Next Step: Intermodal Bicycles

Every delivery person knows that driving a truck through a city is stressful and dangerous. Our current delivery logistics tend to rely heaveily on trucks to transport goods to their ultimate destination, which clogs up roads and pollutes our cities. DB Schenker, one of the largest delivery companies, has decide to trial bicycle deliveries for that last step of distribution and it’s working out better than expected!

“We are 40 % more productive on a bike compared to a truck in the big city. At the same time, we saving CO2 emissions and thereby greener solutions. In addition, besides the better accessibility, we have another big advantage: Always easy parking. “

The new e-bikes have two boxes that can carry up to 300 kg of payload with parcels. The bikes’ batteries have a capacity of eight hours, which means that it only needs to recharge once every day. Every day, the deliveryman is stopped by people, who wants a picture of the e-bike. One of the deliverymen is Ion Gushtu, who loves the attention and exercise in the job: “It is very popular driving environmental friendly and I think people are appreciating the new initiative.” Ion has been driving around Bergen since 5th of March 2018.

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Ships Enhanced by Wind Power Improve Shipping

wind enhanced ship

Sails on ships aren’t anything new. Heck, we’ve been following this “new” technology on cargo ships since 2005. It’s time for our almost annual check-in on how modern ships are using an old tech solution to improve their efficiency. Here’s some additional context for you:

It’s been neat seeing this develop over the last 15 years! The hybrid model is working out well and more companies are embracing it.

At the most recognisable end of the wind-assist spectrum are innovations in soft sail systems. The increasing sophistication of automation and route optimisation systems have revived interest in seafaring’s original power source, and there are now a growing number of examples of larger vessels using smart soft sails alongside auxiliary propulsion systems. In one notable development, French naval architect VPLP recently unveiled a design for a 121 metre long roll-on/roll-off (RORO) vessel that will be used to transport components of the Ariane 6 rocket from Europe to Guiana. The ship’s main propulsion system (a dual fuel LNG MDO engine) will be assisted by four Oceanwings; fully automated wing-sails which are each supported by a 30m high mast and measuring a total of 363 square meters.

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Let’s Use Airships Instead of Airplanes

Travelling via airplane is safe for you as an individual, but collectively all of using planes is unsafe. At ground level the emissions from airplanes are bad and are even more damaging when released high in the atmosphere (where you know, planes fly). If we’re going to survive the climate crisis then we’ll need to all reduce our use of modern airplanes.

Let’s use airships instead. More commonly known as blimps, these large airborne vessels can transport cargo more efficiently than boats or planes, they are just lacking the airport infrastructure. Lockheed Martin has recently found a way to make them more efficient and is proposing airships as a new way for luxury travel.

A paper in the journal Energy Conservation and Management published in September posits that just one airship could move 21,000 tons of stuff using almost no energy at all if we used airships to harness the free winds of the jet stream, the narrow band of fast-moving air above the troposphere, where planes fly. These winds, which average 100 miles per hour and can be as speedy as 250 mph, could propel an airship from Denver to China in about seven days or from Los Angeles to Tokyo in four, says Julian David Hunt, of Austria’s International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis and the paper’s first author.

These lower-flying vehicles, known as hybrids, are likely what we’ll see in the nearer future. Aerospace company Lockheed Martin’s hybrid prototype sports three cartoonish bubbles up front to help with navigation and engines to assist with maneuverability. The company’s hybrid design uses 20% aerodynamic lift — a lightly fuel-powered boost for a bit of a “plane-like effect” — and helium for the remaining 80% buoyant lift, Boyd says. The end result uses significantly less fuel than a plane and can access many areas other vehicles can’t.

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Let’s do Better than Bike Lanes


In North America bike lanes are afterthoughts slapped on infrastructure meant for heavy metal objects that kill people and the planet. It doesn’t have to be this way. We can change the conversation from supporting large single occupant vehicles to supporting solutions to move large groups of people safely through our cities. In the 20th century car manufacturers spent lots of money to convince people that everyone needs a car and that “smart cities” would be built around the car and not people. Today we need to do the opposite and spend time and money convincing everyone that cities should be for people and not cars – and we can do it!

Cars and trucks get billions in federal, state, and local money. Governments can mindlessly belch out vast sums for highway widenings—see the $1.6 billion spent on a single-lane addition to the 405 freeway in Los Angeles, even though we’ve known for years that it would not make a dent in travel times. With all this money seemingly available for car infrastructure, some of which is absolutely useless or makes traffic worse, there’s only a pittance devoted to robust bike networks. Why?

Let’s dare to design something that can actually make a difference and imagine micromobility infrastructure that goes beyond bike lanes and that leapfrogs piecemeal local approaches. Let’s create a blueprint that can have real, lasting impact, to excite the masses, bring together many groups, companies, special interests, and demographics, create real mode shifts, and actually make a real difference in pollution, climate, and car deaths.

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London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone Cuts Toxic Air Pollution by a Third


London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) can be considered a roaring success. The ULEZ was created by London mayor Sadiq Khan to combat the health crisis created from too many cars being in a small geographic area (and to improve the ability of people to get around the city). The plan called for a section of London to be only accessible to vehicles which meet the criteria of an ultra low emission vehicle, like electric cars. The policy has reduced the total amount of vehicles in that part of London while also reducing toxic pollutants in the air. If London can do it then surely other cities can too!

Since introducing the ULEZ new data reveals that:
• Roadside nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution has reduced by 36 per cent in the zone. This is measured from February 2017 to September 2019, to reflect when the Mayor publicly confirmed the Toxicity Charge (T-Charge) – the predecessor to the ULEZ – and people started to prepare for the schemes. Analysis in today’s City Hall report estimates that the reduction in NO2 pollution solely attributable to the ULEZ is 29 per cent*.
• None of the air quality monitoring sites located on ULEZ boundary roads have measured an increase in NO2 pollution levels since the scheme was introduced in April 2019.
• From March to September 2019 there was a large reduction in the number of older, more polluting, non-compliant vehicles detected in the zone: some 13,500 fewer on an average day, a reduction of 38 per cent.

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