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        Showing posts with label bus. Show all posts
        Showing posts with label bus. Show all posts

        04 October 2019

        Bikes Beat Metro in Copenhagen

        Originally published on April 4, 2014

        Like anyone interested in city life, we like to keep our eyes on the street life of our city. Currently however, the City of Copenhagen is planning to take some away from the street, by forcing people underground, with the 'M3 Cityringen' expansion of the Metro. Instead of investing in the reestablishment of our tram network - so rudely removed by the ironically-named mayor Urban Hansen in the 1970s - Copenhagen seems keen to get people off the street.

        This doesn’t come cheap: €3 billion gets you an additional 17 stations added to the existing Metro network. Some of the cost can be explained by the fact that It is not easy to build a Metro in Copenhagen, a city that is on the whole scarcely above sea level, and with a dense urban fabric too.  It's due for completion in 2018, but that's later than the initial estimate and with the date still some way off who knows whether it will actually be ready by then - just ask the planners in Amsterdam, where a new metro line has been under construction since 2002 and is still not finished, although it was supposed to have been operating for several years by now. As well as that, Amsterdam's costs more than doubled from initial estimates.

        But this article is not only about the Metro extension in Copenhagen; it deals with the question of which kinds of transportation are needed to support cities in becoming more liveable. We realise that we won't be stopping the Metro, but we are keen to highlight - even years before it's finished - that it ain't "all that".

        The projections for the Metro also have an alarming statistic buried in the paperwork. Cycling levels in Copenhagen are expected to drop by an estimated 2.8%. That is a lot of cyclists we'll be losing. 

        We know what people want. We want to move fast, safe and cheap from A to B. Also, the transportation system has to be sustainable, namely environmentally friendly, at a reasonable cost to society and it should not exclude anyone.

        We decided to just test it ourselves. We were curious how the different transport modes score compared to each other and especially how the bike performs against trains, buses and the new Metro.

        What we did was simple. For some days we tracked all our journeys from our homes to the Copenhagenize office (and vice versa) or other routes with the GPS-based App Endomondo. A great app - also because it includes Cycling - Transport as an option. Not surprisingly, it's a Danish app. Sometimes we came by public transport, most often by bike.

        Since the new metro is not operating yet, we had to be a bit creative when comparing it to the bike. We built scenarios to challenge the totally unrealistic times which are published on the project website of the Metro extension. If false advertising is a thing, the Metro are guilty of it. "7 minutes from N?rrebro Runddel to Enghave Plads!", they declare, without anyone bothering to check if it's true. Until now.

        To be clear about that point: It is probably very realistic that the time you will need to spend on the metro carriage itself between the future stations N?rrebro Runddel and Enghave Plads is seven minutes. The unrealistic part about that is that nobody lives or works in those stations.

        To have a realistic Home to Work scenario with which we could compare travel times with the bicycle, we took addresses in potential residential areas in a range of less than one kilometre to a future Metro station and tracked the time it takes to walk from the address to the future station. We then added the two minutes that it takes to get down to the train and wait for it. (We actually timed this at a number of stations and worked out an average. We like details.)

        And then comes the time you actually spend in the train, followed by the fact that it will take another minute (again, on average based on our timings) to get off the Metro and reach the street level again. Lastly we added the walking time from the station to an address in a potential working area, again in a range of less than one kilometre to the Metro station. As you can imagine, a trip incorporating the journey from N?rrebro Runddel and Enghave Plads doesn't take seven minutes any more.

        Here you can see the results of our Bike vs. Metro study.  
        TIME bike vs. future metro - copie copie
        TIME bike vs. future metro - 2nd map - copie copieFor the bike trips we assumed that we were travelling at an average speed of 16kph, which is the average pace people cycle in Copenhagen. Very relaxed, without having to sweat, and doable for all cyclists. We also added two minutes to unlock, park and lock the bike. The results are impressive: in three out of five scenarios the bike is faster door to door than the Cityringen line will ever be.

        In one scenario there is a tie between Metro and bike and in only one instance is the Metro slightly faster. The longer you have to walk to and from the station (last mile) the higher are the chances that the bike will be faster. From our data we see that 700m can be seen as a threshold: if you take the metro to work and have to walk more than 700m (about 10 minutes) on the way from door to door, you almost certainly would have been faster by bike.

        We're asking why the City of Copenhagen and the Danish government put so much money into something which does not bring a significant advantage to the people in the city? We're not saying that a Metro never makes sense. There are cities where the Metro is an indispensable element in the transportation system, carrying millions of people a day, like in London, Paris or New York. But does it make sense in cities like Copenhagen or Amsterdam, where you can reach almost everything in the centre within 20 minutes on a bike?

        Of course, we understand that not everybody is able to ride a bike. And we definitely want a transport system which does not exclude anybody.

        So, where is your tram, Copenhagen?

        Imagine what a fantastic tram network we could have for €3 billion. Look at France, where new tram systems are popping up like mushrooms. Also, there would be plenty of money left to further improve the cycling infrastructure within the city. What we get now is a new line with 17 stations which runs in a circle and only connects to other lines at two points. It doesn't seem like the main effect of this project will be to make Copenhagen more liveable. The City of Copenhagen is clearly afraid of reducing car traffic. Despite the goodness in the city, they still are intent on maintaining the car-centric status quo.

        Back to the competition: What about our commuting trips we tracked? Also in those cases the bicycle is highly competitive as you can see in the graphics below.  
        TIME bike vs.bus - Map 1
        TIME bike vs.bus - Map 2 - copie copie
        On trips less than ten kilometres the bike is usually the fastest option. The longer the trips are, for example from Frederiksberg to the Airport at Kastrup or from Glostrup to the new Copenhagenize office on Papir?en (Paper Island on the Harbour), the better public transport scores. That makes sense and it is also in line with the fact that cycling drops significantly for trips longer than eight kilometres.

        But we also have to mention that we set the average speed for cyclists even on the longer commuter trips to 16kph. It can be assumed however, that commuters who cycle everyday between 10 and 15 kilometres to work are faster than that. The bicycle superhighway network for greater Copenhagen for instance is designed for an average speed of 20kph. And then, the bicycle is even very competitive up to distances around 15 kilometres.

        So, what’s the message of our short study about getting from A to B in Copenhagen? First: there's no obvious need to invest billions in mega projects if the effect is as small as in Copenhagen’s current Metro extension project. Secondly: Invest the money instead in cycling infrastructure.

        Our little experiment has shown again that the bicycle is the best mean of transport to get from A to B in a city. And thirdly: Invest in public transport solutions which cover a larger geographical area at a lower cost. Like trams or light rail.

        And lastly, you might wonder why we did not include the car in our comparison. Well, because a car wouldn't make sense at all for daily trips in a city and because only 14% of Copenhageners transport themselves by car each day. 

        09 May 2017

        Arrogance of Space - Copenhagen - Hans Christian Andersen Boulevard

        Great new data from City of Copenhagen. 62% of Copenhageners ride a bike to work or education. Only 9% drive a car.
        The City of Copenhagen released its latest mode share data yesterday and the numbers look fantastic.
        62% of residents in the City ride a bicycle daily to work or education in the city. 21% take public transport, be it bus, metro or train. Only 9% drive a car - even though car ownership is around 25%. Basically, 91% of our citizens DON'T drive a car in the city - here in one of the richest countries in the world. All good, right?

        Arrogance of Space Copenhagen
        You would think so, but even Copenhagen suffers from a serious case of Arrogance of Space. We took a section of Hans Christian Andersen Boulevard - the 1950s urban planning travesty that carves the Danish capital in two - and did a quick arrogance of space analysis.

        It's the busiest street in the Kingdom with between 50,000 - 60,000 cars a day roaring past, most of them firmly in the "parasite" category. These are not people who live in the municipality and who therefore do not pay for the road space that we provide them. There has been talk for years of burying this street and reclaiming the space it occupies. While not a bad idea - albeit an expensive one - it wouldn't remove the cars from the city, since they would pop up out of the tunnel at some point.

        As you can see on the graph, a whopping 64% of the transport space in Copenhagen is allocated to cars - both car lanes and curb parking. This is most apparent at the location we are looking at here.

        Arrogance of Space Copenhagen - Bike Infrastructure
        When we map out the space allocated for cyclists, it looks like this. There are 26,400 cyclists along the boulevard on weekdays, according to the latest count in September 2016. Add to that around 10,000 who merely cross the boulevard from the side streets. Certainly not one of the busiest bicycle streets in Copenhagen but the numbers are respectable. On the map you can see how the infrastructure is part of a cohesive network.

        Basic Urban Math - Copenhagen Style
        Here is a snapshot of one light cycle in the morning rush hour from this location.

        Arrogance of Space Copenhagen - Bus Lanes Arrogance of Space Copenhagen - Pedestrian Space
        Here are the maps for the space occupied by bus lanes or trains, at left, and the space allocated to pedestrians, including squares. The trains are not relevant for this exercise, as they disappear underground, but buses are a key transport form on this corridor. 360 of them roll past between 7 AM and 7 PM. With an average capacity of 50 passengers, that would add 18,000 people moving back and forth along this stretch. And yet there is a severe lack of dedicated space for them.

        Arrogance of Space Copenhagen - Shared Space
        Out of interest, here is a map of the "shared space". Not the classic and cute "shared space" that works in small, rural towns and residential neighbourhoods but merely parts of the transport area without separation.

        Arrogance of Space Copenhagen - Motor Vehicles
        What IS relevant is this. The amount of urban space given over to motorised vehicles. Most of it handed free to motorists who do not pay taxes in this municipality. Motorists, it is worth mentioning, already have it easy in Denmark. It's cheaper to buy a car today than during the oil crises in the 1970s and the same applies to gas, rendering the tax on cars here rather irrelevant. In addition, a resident's parking permit only costs around 750 DKK (€100) per year - despite the fact that a parking costs the city - and the taxpayers - around 50,000 DKK (€6,600).

        Arrogance of Space Copenhagen
        Here is the complete map with all the transport forms together. The Arrogance of Space is clearly visible.

        There is a total disconnect between how Copenhageners get around and how the space is divided up. This is not urban democracy on this boulevard at all. It is the same car-centric dictatorship that so many other cities in the world suffer under. Yes, it is safe to cycle along this stretch, on separated cycle tracks. But this is not transport democracy. This is not the Copenhagen that inspires so many people around the world.

        Public-Private Disconnect
        If we valued public space in an economic sense as much as we value real estate value - instead of a massive majority subsidizing the transport habits of the few, we would be much better off. Here is just one idea of how to reallocate the space more intelligently.

        We would be more rational and this city would be not only healthier and more dynamic - it would be the leader that it should be.

        See more articles about Arrogance of Space with this tag.

        05 February 2015

        World's Coolest Bus Commercials

        They've done it again. Danish M2 Film have produced a sequel to their earlier commercial for Midttrafik bus company, which did the rounds a couple of years ago. It's hilarious. Love the grumpy, old-fashioned motorist who is out of touch with reality.

        Here's the first version from 2012. The Bus is Cool. It's epic cool. Sure, in other parts of the world it gets labelled as "Loser Cruiser" but in Denmark we see it differently.

        ADDENDUM - AUGUST 2015

        The City of Edmonton has released this commercial - an almost word-for-word copy of the Danish commercials - in August 2015.

        Incidentally, back in 2012 Mary from here at Copenhagenize Design Company spoke in Bogota at an ITDP conference about Cycle Chic, marketing cycling and our work at the company. An interesting discussion arose about how it could be possible to use the cycle chic 'method' to promote public transport use. Films like these show the way.

        Then there is this viral flash mob film featuring an unsuspecting bus driver, Mukhtar Adow Mohamed, from Arriva Denmark back in 2010. It was made in connection with their "Better Bus Trip / Bedre bustur" campaign.

        Arriva also established red "Love Seats" on a number of their bus lines back in 2010. They wanted to "Shake up peoples' habits a bit and have more flirting and smiling in the bus. Maybe someone will find love. Others will maybe want to try ride the bus because they can flirt with a gorgeous guy", said Marianne F?rch from Arriva when the seats were launched.

        For more Scandinavian public transport ads, here's a Swedish one for bus passes for teenagers. Great humour. Thanks to the world's most epic Straphanger, Taras for this one.

        Sticking with Sweden like sauce on a meatball, here's another one from V?sttrafik. Making fun of car commercials. No subtitles, but it goes like this:
        "Just think... 300 horsepower..."
        "Low total cost..."
        "Be able to go where no one else can drive..."
        "And to be nicer to the environment..."
        "Test it for free for two weeks..."

        And here's a fantastic Norwegian one we posted a while back. Netbuss - Whoever You Are. Today It's cool, too. Sure, it's not for busses in urban areas, but it shows what is possible for using advertising and positive messaging to promote bus use - or anything else. Like urban cycling, trains, you name it. And we love the ironic lyrics in the song used in the video.

        15 September 2014

        LED Busstops in Copenhagen

        Photo: City of Copenhagen/Ramb?ll

        Here's a little story about some innovation soon to show up in Copenhagen. In a city with many busstops and cycle tracks, there is the question of coexistence. For a number of years, the City of Copenhagen has worked hard to establish islands at busstops for the bus passengers to use when disembarking. It really is the baseline for infrastructure and the City, by and large, prefers it over anything else. Since the City starting retrofitting busstops to provide islands, safety has increased dramatically across the city.

        In 2015, The City of Copenhagen will establish LED bus islands at certain locations where there isn't space to build a proper island. When there is no bus, there will be a green strip along the curb. When a bus rolls up, the LED light show will expand across the cycle track to indicate to all traffic users that passengers have the priority. When the bus leaves, the LED lights revert to the green strip.

        The Mayor for Traffic and Environment, Morten Kabell, said, "We know that tradtional bus islands are a good idea but don't have space everywhere for them because some streets are too narrow."

        "Therefore it will be exciting to see that if a lighted busstop can create a better sense of safety for both parties, create a better flow on the cycle track and create space for bus passengers".

        The pilot project will start next year, with a budget of $400,000.

        Bus Waiting
        This is an example of a standard bus island. The cycle track continues between the sidewalk and the island. In this instance, the law dictates that passengers have to wait for the cyclists to pass before crossing to or from the island.

        Frederiksberg Fail
        There are, however, a number of locations where space is limited. This kind of situation will be perfect for the new pilot project. In locations like this, the law dicates that the bicycle users have to stop to allow the passengers to board and disembark the bus.

        Generally, in detailed observations that Copenhagenize Design Co. have done, there is not a lot of drama at busstops. Things do get a bit tight in the rush hour, sometimes a bicycle user and a bus passenger will bump into each other. Generally, this LED solution will clearly mark out the territory for all parties involved. Many people aren't clear about the rules - or the fact that they differ between places with an island or without.

        This solution is a positive addition to the traffic equation in Copenhagen.

        29 July 2013

        Episode 03 - Intermodality - Top 10 Design Elements in Copenhagen's Bicycle Culture

        Here in Episode 03 of our series produced by über intern Ivan Conte we explore how Intermodality is a key to Copenhagen's success as a bicycle-friendly city.

        You should be able to have your bicycle with you from the moment you leave your home until you get back - all day and night long - without a hitch.

        Intermodality, when done right, is Supermodality.

        - EPISODE 08 - CARGO BIKES

        05 March 2013

        Win Win Winnipeg

        Winnipeg Cycle Track
        We were in Winnipeg, Canada late last year, for The Kickstand Sessions. One evening before the Sessions began, we walked from our hotel to a restaurant (saw two other pedestrians!) along Pembina Highway. Our host with the most, Anders Swanson, asked if we wanted to see a cycle track solution by a bus stop.

        Sorry, but when I'm in North American cities and someone wants to show me bicycle infrastructure, I've learned not to get too excited. Seen one crappy painted lane too narrow for a bicycle user to overtake another and mostly used for unenforced car parking and you've seen them all. If it's a painted on on the LEFT side of parked cars instead of along the curb, I'll politely decline and blame jetlag - that's not bicycle infrastructure, that's the work of people who shouldn't be working on bicycle infrastructure. If it's sharrows... I'd rather poke myself in the eye with a burned stick.

        Winnipeg Cycle Track Winnipeg Cycle Track
        I was pleasantly surprised when we happened upon the cycle track in question. A decent width - not Best Practice but better than other stuff I've seen around the world. Running along the curb. And there was the bus stop. Who knew? Right there in Winnipeg, Manitoba was a cycle track that skirted around a bus stop island. I felt like I was at home in Copenhagen.

        What is this place? This Winnipeg? What on earth possessed the engineer responsible to be inspired by established best practice instead of the last-century, car-centric "guidelines" for bicycle "infrastructure" written by people who couldn't bicycle plan their way out of a wet paper bag? Is the Louis Riel spirit alive and well in the Manitoban capital?

        When you see a lot of crap in cities around the world, something like this warms your heart on a frigid prairie night.

        Hey, let's be realistic. Winnipeg is not Montreal or Minneapolis - the two premier bicycle cities in North America. They're starting out on their journey. But while the rest of the continent - not to mention cities in the same region - are still lacing up their booties and ordering feasibility studies about the possibilities of perhaps considering taking their first baby steps by contemplating a single cycle track to nowhere, Winnipeg is toddling onwards.

        It's a cycle track with a sensible bus stop solution on a road south of the downtown. Sure. It's not part of a complete network. Nowhere near. Let me tell you though, that this little cycle track bus stop strip is a beacon of light in a world of nonsense.
        Winnipeg Cycle Track Winnipeg Cycle Track
        The cycle track is new. And it's Winnipeg and they have winter. They call themselves Winterpeg. Winter cycling is "no longer weird in the city" but there is still a learning curve ahead. The cycle track wasn't totally snowploughed, but my god they had tried. Again, better than most cities.

        If I can get excited about all of this, it's probably going to get better. Copenhagenize Design Co. recently won a bid - together with our partners - for Winnipeg's Pedestrian & Cycling Strategies. Working with a city that is ahead of game will be a pleasure.

        Winnipeg Garbage Can for Cyclists
        On the way from one bar to the next one night, along the river, we ceremoniously tilted a garbage bin into a Copenhagenize cyclist-friendly garbage bin. They also have beer in Winnipeg.

        The Kickstand Sessions are a master class for planners, engineers, health, transit, architects, etc. in bicycle planning for North American cities based on Dutch and Danish best practice.

        At the end of the sessions - after two days of bicycle planning and infrastructure work - we wrap up with communications. How would the participants communicate their vision for the city? They're not in marketing, but they're professionals/citizens/consumers with a vision. Developing a common language is important, especially when you're in a room with people from so many different professions. It's a great way to round off the master classes.

        The teams develop each their own slogan and everyone votes for the one they like the best. Then we whip up a quick and dirty poster with their text. Here's what the 40 participants ended up with:

        Your bike looks better on the street. Winnipeg. Powered by People.

        Indeed. Powered by, among others, these people. The Kickstand Sessions participants. Not everyone was from Winnipeg - some participants came in from Portage la Prairie and even Thompson - but people power they all surely possess.

        28 February 2012

        Busses are Beautiful

        Earlier this year, Mary from here at Copenhagenize Consulting spoke in Bogota at an ITDP conference about Cycle Chic, marketing cycling and our work at the company. An interesting discussion arose about how it could be possible to use the cycle chic 'method' to promote public transport use.

        Today I saw the coolest bus advert yet. It's from Norway. Sure, it's not for busses in urban areas, but it show what is possible for using advertising and positive messaging to promote bus use - or anything else. Like urban cycling, trains, you name it. And we love the ironic lyrics in the song used in the video.

        13 February 2012

        Straightforward Traffic Planning for Liveable Cities

        Copenhagenize Traffic Planning Guide

        11 November 2010

        Why Cycling (sometimes) Beats Public Transport

        Bus Advert
        I love public transport. The idea of it. I will take a train or a metro happily but personally I'm not fond of busses. It's just me. Fortunately the nature of bus advertising in Copenhagen is such that I prefer to be on a bicycle behind or alongside the bus...
        No. They Don't.
        Perhaps bus companies should put these kinds of ads inside the busses in order to attract customers.
        Danish Advert

        New Breasts, New Price
        Text: 'new breasts. new price'
        Contemplating Soup
        And reserve the space for adverts outside the busses for... peas and stuff.

        01 November 2010

        Oslo's Shitty Busses

        Oh crap. Busses in Oslo are powered by human waste.

        15 September 2010

        Ignoring the Bull - With a Super Bus

        Talk about ignoring the bull in the china shop! The Chinese have developed a Super Bus in an attempt to ease congestion in Beijing. The bus is raised up above the road so that smaller vehicles can drive underneath it without having to stop.

        A prototype will begin operations on a 6 km route in Beijing this December, according to TV2 News (in Danish).

        What's the consensus on this idea? Good, bad, silly? Comments, please.

        03 May 2010

        Love Seats on Copenhagen Buses

        Take a Load Off
        From this morning in Copenhagen over 100 buses will now feature Love Seats which will encourage Copenhageners to flirt more and, if lucky, score. The transport firm, Arriva, is following the increasing trend of companies branding themselves as singles-friendly.

        Buses on routes 3A, 4A, 150S, 173E and 350S now feature seats that are red, placed next to each other, where according to Arriva flirtacious, sexy glances and cheeky pick-up lines from both sexes are allowed.

        "We would like to get people to change their behaviour and flirt and smile more on the bus. Maybe some will find love. Others may just want to try taking the bus because there is a chance to flirt with a good-looking guy"
        , says Marianne F?rch, from Arriva.

        Several experts agree that the red seats could very well become the most sought-after on the buses. Single life is no longer a tabboo, it's an accepted part of modern life.

        "We've moved away from our love lives being a private affair and single life as being sad. There is no loner a stigma attached to being single, because many people are single for periods of their life and we no longer shy away from the fact in public. There is much more visibility on the subject", says Charlotte Krol?kke from the University of Southern Denmark.

        "Te Love Seats are yet another example of companies branding themselves to the single market. Now a bus ride can be so much more than just A to B transport and that suits the current trend perfectly", she says.

        Via: DR

        Long Bridge Headwind
        In other bus-related news from Copenhagen, on one bus route it's now possible to take your bicycle on board.

        All Copenhagen buses already have room for up to two baby carriages or wheelchairs on board and now bicycles are included on route 600S. Transport firm Movia are behind the intiative.

        The route is a regional one, with longer distances than in the centre of the city, and many people cycle to the busstops. Now they'll have the chance to take their bike with them.

        It's worth mentioning that you can only take a bike or baby carriage or wheelchair on board if there's room. When we head to the train station with our baby carriage we sometimes have to wait for the next bus on the weekends, because both spots are already filled.

        Nevertheless, it's a nice move, even though I can't see many people bothering to do it.

        Via Lokalavisen and thanks to Claus for the link.