A traffic ban at Bank Junction in the City of London comes into force today. Only buses and cycles will be allowed to use the junction from 7am to 7pm Monday to Friday under the experimental traffic order imposed by the City of London Corporation.
This marks the first phase of plans to totally re-design the junction by 2021, which could result in the removal of all motorised traffic.
The 18-month trial will cut the number of casualties and improve air quality, without impacting on traffic flow on routes around the junction, says the Corporation. It will also improve bus journey times, predicts Iain Simmons, the council’s assistant director of city transportation.
Extensive modelling has been carried for the council by consultants Norman Rourke Pryme to assess the impact of the new restrictions. “The average bus journey time through the junction is nearly 11 minutes and this scheme will cut that by nearly a minute,” Simmons says.
Modelling also estimates that the number of casualties will be cut by between 50% and 60%.
There were 105 collisions in and around the junction in a five-year period up to 2014, with 64% of the casualties pedestrians or cyclists. Calls for improved safety followed the death of female cyclist Ying Tao, who was hit by a left turning tipper truck at the junction in 2015.
“This put pressure on us to make changes more quickly,” says Simmons. “It has enabled us to buy safety early. It means that when the scheme works, and we believe it will, there can be more focus on what sort of place Bank Junction should be rather than people getting hung up about what will happen to the traffic.”
Variable message signs have been installed along with ANPR cameras on all roads entering the junction. A grace period will run for the first two weeks of the scheme, with warnings being sent out instead of penalty charge notices (PCNs). “But if someone gets caught twice in that period we reserve the right to send them a PCN,” says Simmons. The council’s civil enforcement officers will be deployed at key locations on streets around the junction to help ensure traffic flow. “CEOs will advise drivers to move on, but if they need to issue a PCN they will. Really, it will be business as usual.”
The restrictions and changes to signalling in the area will enable traffic to flow smoothly, believes Simmons. Steps have been taken to reduce the risk of conflict between buses and bikes, he adds. “Transport for London has been working with bus operators and drivers to make sure their driving is considerate. And the London Cycling Campaign has been talking to cyclists using the junction about ensuring they exhibit good behaviour on the basis if they don’t they will lose the scheme.”
Pedestrians will also benefit from reduced traffic levels at the junction, he says. “The footways aren’t wide enough for people waiting to cross – the system is completely dysfunctional for pedestrians. Only one in 10 pedestrians cross in the right place on green man. This is not because they are naughty people, it’s because the system does not support them doing anything else. The real winners in the long term will be pedestrians. Whilst it remains a traffic signals junction their gains will be limited. But a different Bank Junction, without traffic signals and maybe without traffic at all, suddenly provides a completely different environment, and that is what we are working towards.”
Extensive monitoring of the scheme will take place over the next year, gathering a range of data on traffic and pedestrian movements as well as feedback from individuals, businesses and organisations. More than 2,500 letters about the scheme have been mailed to businesses and residents in the area, Simmons says.
One of the fiercest critics of the scheme has been the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA), which wanted black cabs exempted from the traffic ban. Simmons says: “We found that half the taxis going through the junction weren’t carrying passengers and very few people were being picked up or set down there. We actually believe these changes will make taxi journeys more efficient as they will be able to circulate more quickly.”
Richard Massett, Chairman of the LTDA, says: “Restricting access to Bank Junction for taxis is an ill-conceived response to the issue of safety and will make the area significantly less accessible to thousands of our passengers, particularly those with limited mobility.
“The taxi is already one of the safest modes of transport using the junction. We have been in dialogue with the City and presented a number of alternative proposals that would deliver the required safety improvements without limiting access to taxis, all of which have been ignored.
“The taxi industry is also leading the way in terms of tackling air pollution, with all new taxis being zero emissions capable from 2018. Rolling out blanket bans to taxis, and restricting their custom, may dis-incentivises drivers from making the switch to zero emissions.
“As seen elsewhere in London, such as at Tottenham Court Road, these blanket measures tend to shift the problem of congestion, safety and air pollution from street to street often causing significant disruption for negligible overall impact.”
Meanwhile, other organisations such as the London Cycling Campaign, Living Streets and London TravelWatch have welcomed the scheme.
Simon Munk, LCC’s Infrastructure Campaigner, said: “The trial changes at Bank are hugely welcome and should reduce the unacceptable numbers of pedestrians and cyclists being injured or killed here. But it’s also a step in the right direction – with the City aiming to eventually deliver a far better, motor traffic-free setting, fitting for the iconic buildings the junction is ringed by.”
Tompion Platt, Head of Policy and Communications, Living Streets, says: “The vast majority of people using Bank Junction are on foot – 18,000 in the morning peak. For everyone walking and cycling there, Bank Junction is an unpleasant and intimidating environment. It’s hugely polluted, overcrowded and unsafe – as demonstrated by its shocking casualty record.
“Putting people first will improve Bank Junction for everyone who works, lives and visits the City by making it a safer and healthier place, which the experimental safety scheme will start to demonstrate.”
Sustrans’ CEO Xavier Brice will offer insights into how to take cycling and walking to the next level at Cycle City Active City
Sustrans will be presenting results from its latest research projects at Cycle City Active City, which takes place in Bradford on 11 and 12 May. The walking and cycling charity will host presentations, discussions and interactive workshops at the event, which is Europe’s biggest cycling and active travel conference bringing together experts in active travel policy, infrastructure design and delivery, behaviour change marketing, public health campaigns and place-making.
Xavier Brice, CEO at Sustrans,says: “When Sustrans was founded 40 years ago, cycling in the UK was a fringe activity in decline; it’s now becoming fashionable, but it’s still not mainstream.
“In addition to money and political leadership, we need to deliver solutions that make it easier for people to walk and cycle. Delivering solutions that learn from the lessons of the past by combining infrastructure, behaviour change and that involve communities will make us all healthier and happier, and create places over the next 40 years that we are proud to pass onto our children and generations to come.”
Sustrans’ leading figures will be present at the show, including Dr Andy Cope, Director of Insight, who will be chairing a cycling monitoring & evaluation workshop, ‘Cutting edge techniques and developments to make the case for change.’ It will look at the most pressing policy questions that monitoring and evaluation can help answer, along with innovative data gathering and using the intelligence for effective influencing.
Meanwhile, Tim Burns, Senior Policy and Partnerships Advisor, will offer an update on Bike Life, Sustrans’ flagship project, which aims to enable local authorities, city transport planners and wider industry professionals to make the case for everyday cycling in cities.
Will Haynes, Head of Built Environment, will be running a 30-minute interactive activity, ‘Replicating Quietways outside London’, as part of the popular speed learning session. It will see participants cycle through a route (viewing a video of the route on a laptop) and then identifying issues and marking these up on an A1 sized map of the route.
Xavier Brice will join an expert panel discussion, ‘Walking & cycling development: the next level,’ and will highlight the pressing need for cycling investment, political leadership and innovative solutions that have community engagement it its heart – all to drive the increasing popularity of cycling.
For details of how to book and to see the full programme go to: http://www.landor.co.uk/cyclecitybradford/home.php
The Big Bike Revival is offering free puncture repair workshops, basic bike maintenance and cycle
Cycling UK is once more running its Big Bike Revival across England thanks to a further £1m funding from the Department for Transport (DfT).
The six-week campaign, launched today, will offer free cycle checks, maintenance advice and tips on how to get cycling. Bike and accessory supplier, Halfords, community groups and bike recycling centres across the country are also partners in the campaign. The project seeks to encourage and inspire people to get on their bikes again, or cycle for the first time.
Last year’s event encouraged nearly 25,000 people to take cycling after, said Cycling UK. The charity hopes to increase that figure this year.
Hundreds of free events will take place across the country, offering everything from puncture repair workshops, basic bike maintenance and led rides to cycle health checks, cycle skills sessions and route planning.
Cycling UK’s head of development for England, Laura Hales, says: “Through the Big Bike Revival we are looking forward to bringing the joy of cycling back to the community. It is a fun and inclusive activity, great for the environment and for your health.
“This year we hope to build on our previous success to encourage people to get back on their bikes and experience the benefits of cycling first hand.
“In 2016, Cycling UK’s Big Bike Revival reached 24,596 beneficiaries across England – nearly half of them female, 42% of them non-regular cyclists and 41% from deprived areas. There were 648 events and 200 Ride Leaders were trained.”
Cycling UK has also been awarded £450,000 by the Scottish Government, through Transport Scotland, to run Big Bike Revival in Scotland for the second year running. The Scottish Government has a vision to see 10% of everyday journeys by cycle by 2020.
Meet the Cycling UK team and find our more about the Big Bike Revival at Cycle City Active City
DfT has given charity Cycling UK another £1m for its Big Bike Revival scheme
A £1.2bn plan to make cycling and walking mainstream modes of travel for shorter journeys has been published today by the government.
The Department for Transport (DfT) has pledged to double cycling, reduce bike-related accidents and increase the proportion of 5 to 10 year-olds walking to school to 55% by 2025.
Funding will be allocated to a wide range of projects designed to create safer cycling routes, new cycle links between city centres, provide more cycle proficiency and safety training and more bike facilities at rail stations.
The £1.2 billion is allocated as follows:
* £50m to provide cycling proficiency training for further 1.3m children
* £101m to improve cycling infrastructure and expand cycle routes between the city centres, local communities, and key employment and retail sites
* £85m to make improvements to 200 sections of roads for cyclists
* £80m for safety and awareness training for cyclists, extra secure cycle storage, bike repair, maintenance courses and road safety measures
* £389.5m for councils to invest in walking and cycling schemes
* £476.4m from local growth funding to support walking and cycling
In addition, the government is investing an extra:
* £5m on improving cycle facilities at railway stations
* £1m on walking charity’s Living Streets’ outreach programmes to encourage children to walk to school
* £1m on charity Cycling UK’s ‘Big Bike Revival’ scheme, which provides free bike maintenance and cycling classes.
Under the Infrastructure Act 2015 , the government is required to set a Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS) for England. DfT says that this is the first of a series of five-year strategies to support the long-term ambition to make walking and cycling the natural choice for shorter journeys by 2040.
The implications of the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy will be discussed Cycle City Active City
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling says: “We are making cycling and walking more accessible to everyone because of the substantial health and environmental benefits – it will also be a boost for businesses because a fitter and healthier workforce is more productive.”
The charity Cycling UK has welcomed the DfT’s announcement and its pledge of another £1m for the Big Bike Revival.
Cycling UK’s Chief Executive Paul Tuohy says: “Cycling UK’s Big Bike Revival will help tens of thousands of people back into cycling by getting your bikes checked over, fixed up and back into use. We are grateful to the DfT for supporting this initiative for this, our third year of national activities to help get more of the UK cycling more often.”
Roger Geffen, Policy Director at Cycling UK, adds: “Cycling UK has spent years campaigning for a strong and well-funded Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy, so we’re pleased to see it finally published two years after it was initially announced. A big ‘thank you’ is due to the DfT officials who have put a huge amount of effort into it.
“Now the hard work begins. With national as well as local elections now looming, Cycling UK will be doing all we can to build the cross-party support needed to strengthen this investment strategy over time, while supporting councils in making best use of the resources available, as they start bringing this vision to life.”
This sentiment was echoed by sustainable transport charity Sustrans. Chief executive Xavier Brice says: “The first ever Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy is a significant achievement and highlights the government’s ambition to make England a cycling and walking nation.
“Sustrans, together with a number of other leading transport and health organisations, have long called for a Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy and we were successful in securing a commitment from government for its production back in 2014.
“There is an overwhelming body of evidence that demonstrates that investment in cycling and walking has many health, social and economic benefits and must be prioritised. The challenge now is to deliver the change needed locally and nationally.”
Cycling to work could almost halve the risk of developing cancer and heart disease, according to new research from the University of Glasgow published today.
The research found that commuting by bike was linked with a 45% lower risk of developing cancer and a 46% lower risk of heart disease, compared with a non-active commute. Those who cycled to work had a 41% lower risk of premature death, the study found.
The study analysed data from 263,450 participants at 22 sites across the UK. Participants were asked about their usual mode of commuting to work over a five-year period. From the sample there were 496 deaths relating to heart disease and 1,126 to cancer over the five year period. These cases were assessed and related to their mode of commuting.
Policies designed to make it easier for people to commute by bike may present major opportunities for public health improvement, the researchers suggest.
Dr Jason Gill, from the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, says: “Cycling all or part of the way to work was associated with substantially lower risk of adverse health outcomes. Those who cycled the full length of their commute had an over 40% lower risk of heart disease, cancer and overall mortality over the five years of follow-up.
“If these associations are causal, these findings suggest that policies designed to make it easier for people to commute by bike, such as cycle lanes, city bike hire, subsidised cycle purchase schemes and increasing provision for cycles on public transport may present major opportunities for public health improvement.”
Meanwhile, walking to work was associated with 27% lower risk of developing heart disease and a 36% lower risk of dying from heart disease, but did not reduce the risk of cancer or premature death overall. The benefits of cycling to work were higher than walking because those on bikes covered longer distances and the intensity of cycling tended to be higher than walking, the study suggests.
Dr Carlos Celis-Morales says: “Walking to work was associated with lower risk of heart disease, but unlike cycling was not associated with a significantly lower risk of cancer or overall death. This may be because walkers commuted shorter distances than cyclists – typically six miles per week, compared with 30 miles per week – and walking is generally a lower intensity of exercise than cycling.”
The paper – ‘Association between active commuting (walking and cycling) and incident cardiovascular disease, cancer and mortality: Prospective cohort study of 264,337 UK Biobank participants’ – is published today in the BMJ.
To find out about cycling to work schemes come to Cycle City Active City
The Department for Transport (DfT) is seeking innovations that encourage more people to make journeys by bike or on foot, writes Patrick McDonnell. An open competition was launched today, which will run through the Small Research Business Initiative (SRBI). The DfT said it would fund projects that propose innovative means of tackling the barriers to walking and cycling.
Entries should outline ideas that make it easier for people to cycle to work, improve the image of cycling, make cycling feel safer for teenagers and women, and combine cycling and rail travel.
The DfT is also seeking innovations designed to increase walking among those aged between 30 and 49 and over 60 and improve actual and perceived road safety for pedestrians through safer crossings, increased personal safety and design of objects and street furniture.
Also under consideration are journey planning tools and the use of electric bikes.
A team of independent experts will assess the entries, and the DfT will then develop a portfolio of projects.
The competition application deadline is midday on Wednesday 14 June.
nextbike has expanded from 20 bikes in Leipzig, Germany, to more 40,000 bikes across four continents
A bike share scheme in Glasgow looks set to more than double in size in response to demands for more stations from users, says the city council.
The nextbike scheme was launched just before the Commonwealth Games in 2014 with 400 bikes located at 31 hire stations. Plans are in place to expand it to 900 bikes at 100 stations before the end of this year.
Glasgow City Council leader Frank McAveety says: “The scheme has been a phenomenal success since it was launched and the people of Glasgow and surrounding areas really have embraced it. “The bikes are being seen in use all over the city and are very popular with commuters, students, businesses and visitors. It is clear there is a real appetite for the cycle hire scheme in Glasgow. We receive overwhelming feedback from users of the scheme and numerous requests for more stations.
“We want to see the scheme continue to grow, bringing more bikes and stations in the city for people to use. In addition to the millions of pounds we are investing on cycle routes and infrastructure this is yet further progress in realising our ambition to make Glasgow one of the UK’s most cycling friendly cities.”
Colin Freeman, operations manager at The Bike Station in Glasgow, says nextbike’s arrival has created a cascade of positive impacts for the city. The Bike Station runs a number of community outreach projects in Glasgow designed to make cycling an easy, affordable and mainstream way to travel for people of all ages.
“We won the maintenance contract from the council to repair and maintain nextbikes and that money helps directly with the work we do here,” says Freeman. “It creates jobs for mechanics and distributors, and it helps teenagers not in employment, education or training to get real life skills.
“We are funded by a combination of grant funding and income generated from contracts like nextbike and these various projects teach, train, inspire and encourage people to get out on their bikes – whether it’s learning from scratch or taking the step to commute to work for the first time.
“The whole city benefits. You can see it every morning – streams of nextbikes riding through the parks and bringing people to and from the city. It’s a fabulous sight and while it’s great for tourists it’s also clearly benefiting the people of Glasgow.”
Besides the benefits that cycling brings to a population, there’s the positive impact on air quality, says nextbike. It says that in Glasgow there have been 286,521 rentals equalling 555,851km in journeys. This has saved 150,636kg of CO2, nextbike estimates.
Founded in 2004, nextbike’s headquarters are in Germany but it now provides 40,000 bikes in more than 25 countries including Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Dubai, Hungary, Latvia, New Zealand, Poland, Switzerland, Turkey, the United States, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine and India.
It operates schemes in 130 towns and cities and its partners include global banking giant Santander in Milton Keynes, and RBS for a similar scheme in Edinburgh.
Founder Ralf Kalupner says: “It started with only 20 bikes in Leipzig. Now, we work on an international basis with 40,000 bikes.”
He adds: “No other public bike sharing system can provide a larger international network of rental bikes which, incidentally, gives users access to every single scheme. Once you’ve signed up you’re able to use a nextbike regardless of whether you’re in Bath one week and Dubai the next.”
Our impact is felt quickly too, regardless of size of scheme, says Kalpner, citing the swift expansion of the scheme in Bath, which meant that the council support was no longer necessary.
Bath’s cabinet member for transport Anthony Clark says: “I am delighted that so many people are using nextbike as a simple and fun way to get around the city and experience Bath in a way that would not be possible by car.
“Improving transport is one of the top six priorities of our new administration, and this includes action to support sustainable transport options such as walking and cycling. The additional stations will enable more residents living just outside the center to take advantage of this resource, and to support students in the area to leave cars at home and cycle and walk while studying in Bath.”
Bike Share is also well suited to university towns, where there are a lot of commuters, a constant lack of parking space, combined with crowded buses and trains, says nextbike.
This has resulted in partnerships with the University of Warwick, Kent State University in Ohio and three universities in Germany (Mannheim, Potsdam and Bochum).
As part of an agreement with universities or student unions, students and staff get a package of free minutes per rental. Students and staff also have access to all of the bikes in their city with additional stations installed on and around the campus itself if required.
nextbike says it is the first bikeshare scheme to meet the Bikeplus standards.
The Public Bike Share Accreditation Criteria is designed for local authorities and sponsors to evaluate whether operators and suppliers reach agreed standards before being invited to apply for contracts.
Julian Scriven, managing director of nextbike UK, says: “nextbike is committed to delivering high quality bike share schemes that are sustainable in every way. The Bikeplus accreditation will help Local Authorities and sponsors identify organisations that can be relied on to create schemes that will benefit their communities.
“I believe this will lead to improved schemes, streamlining of the procurement process and further development of the sector’s safety and business standards.”
To meet the nextbike team and find out more about bike share come to Cycle City Active City
Storage capacity for bikes on ScotRail`s long distance services is to drop from four to two spaces
ScotRail looks set to halve bike storage capacity on long distance services, writes Patrick McDonnell. Currently four bikes are allowed on each train, but once the operator rolls out its new high speed train (HST) fleet this will drop to two.
Franchise holder Abellio plans to start introducing the HST fleet from 2018 onwards. The 26-train fleet, which will comprise 54 power cars and 121 carriages, are actually refurbished 40 year-old InterCity 125 High Speed Trains (HST) first introduced in England in 1977.
The rail operator is considering storage for six further bikes in the two power cars at each end of the train.
This would bring the total bike capacity on each train to eight, still way below the 20 spaces Abellio had previously indicated in talks with the Scottish government in 2015.
A ScotRail spokeswoman says: “We have to balance a number of demands when planning space in our trains and want to accommodate bikes as far as possible. We’re exploring a number of options in advance of the HST fleet arriving in Scotland.
“There is provision for three bikes in each power car, which will require operational consideration due to platform lengths and station dwell times for the power car access.”
The reductions in bike space on trains goes against “a joined-up vision for cycling in Scotland”, says sustainable transport charity Sustrans.
A Sustrans spokesman says: “Ensuring there are more spaces for bikes on trains, not less, is key to encouraging passengers to use trains as a way of travelling actively and sustainably over longer journeys without having to rely on a car.
“Whilst bike parking at stations has improved tremendously over the past few years, many commuters not only want to cycle to the station to catch a train, but are keen to get on their bike again at their destination.
“Scotland has a shared ambition for 10% of journeys to be made by bike by 2020, and this is a step in the wrong direction. The opportunity to carry a bike on public transport is key to ensuring sustainable travel is a viable option for travellers for their everyday journeys.”
Spokes, the Scottish cycling campaign group, says: “Storage space for cycles could be created by converting some redundant toilets into bike storage, instead of them being locked and just transporting air.
“Nor are we convinced about the ‘end-to-end’ power-car bike restrictions. Virgin Trains currently operates some (eight-coach) HST trains up to Inverness, and although their bike compartment is in coach ‘A’ rather than the power car, it is is nonetheless locked.
“Since bikes have to be pre-booked, the guard knows in advance when it needs to be unlocked, and this works fine with Virgin. Surely ScotRail is capable of doing similar, at least at main stations such as Perth?”
Find our more about cycle-rail at Cycle City Active City
Staff from 218 businessesused an online platform to log their sustainable journeys and
competed to climb a leader board
Employees who pledged to travel more actively to work as part of Sustrans Scotland’s Workplace Journey Challenge in March have logged a total of nearly £54,000 in savings in just one month, says the sustainable transport charity, writes Patrick McDonnell.
The free month-long challenge was funded by Transport Scotland. It saw 3,059 people from 218 Scottish businesses travel in ways that benefitted their health, wellbeing and the environment.
Workplaces across Scotland competed with each other to see who could clock up the most walking, cycling, public transport and car-sharing journeys in March in a bid to win more than £2,000 worth of prizes.
As well as saving £53,919 by swapping car journeys for more sustainable alternatives, employees saved 54,745kg in CO2 emissions and burned the equivalent of 33,744 donuts in calories.
Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said: “It’s great to see how many people across Scotland are making smarter travel choices, and getting the health benefits from walking and cycling on their daily commute. The Scottish Government will continue to invest in infrastructure and behaviour change programmes to ensure people have the widest choice possible for their everyday journeys.”
Sustrans’ smarter choices workplace coordinator, Jenny Muir said: “It’s fantastic to see how our Workplace Journey Challenge has been taken up by so many diverse organisations across the country.
“There has been a great element of fun in the challenge. Watching people tweet their pictures of their journey to work has inspired others and of course there has been healthy competition between different companies.
“By encouraging people to make small changes to the way they get to work, we hope it will inspire them to make sustainable, long-term changes to the way they travel.”
Participants used an online platform to log their sustainable journeys and competed to climb a leader board. They had access to feedback on how many calories they had burned and the amount of money they’d saved on each journey by choosing healthy, green and cheap alternatives to driving.
Individual challengers were judged on the number of journeys they complete while workplaces were judged on the overall rate of participation in the team.
Find out more about Sustrans’ workplace active travel challenges at Cycle City Active City
Cllr Clyde Loakes (right)opens Waltham Forest`s 100th Bikehangar on Carr Rd
The 100th Bikehangar has been installed in the London borough of Waltham Forest, with another 30 to be added over the summer. The first units were installed in 2015 as part of the council’s Mini Holland programme to make the borough more cyclist and pedestrian-friendly. Additional funding for the secure storage units has come from the Mayor of London’s Borough Cycling Programme.
Each Bikehangar, which can store six cycles, is 2.5 metres in length, taking up half a car parking space. The Bikehangars are supplied by cycle parking designer and manufacturer Cyclehoop, which has installed more than 1,000 units across 26 London boroughs.
Waltham Forest council says it has been overwhelmed by the demand for the units. Residents pay an annual charge of £20 to reserve a space in the hangar and are supplied with a key. The council says it gives priority to streets where demand is highest.
Cllr Clyde Loakes, deputy leader and cabinet member for environment, says: “We’ve had an incredible response to our bike hangar scheme, and it’s great that we’ve now hit 100 across the borough. We’ve had thousands of requests for additional locations since we introduced the scheme, and many of our hangars are already oversubscribed. This goes to show how many people are choosing to make their journeys by bike in the borough, rather than taking the car.
“We are not able to fulfil every request we have for a bike hangar due to huge levels of demand from residents, but we will continue to provide as many as we can across the borough.”
Find out more about Waltham Forest’s Mini Holland programme at Cycle City Active City