Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Graphic of the Week

Pro Walk Pro Bike Pro Place

If you happen to be in Pittsburgh PA, from 8th to 11th September 2014, here’s some interesting information from the Project for Public Spaces, including loads of great links to studies on the role of public space, health and happiness. Otherwise, just enjoy this great graphic.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Quote of the week

From last Saturday’s Guardian, this gem from Sam Wollaston, motoring correspondent (yes, really),

"Driving today is 95% about misery, it's about dealing with regulations and speed bumps and traffic and more traffic."

Enough said….

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Seen on a walk: Danger - Quicksand

P8045637 crop
Not something you’d see from a car. And not something you often see from an English footpath. Spotted this from the safety of the other side of the fence on the Thames Estuary Path (a nearly-open, new 29 mile footpath from Tilbury to Leigh-on-Sea), near Tilbury power station. And here’s a more reassuring sign – the symbol for the path.
P8045596 com

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Quote of the Week

Meant to post this a while ago - it’s a quote from an article last month in the Financial Times (registration required) by Adair Turner, formerly the chairman of the UK’s Financial Services Authority. The article is about the relationship between the housing market and financial instability.

He notes,
“Increased supply must be part of the policy response but preferably through increased housing density in major cities. Transport and environmental policies that enable people to live in more densely populated areas without jeopardising their quality of life could be as important to financial stability as bank capital requirements.”

Monday, 18 August 2014

Walk don’t ride (except by bike): how to reduce your exposure to road traffic pollution

pollution1.1
If you want to avoid health threatening pollution from traffic – the kind that kills thousands of people every year - walking (and cycling) is better then travelling inside a vehicle (car or bus) – these screenshots show the results of an experiment in London. It’s worth watching the video of the whole experiment, hosted on the Guardian website.
pollution2.1

Friday, 15 August 2014

Spot the difference: On The Buses in Oxford and Brighton

A long weekend in Oxford at the World Humanist Congress 2014 provided the chance to explore the city on foot and by bus. Like Brighton and Hove, Oxford is a city which is now mainly defined by two sectors: education and tourism. Both cities are compact - ideal for pedestrians, bikes (although Oxford is much less hilly than Brighton), and buses.

Oxford’s buses are run by the Oxford Bus Company, Stagecoach and Thames Travel Buses. As in Brighton, buses are modern, accessible, and fairly frequent. Many have on-board wi-fi. As with Brighton and Hove Bus Company, the Oxford Bus Company is part of the Go-Ahead Group. And as in Brighton, there has been a steady growth in bus user-ship in recent years.

Oxford Bus Company

Spot the difference.

Btn Bus

But as well as the similarities, there are some major differences, especially when it comes to tickets.
In Oxford,passengers can buy a day ticket on a bus (for £4) and use it on all of the city’s buses during the daytime. So it’s cheaper than in Brighton, and it’s fully Scan0049 Ox Bus interoperable across all bus operators – something where Brighton lags (although it used to be available). Secondly, although it’s called a “Day Ticket” in Oxford, it’s actually valid for 24 hours – much like the system that operates in most cities in the rest of Europe outside the UK, and which provides better value for customers. How come two firms, part of the same plc, have such different policies when it comes to the fare paying bus passenger? Although Brighton and Oxford have their differences, it would be good if some things were a bit more similar when it comes to our city’s buses.

PS: As the Oxford Bus Company has pointed out (via Twitter),  it’s part of the same Group, not the same Company: local management can flex policy and practice according to local conditions. Fair enough. But it would be great if best practice (Oxford’s fares and interoperability) could be replicated across the Group.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Things you don’t see from a car

P8055828 Blood Swept Lands

Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red. Tower of London. The first waves of the 888,246 ceramic poppies that will fill the moat by 11th November 2014 – the anniversary of Armistice Day.