Crossing timezones: How micromobility will find its way
- 2019-07-18 05:00
- Richard Butter, Intertraffic
Intertraffic organizes five editions for our community of mobility stakeholders across the globe. Therefore the Intertraffic team is always in search of the newest developments and innovations. Together we speed up the mobility transition. In ‘Crossing timezones’ we follow one of the Intertraffic team members on their trip. Find out which new mobility innovations they pick up worldwide. In this edition Richard Butter checks out the newest developments at Velo-City in Dublin.
‘When it comes to cycling the Netherlands would be the first country to go to. Don’t we just love to cycle. I myself even enjoy a cycling holiday. 27% of the trips made in the Netherlands are by bicycle. We pedal 15,5 billion km per year and we have 1,3 bicycle per person. It is therefore not surprisingly that our infrastructure is cycle friendly with 37.000 km of cycle paths. Nonetheless the chances getting into an accident with or as a cyclist are quite high. In 2015 it was reported that 185 people died due to a bicycle accident. Even though we know the benefits of cycling, we still need to improve our safety.’
‘But where do we start? Since July it is no longer allowed to use Whatsapp while cycling in the Netherlands. Other questions that arise: Should we wear a helmet? Or should cities become (even) more cyclist friendly? And what about the delivery of goods on a bike? Even though the Netherlands might be the first cyclist country you would think of, I strongly believe we can still learn from other regions. Especially and maybe even more so from those places where there is no cyclist path at all. I like to broaden my perspective and visit international congresses like Velo-City in Dublin last June, the world’s largest conference in the area of cycling, cycling infrastructure and bicycle safety. This edition’s theme was Cycling for the ages. How do we encourage cycling from young to old, male and female, all demographics and what will cycling look like in the (near) future?’
‘Intertraffic is constantly moving forward. Together we want to speed up the mobility transition. Infrastructure, road safety, smart mobility, parking and traffic management will remain our foremost themes for the upcoming years. Since cities are growing and more people commute, it is important to improve urban mobility and smart infrastructure. With bigger challenges like congestion, public transport services and parking we can see that micromobility is becoming more popular every day, to which Intertraffic will pay more attention. Billions and billions have been invested in the new segment which offers good opportunities for startups in electric scooters and electric bicycles.'
‘And the playing field for Intertraffic is no longer only about people going from A to B, but also about logistics. I sometimes wonder how companies like Amazon have affected the way that we move around our cities. Research of Capgemini shows that more and more people receive deliveries from grocery retailers at least once a week. The last-mile delivery seems to influence large part of their experience. Almost three-fourths of the consumers are willing to reward retailers who get the last-mile delivery right with increased spend and loyalty. However, the last-mile delivery is the most expensive part of the supply chain. So how are retailers going to improve their last-mile experience without losing too much profit while using safe and sustainable modalities? In a smart way.’
‘Amazon’s continuous efforts to make product deliveries in the fastest possible time make it a logistics pro, not just a leader in the retail industry. What interested me at Velo-City was to do research on how the cyclist or the upcoming cargo bike moves within the traffic system taking into account other modalities such as (autonomous) cars and public transport. Even though more urban governments acknowledge the benefits of micromobility when it comes to congestion and pollution, safety measures and infrastructure need to be updated. In order to do that, we need the correct interfaces that measure distances, the value of travel time of all traffic modules combined, for both people and cargo. The European research project “MoTiV” uses GPS tracking and crowdsourced data not only focused on motorized transport. Metrocount, exhibitor at Intertraffic Mexico City, uses piezoelectric strips and pneumatic tubing to monitor bike lanes and shared paths. And SWARCO offers a variety of technical solutions for the detection and priority of cyclists at signalled intersections.’
‘All modalities agree that safe and sustainable are the major trends at the moment. Cooperation between the modalities and making optimum use of the technological possibilities will make seamless mobility possible. One other part of Velo-City that I really enjoyed was the extensive creative art programme that Dublin shows to promote cycling as a mode of transport. In the Series of cycling artwork in Dublin City cycling related artwork is being displayed on traffic boxes around the city. Creativity will help us find the best solutions to improve our urban mobility challenges. I look forward to make the best use of every modality combining strengths within the Intertraffic community. Let us be inspired.’
My three takeaways from Velo-City Dublin:
- Micromobility has a lot to offer, but we need to improve safety measures and policies
- More interesting interfaces need to be developed to monitor cyclists as part of traffic
- We need to network and combine our strengths and experiences