Paris to Spend €100m on Bike Lanes While Reducing Car Traffic

Paris has had a tough time with traffic and pollution in the city due to the number of cars. They have launched many environmentally friendly intitaves to curb the use of cars while making alternative transit solutions to cars more appealing. It’s working and is already inspiring other cities to follow suit. Still, traffic in France’s capital is still quite bad so the mayor as launched a new program investing €100m on new bike lanes!

“I want diesel cars out of Paris by 2020 and, if possible, beyond the peripherique,” said the mayor, referring to the city’s constantly choked ring road.

“Today, 60 per cent of Parisians don’t have their own car, whereas in 2011, it was 40 per cent. It’s moving quickly,” she said.

In proposing a raft of anti-pollution measures, Ms Hidalgo is building on the efforts of her predecessor and mentor, the former Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe.

He championed bike and car rental schemes, expanded bus and bicycle lanes, and reduced speed limits, as he sought to wean Parisians off cars in a bid to make the city more liveable.

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Toyota Releases 5,680 Patents for Fuel Cell Technology

Toyota has followed Tesla’s strategy of giving their patented technology away for free. The patent system is so obviously broken so it’s nice to see these large corporations just letting their patents go. Ultimately, this means that other car companies can now use fuel saving technology (or whatever Toyota has invented). Hopefully we will see less environmentally damaging vehicles on the road.

Perhaps the most newsworthy announcement came when Toyota said it would make all of its 5,680 patents related to fuel cell technology available, royalty-free, to other companies manufacturing and selling both fuel-cell vehicles and hydrogen refueling stations. The idea is to drive more innovation in this somewhat nascent sector of the automobile industry.

“It’s obvious that there can be a higher societal value in openly sharing our IP,” Carter said. “By eliminating the traditional corporate boundaries, we can speed the metabolism of everyone’s research and move into a future of mobility quicker, more effectively, and more economically. Indeed, I believe that today marks a turning point in automotive history.”

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London Lowered Speed Limits to Save Lives

Cars kill. Or is it like the gun debate – cars don’t kill people drivers kill people? Regardless of fault the results of car use as a primary means of transportation causes health problems and needless death. Cities around the world are taking steps to try and hold back cars (or is it drivers?) from killing people. One sure-fire way that works is to lower the speed limit.

The City of London lowered their local speed limits and found that it made for safer streets. Other cities are finding the same strategy equally effective, yet here in Toronto will we ever see this? Our local councillors and crack-consuming mayor went out of their way to spend $300,000 to ensure cars can move faster at the expense of cyclists. The mayor himself has stated multiple times that the lives of non-drivers are worth less than taxpaying drivers. Torontotist looks into the issue while sharing the success of smarter cities than Toronto.

The move to reduce driving speeds in cities is based on some convincing statistics. Greater London contains roughly 400 zones with 20 mph speed limits, and these are credited with reducing traffic fatalities by 42 per cent. In London, Barcelona, Brussels, and a handful of other European cities, low-speed zones have resulted in significantly increased bike and foot traffic, according to a 2013 study, as people have begun to feel safer on city streets.

The U.K.’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents in 2011 found that decreasing average driving speeds by just one mile per hour would reduce the accident rate by about 5 per cent. There has even been academic research on the success of lowered-speed zones in the U.K.

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Adding Bike Lanes Reduces Traffic Delays

Bike lanes are wonderful. We’ve already seen that bike lanes create jobs, save lives, and help local economies. Now from New York City there is a transportation report that says adding bike lanes can reduce traffic delays.

So what happened here to overcome the traditional idea that bike lanes lead to car delay? No doubt many factors were involved, but a DOT spokesperson tells CityLab that the steady traffic flow was largely the result of adding left-turn pockets. In the old street configurations, cars turned left from a general traffic lane; in the new one, they merged into a left-turn slot beside the protected bike lane (below, an example from 8th and 23rd). This design has two key advantages: first, traffic doesn’t have to slow down until the left turn is complete, and second, drivers have an easier time seeing bike riders coming up beside them.

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Helsinki Wants to Send Cars to Purgatory

The Helsinki bus station theory will change you life and now the Finnish government wants to change people’s lives by making cars pointless. In the coming decades they will make use of data and various transportations to make owning a car a pointless exercise in futility. In many urban centres car ownership is a fool’s game and Helsinki is just making this point clearer.

The ultimate solution for Finland is to create an app for on-demand transport.

As the new system is envisioned, you would use an app on your smart phone to say where you are and where you want to go, and the app would not only give you all the best options, but it would allow you to pay on the spot. This new network, envisioned by a graduate student, would include also cars on demand, but not privately owned.

Interestingly, this new system was designed by a young woman, Sonja Heikkilä. Heikkilä wrote a white paper outlining all the features of the system, which she says will be more attractive to Millenials than car ownership. Here’s how it would work, according to Heikkilä:

“Imagine that Piritta boards a tram, alights from it a couple of stops later, and hires a bicycle to travel to work. After work, she orders a car of [sic] demand responsive transport and travels to the sport hall, where her training equipment already waits for her. Finally, after practice she shares a ride in a shared car and travels home. Piritta uses all services through her personal mobility operator and the use of services is charged directly from her account.”

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Thanks to Mike!

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