The road and parking infrastructure in cities and suburban areas is very expensive and, for all intents and purposes, difficult to change in a generation. Urban Planner Jeff Speck wrote Walkable City - an excellent book on different types of urban and suburban transportation infrastructure. Many people value being able to move around safely and freedom by foot or bicycle even if they don’t do it - property values in walkable areas tend to be higher than those that aren't. He points out several inexpensive changes that lower\ drive times and accident rates. At first some are counter-intuitive, but our intuition was shaped by guesses of what would work back in the 30s, 50s and 60s.
Recently he posted a video with visualizations of of a few inexpensive street hacks
A summary of a CMU study that looked at the full lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions from a variety of vehicle types. The analysis is interesting as it includes natural gas leakage...
According to a new lifecycle analysis by a team at Carnegie Mellon University, a battery electric vehicle (BEV) powered with natural gas-based electricity achieves around an average 40% lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction when compared to a conventional gasoline vehicle. Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), either with a 30- or 60-km range, when powered by natural gas electricity, have the second lowest average emissions. Both BEVs and PHEVs provide large (more than 20%) emissions reductions compared to conventional gasoline, but none of them is a dominant strategy when compared to gasoline hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), the team found.
Gaseous hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) and compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles have comparable life cycle emissions with conventional gasoline, offering limited reductions with 100-year global warming potential (GWP) yet leading to increases with 20-year GWP. Other liquid fuel pathways using natural gas—methanol, ethanol, and Fischer–Tropsch liquids—have larger GHG emissions than conventional gasoline even when carbon capture and storage technologies are available. The study is published in the ACS journal Energy & Fuels.
While Airbus figured it was being super canny in developing a plane that could carry a skyscraper-full of people – 853 in its latest configuration – the airlines themselves have begged to differ.
Airbus took a gamble an aeronautical generation ago that the biggest growth in traveller numbers would be among those wanting to fly from one major hub airport to another. The hubs would become increasingly busy as the world’s “mega cities” grew and grew, with ever rising competition for access to takeoff and landing slots. More people to bigger airports meant one requirement: bigger planes.
It got to work designing and building the hugest beast it could possibly keep in the air.
Boeing, on the other hand, predicted that while long haul would grow, people would want to fly direct to a large and growing range of new destinations. Airlines would need long haul planes that were smaller and easier to fill. Focus on making them fuel efficient, and you could still make routes profitable without cramming 800 people on every flight.
It created the mid-sized, super-light 787 Dreamliner.
Airbus’s guess proved correct in part – city populations like London, New York, Dubai have expanded hugely. Airports like Heathrow have become congested.
But, as aviation industry analyst Professor Keith Hayward says: “Boeing got it more right than Airbus.”
he history of Groningen as a bicycle city par excellence goes back to the 1970s, when a left-wing council wanted to make a change. In the 60s, the number of cars was growing rapidly and they were severely clogging up Dutch cities. The common response was to tear down old neighbourhoods and build motorways right through the centre of town. However, in Groningen, local politician Max van den Berg decided on a revolutionary policy. Van den Berg, who was 24 when he became responsible for the city’s traffic and urban development policy, dreamed of expelling cars from the centre and creating space for pedestrians and cyclists. In those days, it was totally unheard of.
“Instead of destroying old neighbourhoods, we wanted to restore them and convert them into pleasant areas for people to live in. The idea was to discourage motorised traffic and to give priority to pedestrians, bikes and public transport,” remembers Van den Berg. “All this was feasible because Groningen is a relatively small, compact city. The distances are short and can easily be covered by foot or by bike.”
When he first revealed his bold intentions, it caused fireworks in the city council. “I was accused of being a problematic administrator. I was under constant attack. Even in my own party there were people who strongly disagreed with me. But, to me, they were just lagging behind. I think it really was a clash between generations.”
In the end, the younger generation won. Four local politicians resigned saying it was impossible to work with Van den Berg. Their successors were very young and very left-wing, and they shared his vision.
The essence of Van den Berg’s traffic circulation plan, as it came to be called, was that the centre of Groningen would be divided in four sections. For motorists, it would become impossible to go from one section to the other: cars had to take the ring-road around the inner city, whereas cyclists could move freely about on new cycle paths constructed to accommodate them. Driving a car would become a time-consuming affair in the centre of Groningen. In the future, travelling by bike would be a much quicker option.
Folding bikes are an interesting commuter solution for those who lack parking space and/or use bikes for part of their commute. There are a few interesting designs, but all are compromises. While it is also a compromise, the Helix bike may work for some. I think you'd want to try one out before making a purchase this large - Kickstarters for spendy items can be risky.
A very tall friend had a special bike made to her frame.
Getting something that fit required rethinking the frame size and geometry rather than just raising the seat. A very good trick for people over 6'6 is to use a 36 inch outside diameter. A big problem is finding quality tires and wheels. A new tire has appeared. Dirty Sixer is a handbuilt American bike ..