Our weekly “New Starts” roundup of new and newsworthy transportation projects worldwide.
Report Recommends Rules of the Road for Micromobility Vehicles
E-bikes, e-scooters and motorized skateboards have caught on as cheap, convenient ways to get around cities faster. But their presence has caused some to worry about their safety and others to worry about the potential for chaos on the sidewalks as the vehicles share space with slower pedestrians.
A just-released report by the International Transport Forum should put fears about the former to rest. It also offers recommendations for minimizing the latter.
As reported in Metro Magazine, the “Safe Micromobility” report by the ITF’s Corporate Partnership Board finds that e-scooter users face no greater risk of injury than cyclists do. It also finds that motor vehicles are involved in 80 percent of all fatal e-scooter and bicycle crashes and that overall traffic safety would improve if car trips were replaced by e-scooter or bike trips.
It also concludes that the rapid growth and evolution of micro-transport vehicles requires governments to put in place regulations that anticipate that future growth and ensure the safety of pedestrians and micro-vehicle users alike. It contains 10 recommendations for local policymakers in support of those goals. Some of the key recommendations:
- Create protected space for micromobility vehicles along the lines of bike lanes. Concurrently, micro-vehicles should be banned from sidewalks or subjected to low speed limits on them.
- Apply the same rules to low-speed e-vehicles and bikes. Faster e-vehicles should be regulated like mopeds.
- Address the risks motor vehicles pose to other road users by training motorists on how to avoid and reduce the likelihood of collisions, including cycle training in school curricula, and imposing lower speed limits of 30 km/h (19 mph) or less where more vulnerable road users share space with motor vehicles.
- Reduce speeding and drunk operation across all classes of vehicles.
- Use micro-vehicles to collect more data about street and road conditions and collect data on micro-vehicle trips and crashes.
- Reduce the risks posed by support vehicles used to service and reposition micro-vehicles.
The members of the Corporate Partnership Board who produced this report are Bird, Bosch, Grin, Incheon Airport, Kapsch TrafficCom AG, Michelin, PTV Group, Toyota and Uber.
Editorial Backs Better Integration of Bay Area Transit
What good would a “Faster Bay Area” be if riders still have to deal with uncoordinated fares, schedules and transfers?
The editors of the Marin Independent Journal ask this question implicitly in a Feb. 17 editorial, “Now is the time to push for bringing all Bay Area transit together.” The editorial supports a bill in the state Assembly that aims to produce a unified fare structure and coordinated scheduling across the 27 different agencies that manage transit service in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The editorial points to the multi-jurisdictional Clipper card as the foundation on which friction-free fares can be built. It also says that the goals of the bill sponsored by state Assembly member David Chiu of San Francisco should be achievable without new taxes. At the same time, it acknowledges that the various transit agencies will be concerned about how to pay for the increased coordination.
Achieving this, the editorial says, should not require the merging of agencies into a single regional bureaucracy either. But it notes that, as with any complex undertaking, the devil is in the details. In order to get those right, it concludes, all involved parties need to put the interests of the riders and taxpayers first.
Test Runs Begin on Paris Metro Extension
The Grand Paris public transport expansion program inched another step closer to its goal of connecting the entire Greater Paris region Tuesday as test runs began on a 6.4-km (4-mile) extension of Paris Metro Line 14.
The International Railway Journal reports that the underground extension runs north from the line’s current northern terminus at St. Lazare to Mairie de Saint-Ouen and a new storage yard. The three intermediate stations on the extension all provide interchange with other lines.
A further northward extension of Line 14 is slated to open in 2024. That extension, to St-Denis Playel, will connect with new lines 15 and 17, both being built as part of the Grand Paris project. A 14-km (8.7-mile) southern extension from Olympiades to Orly Airport will also open that year.
Know of a project that should be featured in this column? Send a Tweet with links to @MarketStEl using the hashtag #newstarts.
Next City contributor Sandy Smith is the home and real estate editor at Philadelphia magazine. Over the years, his work has appeared in Hidden City Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Inquirer and other local and regional publications. His interest in cities stretches back to his youth in Kansas City, and his career in journalism and media relations extends back that far as well.