Friday, May 1, 2009

The trip

This international scan tour, as they are known, is sponsored by AASHTO (the American Association of Highway and Transportation Officials), FHWA (Federal Highway Administration) and NCHRP (the National Cooperative Highway Research Program). We will be visiting Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany and the U.K. These countries were selected based on their exemplary bicycle and pedestrian safety records and their notoriety as having progressive policies and infrastructure for pedestrians and bicyclists. The tour members represent state DOTs, FHWA, AASHTO, city/regional government and the professional association for those involved in improving conditions for bicyclists and pedestrians - APBP (Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals).


  1. Looking forward to hearing about what you learn from the trip!

  2. Greetings from London. My son, Chris Parker, of Putney Vt., who's on Vt's whatever-it-is-commission, told me you were coming.

    London, indeed all Britain, is pretty good for cycling. You don't have to use paths, or bike lanes, or keep as far left as practicable if you don't feel like it. The drivers are reasonably good humoured, and the taxi drivers really are wonderful. A London taxi takes a bike, and without faffing around with silly racks like Copenhagen. I have to admit, though, that they don't go free in a taxi. The cost is the same as for a suitcase.

    Local trains generally take bikes outside rush hours, and my line takes them, counterflow only, even during the roush hour. Some of the tube takes bikes too.

    Riverboats don't, alas, although I gather TfL (Transport for London) is working on it, and I wouldn't be surprised if, for a suitable tip, you could negotiate something with the captain

    If you have time, and it's a Sunday, take a ride up the Mall, closed to (motorized) traffic on Sundays

    Get yourself a copy of the excellent, free, TfL Cycle Guide maps. It takes 14 of them to cover all London. Even though London is smaller than other world mega cities (the zoning is ferocious) London is still quite large. beware, though. The maps do not show one way streets, except for their "blue" or "yellow" streets.

    I haven't tried London's Journey Planner lately - see TfL's web sites. It seemed to get steadily worse, going from too slow, to too fast, and developing an abhorrance for anything except the most remote back streets. No journey planner in the world, of course, takes any note of hills.

    Most metro stations round the world put maps in the station, showing the walking distance (1/2 mile, 800 meters) and the cycling distance (2 miles/3km) London shows only the walkable area. London has an "accesibility" computer program, drawing pretty maps of that, but there's no version that assumes bikes are available to get to the station.

    Somebody has developed a program using house price and travel time data showing you where you can afford to live. It's on the web somewhere, but I forget where.

    From London you should take a train ride to Cambridge, the trown with a higher bike modal split than Amsterdam. On the way you should stop off at Stevenage, the town which showed the Dutch how to do things. it's one of the 1940s "New Towns", built on a green field site, so it was able to build the bike path network first, and then build the town round it. it's easier if you do it in that order. The major bike paths are 12' wide with an additional 8' sidewalk on one side for pedestrians. When they get to a road, the underpass is created by lowering the bike path by 4' and raising the roadway by 8'

    And there's bike training, a great success, the upcoming bike rental scheme, the Tour de France success, and more

    Jeremy Parker

    Borough Coordinator, Barnet branch, London Cycling Campaign (LCC)
    Barnet Right to Ride representative, CTC (Cyclists Touring Club)
    member, Planning and Enginnering Committee LCC