Posts Tagged ‘Transport’

Transport planning: Inclusive Design for Getting Outdoors


The latest publication by Inclusive Design for Getting Outdoors (I’DGO), ‘Why does the outdoor environment matter?’, has been added to the online Transport Advice Portal (TAP), a paper-free technical library available for everyone involved in planning, designing and operating road networks.

The four-page booklet summarises findings from both phases of the I’DGO project on older people’s mobility and well-being, and provides key messages for policy makers and professionals, including those working in highways and transportation.

I’DGO is a research project focused on identifying the most effective ways of shaping outdoor environments inclusively. It is run by three academic research centres in Edinburgh, Warwick and Salford, working as a multidisciplinary consortium, supported by partners in industry, government and advocacy.


Traffic management and reinventing wheels



At Ecobuild Michael Sorkin talked about designing new cities in the US and in China, where walking radiuses of 10 minutes were being used as a defining characteristic of a healthy and sustainable neighbourhoods.

Elsewhere, Will Self keeps up his ‘psychogeography’ campaign, extolling the benefits and radicalism of travelling by foot:

We understand that to walk the city and its environs is, in a very powerful sense, to use it. The contemporary flâneur is by nature and inclination a democratising force who seeks equality of access, freedom of movement and the dissolution of corporate and state control.

Meanwhile, the economics of having to transport people and goods, and the small matter of pedestrian safety keep other discussions down to earth. (more…)

Costing the benefits of green infrastructure

King’s Cross Canal - law_keven on Flickr

King’s Cross Canal - law_keven on Flickr

Mark Smulian on Planning Resource argues that ‘a lack of political commitment and a shortage of green skills are pushing urban landscaping down the pecking order despite the potential benefits it offers for improving local quality of life.’

He links into CABE’s Grey to Green campaign which wants to see skills and funding shift from grey infrastructure – think roads – to green infrastructure – think parks, gardens, allotments and green roofs.

He also notes the PricewaterhouseCoopers survey which found that councils spend, on average, 4.3% of their budgets on green infrastructure. Increasing this a little could have a noticeable impact on other areas of concern / expenditure, including local air quality, climate change and health.

The hardy amongst you might like to look-up a recent Dutch research report – Morbidity is related to a green living environment.

The researchers looked at the morbidity data of 195 general practitioners in 96 Dutch practices, serving a population of 345,143 people, and the percentage of green space within a 1km radius of each household.

The results were quite clear. After stripping out demographic and socio-economic factors, the ‘annual prevalence rate of 15 of the 24 disease clusters was lower in living environments with more green space in a 1 km radius.’

The study stresses the importance of green space close to home for children and lower socio-economic groups.

For more on green infrastructure try Brice Maryman’s and Nate Cormier’s Green Infrastructure Wiki.

I sourced the Oakland County (Michigan, USA) Green Infrastructure Program from there. It’s particularly strong on the economic benefits of the programme, and what they term the ‘visioning process’.

Oakland County’s Green Infrastructure Program focuses on identifying an interconnected network of green space that conserves natural ecosystem values and functions, guides sustainable development, and provides associated economic and quality-of-life benefits to our communities.

Sustainable Cities – ‘Preparing towns and cities for a changing climate’ – is also a good place to look for the UK perspective.

It’s strong on the benefits – quality of life, healthier residents, stronger local economy, protection from climate change.

And it also provides examples of best practice. There’s Manchester’s Green Streets project that is planting street trees in areas of socio-economic deprivation where there is currently little green cover. Whilst Sutcliffe Park in London is an example of a new floodplain, engineered to protect Lewisham from flooding and introduce more green space into the area.

Elevating public transport

Tokyo Monorail - OiMax on Flickr

Tokyo Monorail - OiMax on Flickr

If streets are too crowded then maybe the log-jams can be avoided with alternative forms of public transport.

Steven Dale writes on the history of cable-propelled transit in New York and suggests it is a cost-effective method of crossing rivers and reaching airports.

The Gondola Project, with which Dale is also involved, describes itself as ‘a cable-propelled transit primer.’

In the UK urban cable transit or monorails haven’t got off the ground, so to speak.

There was the caterpillar monorail at the Gateshead Garden Festival. And Robert Kirkman’s plan to link the Millennium Dome and West Greenwich from the end of the 1990s. Whilst more recently there was a proposal to build a cable car link over the Thames between Thamesmead and Beckton.

However, urban monorails and gondola systems have been successfully implemented as part of public transport strategies in several cities around the world.

The Tokyo Monorail was opened in 1964 and currently handles 127,000 passengers per day.

And there’s these as well:
Skyrail Midorizaka Line, Japan
Chongqing Metro, China
Metro Monorail, Sydney
Las Vegas Monorail, USA

Urban technology forecast


Five predictions about urban technology changes in the next five years, from IBM’s Next 5 in 5 review.

  1. Cities will have healthier immune systems
  2. City buildings will sense and respond like living organisms
  3. Cars and city buses will run on empty
  4. Smarter systems will quench cities’ thirst for water and save energy
  5. Cities will respond to a crisis—even before receiving an emergency phone call

ESI references:

What makes a street a successful public space?

Buchanan Street, Glasgow

Buchanan Street - Glasgow - dalbera on Flickr

Project for Public Spaces is an American ‘nonprofit organisation dedicated to helping people create and sustain public places that build communities.’

They’ve an interesting piece entitled ‘9 Great Streets Around the World’ that explores what it is that makes some streets successful, multifunctional public spaces that people can both use and enjoy.

Camden High Road in London is noted for its success as a commercial street, and Buchanan Street in Glasgow as a pedestrian street.

There are other examples from North America, mainland Europe and Australia.

ESI references:

Cycling in London (at a price)


Transport for London will be launching a chargeable bike-hire scheme in 2010 reports that:

‘Transport for London also announced that more than a quarter of the intended 400 cycle docking station sites have already received planning permission. The scheme should see 6,000 hire bikes spread over London’s zone one travel area.’

ESI references: