Articles tagged with: Transportation

  • Studying sustainable transportation in Sweden

    Bus in bus terminal in Gothenburg, Sweden

    Dr. Christopher Fullerton spent part of March in Sweden exploring experiences with electric public transit buses. Here are a few photos from his trip and a reflection from Dr. Fullerton’s second day in Gothenburg:

    “I spent the afternoon at the Lindholmen Science Park learning about Gothenburg’s ElectriCity project, where they are piloting the use of electric buses on two routes and conducting research about all aspects of electric buses. These pictures show their innovative indoor bus stop. It’s a climate controlled building where the bus pulls in at the end of the route, the doors close, the bus’ battery charges in nine minutes, and then the doors open for the bus to leave on its next run. In the meantime, you can wait for the bus in a heated or air conditioned setting, read a book at their mini library or sit in some cool hanging chairs, all the while listening to a recording of birds chirping! When one bus leaves, the next one to arrive pulls in and does the same! Great idea for cities with cold or hot climates, and something that’s much easier to do with quiet and emission-free electric buses.”

    Bridge over river in Gothenburg, Sweden

    Bus terminal waiting room with bookshelves and seating in Gothenburg, Sweden

    Tags: , , , , ,
    Categories: News

  • Student researcher explores future of electric buses in Canada

    REPOSTED FROM THE BROCK NEWS
    FRIDAY, APRIL 26, 2019 | by 

    It’s a simple, logical way to cut down on air and noise pollution.

    Electric buses don’t emit carbon or use fossil fuels, are low cost to maintain and, by the silent way they operate, reduce noise pollution compared to conventional buses.

    But replacing current buses with electricity-powered ones is easier said than done, says master’s student Tasnuva Afreen.

    Afreen recently wrapped up an eight-month internship with the Canadian Urban Transit Research and Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC) to collect and interpret information related to transit authorities’ transition to electric buses.

    “Now we’re trying to connect the dots,” says Afreen, who is in Brock’s Sustainability Science and Society program. “We hope to bring out what Canadians think of electric buses and identify the main barriers to bringing electric buses to transit authorities’ fleets.”

    Afreen, Associate Professor of Geography and Tourism Studies Christopher Fullertonand CUTRIC created the internship through the not-for-profit national research organization Mitacs.

    Mitacs partners with academics, private industry and governments to conduct research and training programs related to industrial and social innovation. The organization funds a number of research projects at Brock University.

    During her internship, Afreen organized consultations with industry representatives, transit authorities, government officials and academic researchers.

    She and her CUTRIC colleagues asked participants a series of questions about transit authorities’ experiences and challenges of experimenting with electric buses and the knowledge they need to acquire and integrate hydrogen fuel cell vehicles into their fleets.

    Afreen also asked transit riders to share their opinions on and experiences with electric buses.

    She then transcribed the consultation sessions and analyzed the comments. Afreen also gathered information on how to test electric buses in nine municipalities that expressed interest in becoming demonstration trial sites.

    Although she and Fullerton are still analyzing the data, Afreen says her preliminary results show that there’s much interest in putting electric buses on the road.

    But there are a number of barriers to overcome, she says.

    “Municipalities have to redesign their infrastructure to provide electric lines so that buses can recharge very quickly,” says Afreen. “Also, the upfront expense is huge — a lot of transit agencies don’t have the money in their pocket to go for this.”

    Fullerton, Afreen’s supervisor, says the research she conducted will lay the groundwork for CUTRIC’s efforts to encourage the adoption of electric buses across Canada.

    “While it has already demonstrated clear environmental, social and economic benefits in other parts of the world, electric bus technology is still relatively new and adopting it represents a major funding commitment,” says Fullerton.

    “Public transit agencies and other stakeholders, such as the various levels of government that provide subsidies for transit infrastructure, want to make sure that the technology is reliable and that their money is well spent,” he says, adding that Afreen’s work helps identify stakeholders’ concerns and information needs.

    Afreen will share her Mitacs-supported internship experience at Brock’s Shift Conference Tuesday, April 30 and the Launch Forum Wednesday, May 1. Mitacs Director Rebecca Bourque and Office of Research Services staff will be join Afreen at Launch in the 10 to 11:30 a.m. session in the Cairns Atrium to explore how faculty member and graduate student teams can navigate Mitacs internship opportunities.

    “Mitacs internships offer graduate students a valuable experience working with industry or community organizations,” says Industry Liaison and Partnership Officer Iva Bruhova. “It is a chance to apply their research skills and gain employment-ready skills.”

    In addition to the Mitacs session, the Launch event offers two other sessions on how faculty and staff can support graduate students through designing individual development plans.

    For more information, contact ibruhova@brocku.ca or kperry@brocku.ca

    Tags: , , ,
    Categories: News

  • What is the future for electric buses in Canada?

    In this video, Dr. Christopher Fullerton discusses the future of electric buses in Canada.

     

     

    Tags: , , ,
    Categories: News

  • Build it and they will ride: Bicycle geography lessons for Toronto

    REPOSTED FROM THE CONVERSATION 
    December 17, 2018 | By Phillip Mackintosh

    To paraphrase urbanist James Howard Kunstler, Toronto city council is sleepwalking into the future. While 21st century Toronto’s shift to multi-modal transportation (public transit, automobiles, feet, bicycles, motor cycles, scooters, and skateboards, among others) is already under way, council stubbornly resists its formal implementation.

    We see the catastrophic results of city council’s inaction — negligence — every week. On Nov. 1, 2018, there were 16 vehicle/pedestrian collisions. This echoed another terrible 24-hour period in October of 2016, when 18 people were struck by motor vehicles. And still another in 2015, with 15 collisions in one day.

    Fatalities have risen from an average of 47 per year (2005-12) to 64 per year (2013-16), a consequence of the increase in people on automobilized streets. So far in 2018, 38 cyclists and pedestrians have died on Toronto streets.

    Part of the problem is that too many city councillors have repeatedly voted against bicyclists, bike lanes and multi-modality in general. One infamous and intractable (and now turfed) councillor said, “I do not believe bicycles should be on roads at all.” How odd. This is not what city councillors thought a century ago.

    An early attempt to envision multimodality, by the Toronto Civic Guild (Civic Guild Bulletin, Vol. 1 (June 1912): 10). Toronto Civic Guild, Author provided

    The ‘bicycle-friendly’ council

    At the beginning of the 20th century, Toronto city council embraced bicycles and their riders. City councillors worked with city engineers, bicycle clubs and the Canadian Wheelman’s Association (CWA) to pave streets with asphalt, organize cinder bicycle paths, pave and maintain the so-called “devil strips” (narrow strips of roadway between the opposite running streetcar tracks) and fix the interminable pot holes in the city’s ubiquitous cedar block roads. Council did this to encourage bicycling in a city where “tides of cyclists” used the streets. City councillors, many of whom were cyclists themselves, passed bylaws regulating cycling in 1895. These councillors appreciated that “the thousands of bicyclists of (the) city will hail with pleasure any move on part of the Council” to make the streets accessible to them.

    Why and how does the present city council not see the urban social geographic and economic utility of the bicycle? Likely because it needs a lesson in transportation geography — and it can’t get one soon enough. So here’s a simple, introductory concept: Build it and they will come.

    Traffic generation

    In 1900, Scribner’s magazine published a typically dry civil engineering piece by William Barclay Parsons, the chief engineer of the New York Rapid Transit Commission. In the article, Parsons imparted this transportation planning gem:

    “Whenever a new line has been built in New York, although the first effect may have been — but not always — to draw traffic from a parallel and near-by road, such withdrawal has been but temporary; and in a short time the natural growth of the city, stimulated by the new means of transportation offered, has been sufficient to provide requisite traffic for the new line and increased traffic for the old ones.”

    In other words, each time Parsons built a new subway line, he generated traffic on all the lines.

    This observation was not exclusive to Parsons. In his well-thumbed “Street Pavements and Paving Materials: A Manual of City Pavements” — also published in 1900 — Canadian road engineer George Tillson made a similar contention. Writing about the practices and problems of road paving, he insisted that:

    “It must be remembered that when any one road is selected to be made into a thoroughfare, traffic will be immediately diverted to it and the wear of the pavement abnormally increased.”

    For Tillson, the principle was: Pave it and they will come.

    American road-builder Robert Moses learned these same lessons through his automobility experiments in mid-20th century New York. He intuited that what Parsons was really talking about was traffic generation: the idea that a public transit line or, in his case, a highway, is constructed to increase traffic volume.

    Every time Moses built a road or bridge, traffic invariably choked it, and he would have to build another. This was intentional and he admitted it. As he said:

    “We wouldn’t have any American economy without the automobile business. That’s literally true… this is a great industry that has to go on, and has to keep on turning out cars and trucks and buses, and there have to be places for them to run. There have to be modern roads, modern arteries. Somebody’s got to build them …”

    So Moses and his road-building acolytes did, creating the automobile economy in the process.

    The transportation geography principle that Toronto Council must learn is this: build public transit and you will increase the demand for public transit routes and increase ridership. A public transit culture and economy will follow.

    Choose instead to build roads, and the principle remains the same: you will increase the demand for roads, and increase drivers and driving culture, resulting in an automobile economy.

    It works for bicycles, too…

    A cyclist rides past as workers lay down streetcar tracks at the Toronto intersection of Broadview and Queen. June 12, 1918. Arthur Goss/flickr, CC BY

    As Toronto undertook the arduous and contentious process of paving its streets with asphalt in the 1890s, the bicycle population swelled. The CWA estimated…

    Continue reading on The Conversation.

    Tags: , , , ,
    Categories: News

  • MACKINTOSH: Death by street – Toronto’s ongoing problems with the automobile

    Bicycle road sign. Photo by Andrew Gook/Unsplash

    Banning cars is one way to ensure pedestrian and cyclist safety on city streets. Andrew Gook/ Unsplash

    Phillip Gordon Mackintosh, Associate Professor of Geography and Tourism Studies at Brock, wrote a piece recently published in The Conversation about pedestrian and cyclist deaths and injuries in Toronto’s busy streets.

    Mackintosh writes:

    It seems every day, another pedestrian or cyclist is injured or killed in Toronto. In this respect the city is living a historical déjà vu: interwar Toronto (1919-1939) witnessed similar numbers of walkers and bikers — especially children — dying on its streets by the same cause: Automobiles.

    Yet, like their earlier cousins, today’s Torontonians hear the same platitudes voiced by police and community leaders: Cyclists and pedestrians must actively defend their own self-interests. In other words, cyclists and pedestrians must ultimately construct ways to protect themselves — by themselves — on thoroughfares full of dangerous motor vehicles.

    How odd that in 2018 the best Toronto’s policymakers and enforcers can do is to rehash a century-old idea that in practice failed catastrophically in the past? Historical fatalities involving children give us a glimpse into Toronto’s remarkably unimaginative approach to the street.

    Toronto’s leaders alone created this intolerable street-policy circumstance. Their virtual indenture to the car since the 1910s effectively renders them policy-impotent.

    Continue reading the full article here.

    Tags: , , ,
    Categories: News