GreenCityStreets.com now online!

GreenCityStreets.com now online!

(2019 Update) … Information from the GreenCityStreets.com website is now available on https://crowdsourced-transport.com

(Original from 2014) … The new GreenCityStreets.com website is now online and it’s much improved. I’ve made “GreenCityStreets.com” the umbrella name for all my work in the field of using information technology applications to improve public participation. Consequently I’ve described the work that was done as part of the BusMeister project in 2011 and 2012 as the BusMeister project.

The new website will present an analysis of the latest ideas in using information technology applications to improve public participation. It describes the following activities:

The website includes pages on each of these subjects (click the link) as well as blog postings with new ideas.

The website also includes links to our games (BusMeister, Grr-Grr-Bike, Working on the Railroad) and projects.

The website is still a work in progress so check back again in the future and let me know if you have suggestions or ideas. In the meantime, we hope you like the new site!

CIVITAS Forum 2013

Georges Braque - Mon Velo

Georges Braque – Mon Velo

Just returned from the CIVITAS Forum 2013 in Brest France. Great conference with lots of neat sustainable transport ideas.

LRT on pedestrian mall in centre of Brest, France (October 2013).

LRT on pedestrian mall in centre of Brest, France (October 2013).

I travelled via Paris, taking the TGV from Montparnasse to Brest and back. On my return trip I visited the wonderful Braque exhibit at the Grand Palais and was struck by his painting of his bicycle (above). It was appropriate for the trip!

Brest is a very pleasant city. Like many relatively small cities in France they have a tramway! The tram runs along a pedestrian mall through the center of the city.

We Bike prototype

Last week I participated in the Velopolis 2025: How mobile are urban societies in the future? workshop at Vienna’s MAK museum. The workshop was sponsored by the MAK and Vienna’s Departure Program. It was led by Sandra Y. Richter from the MIT Media Lab. On the first day we focused on developing scenarios for the future of urban bike transport. It was a fun and interesting way to think about the future in a structured way.

On Friday we broke into three groups and developed bike products for the future. Our group decided to develop a sort of social network for bicyclists called “We Bike”. The idea was to develop some sorts of clothing or patches that people could wear to show that they were open to being approached – in the real world – for conversation and potentially to serve as tour guides to their city. The idea also included apps and new media, but the main idea was focusing on real world connections. The video we developed is at the top of the post. (Our group: Corinna Danninger, Manuel Weilguny, Oskar V. Hanstein and me.)

The other two groups focused on developing products. One developed a cool picnic basket/seat/cargo container and the other developed a concept for using compressed air to keep you dry when riding in the rain … I wish I had that for my ride today.

It was a neat event both because we worked on bicycle ideas and because we learned some of the prototyping techniques used at the MIT Media Lab.

Vienna public involvement in transport app development

Meine Radspur Application Vienna Austria

meine-radspur is a GIS app developed in Vienna that tracks the routes used by bicyclists. Riders can indicate hazards and places that need improvements later.

I’m organising a roundtable discussion on using social applications (social networks, crowd sourced reporting, online games, wikis, and other tools) for helping improve sustainable transport.

We’ll start by identifying existing applications and then brainstorm ideas for Vienna (and beyond). If there’s interest we’ll organise a group to develop a real application or two. If you have questions or good examples to include in the presentation please contact me (andy@andynash.com).

When: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 … 18:30 – 20:30
Where: The Impact HUB Vienna, Lindengasse 56, 1070 Vienna

Please register here (free): https://sustainabletransportslot.eventbrite.com/

Good biking requires good traffic engineering

The intersection of Maria-Theresien-Strasse and Franz-Josefs-Quai in Vienna is a good example of where the streets prioritise movement of automobiles over pedestrians and bikes.

The intersection of Maria-Theresien-Strasse and Franz-Josefs-Quai in Vienna is a good example of where the streets prioritise movement of automobiles over pedestrians and bikes.

Vienna’s working hard on making the city better for biking and walking, but it’s a difficult job. There are many places, like the intersection above, where the streets and traffic signals have been designed to move traffic, bikes and pedestrians are accommodated, but not a priority. This is a situation that needs to change if the city is to be successful at making transport more sustainable and the city more liveable.

Many streets and intersections in Vienna need to be rebuilt to improve conditions for pedestrians and bikes – but this often comes at the expense of automobile traffic. That’s too bad, but the priority today must be given to pedestrians and bikes if we are to create more sustainable cities. And, the evidence from many cities is that reducing automobile traffic doesn’t hurt the economy, in fact building better bike lanes and sidewalks can actually increase business.

Making these kinds of improvements requires two things: desire and design. City transport departments must want to go from moving cars to moving people and they need good designers who understand the fine points of traffic engineering. The intersection shown above is a good example: it’s a very complicated intersection: two very busy one-way streets with a two-way tram line turning across the intersection. The traffic engineers have done a good job for cars and trams, but it’s not so good for bikes and pedestrians who have to cross between several islands with different traffic signals. Also important to note is that the intersection is on path between the Ringstrasse bike lane and the Donau Canal bike lane, so its used by many bikers.

It’s a complex problem that can’t be easily solved. But improving these types of intersections to be more bike-friendly will be critical if Vienna is to meet its goal of increasing bike use.

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