Transportation, and cycling in particular, have been at the forefront of the news in the Smarter Cities Group over the last week.
First off, the US based National Association of City Transportation Officials has published a pdf version of its Urban Bikeways Design Guide. Coinciding with the warmer weather and the surge in commuters swapping buses and trains for pedaling, the guide aims to promote cycling and is a must for planners and designers, bringing together best practice guidance from around the world on how to create safe cycle ways.
In New York there are plans to introduce a public bike-sharing program this summer. The scheme will set itself apart from similar programs in London, Montreal, and Washington DC by relying solely on private funding rather than federal grants or even public-private partnerships. It’s an ambitious plan, but will it work?
Still in New York, the city’s Department of Transportation has published its third Sustainable Streets Index, which reports key traffic indicators across the city. The one consistent trend involved bike riding, which continued a pattern of rapid increase. Commuter cycling rose 26% from 2008 to 2009 and an additional 13% from 2009 to 2010.
Finally, as anyone on two wheels can testify, potholes and bicycles don’t make a great combination. But technology - and car drivers - are coming to the rescue. The city of Boston has developed an app called Street Bump, which collects data from drivers with Android smart phones. Rather than relying on public works inspectors to locate potholes, the app instead uses GPS data to track a device and detects potholes by using the phone's built-in accelerometer to sense sudden jolts. When multiple phones report the same jolt, the app identifies a pothole that needs to be repaired.