become a zero-emission community by the year 2025. To achieve this commitment, the city already has put several measures and lines of investment into motion, actively collaborating with companies and technology experts. Together with Living Labs Global, the City of Copenhagen invites innovators, researchers and companies to present innovative mobility solutions that help to achieve the goal of integrating Bicycles fully into a new intelligent and integrated transport system for the city. Already today, more than 55% of residents in Copenhagen use the bicycle daily, creating opportunities for new applications of IT in entertainment and safety, but also to address the several barriers that continue to exist between the excellent public transport system and bicycle uses.

Call for Pilots: The future of biking in Copenhagen.

As a result, Copenhagen is inviting companies and organisations from around the world to present their solutions for a pilot this autumn (deadline 31st of August) to evaluate impact of new systems, policies, technologies or planning tools to achieve the goal of an attractive and fully integrated inter-modal transport system, incorporating the large percentage of bicycle usage.

Solutions can address, but do not need to be limited to, the following challenges:

  • Can bike paths be smarter and indicate dangers such as frost, indicate congestion or incorporate sensors to monitor activities and respond to usage needs and link to traffic light systems offering green waves for cyclists?
  • Can technology in bicycles such as health sensors, location information, theft protection, entertainment and fitness monitors be applied for entertainment, wellbeing, security and other purposes?
  • Can mobile services link bicycles and riders to social networks, provide news and updates, to pre-book bikes or reserve parking, to plan routes and other activities?
  • Can we integrate bicycle rides to get to destinations with other modes of public transport to give more inter-modal options for commuters?
  • Can we improve bicycle parking around key intersections and meeting points?
  • Can the health and well-being impact of bicycles be maximised and monitored in the city?
  • How can we improve security and safety in relation to bicycles?
  • Can we invent intelligent or smarter clothing to deal with different weather conditions and at the same time integrate into daily activities?
  • Can bicycles replace "service vehicles" for craftsmen in the inner city?
  • What can Copenhagen do for bicycle tourism?

Submitting your solution for a Pilot is simple:

  • Submit or update your Showcase at www.livinglabs-global.com/showcase for free to publish a short description of your solution. Submission Deadline: August 31st 2010.
  • Choose "Apply for a pilot of my Showcase in Copenhagen in autumn 2010".
  • Answer a short application form for evaluation.
  • The City of Copenhagen and Living Labs Global will announce results by September 15th 2010. You will receive a short report on the evaluation results.
  • If successful, you will enter discussions with the City of Copenhagen on implementation of the pilot immediately after selection. Pilots should be running at the latest on November 15th 2010 and run for around 1-6 months.

Our Handbook on Innovation in Services and Mobility in Cities - "Connected Cities: Your 256 Billion Euro Dividend" - now out!

We are pleased to announce that our new Handbook on Service Innovation in Cities is now out, published by the DesignLondon at the Royal College of Art. The result of a collaborative effort involving more than 20 contributors, the book presents rich original data and serves as a resource for professionals from both public and private sectors, as well as entrepreneurs, engaged in the complex yet potentially profitable market for service innovations in cities.

You can flick through and order the book now at Amazon (UK), Amazon (US).

Mobility is not a technology, but a paradigm shift. The user, as citizen, professional, or visitor is in a state of mobility represented by the ubiquity of mobile phones in our society. Why this book asks, have highly appreciated services like mobile parking, tourism services, or solutions for the visually impaired not taken off despite the astronomical investments into digital infrastructures in the past decade? Why, have these infrastructures not had the productivity impact that the internet had on our economies, when more than 60% of the world population have access to them?

256 Billion Euro is the sum of opportunity presented in this book, following real business cases and examples of mobility and service innovations in cities. Drawing on the rich insights of Living Labs Global, the book illustrates what defines the market for mobility, neglected by many for its complexity. It logically structures the market opportunities, frustrations and successes, and actors that make or break success into a coherent call for action to fundamentally change how we deliver services in cities.
This book reveals important insights for public leaders, local politicians, service professionals in public and private organisations, entrepreneurs, technology experts, consultants and researchers interested in promoting innovation and excellence in cities today.