The concept of “effective speed”

16 10 2012

On The Conversation, a science based news site started by some Australian universities, is a very interesting article on the concept of “effective speed”.

Effective speed is the time your mode of transport costs in time to use, plus the time you have to work to pay for the cost of that transport.

From the article: “For pedestrians, this time is virtually nil. For cyclists it is minimal. For car drivers, the time spent earning the money to pay for all the costs of cars is usually much greater than the time spent driving.

So the idea is that it may take 30 minutes to drive to work, so that’s an hour a day on the car use, and then the costs of the petrol are say $80 a week, and the registration, insurance, maintenance, repairs, the WOF,  the fluffy dice, interest costs on the loan, and the initial cost of the car means the cost of the car to run other than petrol is say $800 a month, and that is suddenly 2 hours a day extra working to pay for it all.  So that’s an effective speed of 3 hours a day. (The numbers are the first thing that came into my head, don’t hold me to them.)

Maybe the bus ride takes 40 minutes and costs $8 a day, which takes 20 minutes of work to pay for.

Catching the bus therefore liberates you by 2 hours a day.

Some of the comments say things like “woe there cowboy. A car is a necessity and is a fixed cost”, and it is true everyone’s effective speed calculus is going to be different because all of our situations are different, but going from a 2 car family to a 1 car family pays back bigtime with extra time, and if you can work out a way to not own a car, and it works for you than that can be truly liberating.

It’s a pity that “effective speed” isn’t used in the calculations for whether roading projects go ahead. They’re usually justified by their supposed time benefits which is a system that is frequently subject to some dodgy accounting  and completely ignores the mathematics of induced demand.

Again from the article:“Unlike drivers, increases in trip speed for cyclists could result in a substantial increase in their effective speed. This is because the main time component for cycling is the time spent on the bicycle. Increases in trip speeds for cyclists could be achieved with minimal cost.”

If governments understand the concept of effective speed they will also appreciate the futility of trying to save time by trying to increase the average trip speeds of private motor vehicles. Cities that invest most effectively in cycling infrastructure will have more time and money to devote to things other than transport, including health promotion.

Improving urban health might be as simple as valuing the time of cyclists more than the time of motorists.”

It makes building the Great Harbour Way look pretty clever, and building Transmission Gully look pretty stupid.


The Friendly Cyclist

8 08 2012

Everyone in NZ, if not the World, has already found out about the fantastic little cycling in Wellington videos at The Friendly Cyclist.

They scored a coup getting this bloke to narrate:

They are well put together, and amusing, and I congratulate everyone involved. You all have a Bacon Number of 2 with Hugh Laurie, and a Bacon number of 3 with Allen Toussaint. (Stephen can subtract 1 from those numbers)

So blow your own horn everybody.

Extra Channels New Zealand

22 04 2012

Dear loyal subscribers,

I’ve got a new blog called Extra Channels New Zealand and on it is my first post – Why New Zealand should fund SBS the Australian public broadcaster.

The blog will be about receiving TV channels that aren’t Freeview or Sky, mainly through satellite TV, but also internet TV, because life is too short to watch Shortland Street.

As for the cycleway blog – I’ve been pretty quiet. It’s not defunct. I haven’t had much to say. I still have a few ideas formulated in the old noggin, but I’ve recently lacked the wherewithal to write them up. I also don’t live or work in Welly anymore so its hard to see what goes on day to day. I could hazard a guess that work hasn’t begun on the Petone – Ngauranga cycleway. Patience is required if you were waiting for any posts (or a safe route to Petone). I’ve not moved far, but I seldom come in to town these days.

Cheers, Matty T

Quality used Japanese bikes in Wellington

18 06 2010

This is a free plug for some people I’m yet to meet, but I love their idea. It’s such a great idea:

Quality refurbished Mamachari bicycles from Japan are being restored and sold in Wellington.

Prices start just under $300 for restored foldables and sit-ups.

See this link to see what they’re up to and what’s in stock.

Something brilliant in Palmerston North

13 05 2010

Over on the Gondola Project there is an interesting titbit about a thing called PalmyLink. What they’re calling an aerial ropeway, but otherwise known in New Zealand as a gondola. Also known as Cable Propelled Technology to others. From the Square along Fitzherbert Avenue, over the Manawatu River and up the hill to the University. Brilliant!!!

Look at this: Palmylink – have a look at the website and this video.

I hope it gets built – and extended to the train station and the airport (and the Capital Connection runs more than once a day). And I hope you can put your bike on it. It’ll be the 4th reason why Palmerston North is cool. Being truly clean and green it could be powered by the windfarms.

After all Palmerston North is the south of the North Island’s premier city.

It seems to bypass the Hokowhitu campus though. 😦

Something to be proud of New Zealand

12 04 2010

Apparently New Zealand roads are unsafe, and our drivers are aggressive and dangerous. The German Embassy is considering issuing  a travel advisory telling it’s citizens that it is unsafe to cycle in New Zealand. Two German cycle tourists have been killed in the last year. Here is the story in the Dominion post.

And back in Adelaide, yet another cyclist has been killed on the roads and the comments are once again interesting, because apparently it is all the cyclists faults because they just don’t get out of the way of the speeding truckies and motorists who think they own the roads.

Contrast this to this blog post in the Netherlands. It’s in Dutch of course, but look at the photo. Between Zuidhorn and Groningen this cycle lane is being replaced with a better one, because it isn’t good enough. In New Zealand we can only dream of having anything half as good as what isn’t good enough for the Dutch.

So there you go. If you live in Germany, save on the airfare, and have a cycling holiday in Holland. It’s safer, and you’ll be saved of all the embarassing Lord of the Rings references too. Afterwards in your holiday photos you can photoshop in some mountains and just pretend you came to New Zealand. It could save your life.

Good news and bad news about the bicycle in Australia

4 04 2010

Bad News

As an Adelaidean, living for the moment outside of Australia, it is sometimes hard seeing things back home and wondering what the hell is going on back there. Australia is already viewed by the rest of the world as a place where cyclists are hated, and where the helmet laws are viewed as an example of what not to do. And Australian kids are amongst the fattest on Earth.

Which is all why stories like this of the Victorian Employers Chamber of Commerce calling for bike licenses (and the comments it inspires) are disheartening.

But at least one bit of good news is that the Victorian Roads Minister (note, not a Conservative, but a Labor politician) doesn’t buy it for a second :

Roads Minister Tim Pallas said he did not support the idea of registering bikes.

“There’s not one country in the world that has in place a licensing or registration system for bikes,” he said.

“We’re about encouraging people to look at cycling as a viable transport option.”

Good News

There is some good news coming out of Adelaide: This Greenways and Cycle Paths Policy Document from the South Australian Labor Party. They were facing re-election, and they won, so it looks like the Adelaide to Marino Rocks Greenway is going to get built. Curiously on the map I don’t know why the old steam train route to Glenelg that is now the East-West Bikeway isn’t on the map. I had a few nice rides on that in ye olde days (and a Hope Valley to Glenelg walk once, where no one would sit next to me on a packed tram on the ride home)

So everyone in Adelaide, and in Melbourne keep cycling, and keep voting to keep those evil Chamber of Commerce type people out of positions of power.