» Commuters on bikes could aid in filling up the electricity grid, and get free transport tickets in exchange.
As bike sharing becomes more and more popular in cities around the world, innovations in technology may make the systems a vital element of the urban landscape. Indeed, rather than simply a mobility tool, biking could become a power source — at least according to industrial designer Chi-Yu Chen, working at the Royal College of Art.
Mr. Chen’s bike design is innovative even as it uses standard technologies. By adding batteries to bikes and incorporating a dynamo in the wheel, the vehicles become mobile power stations, with electricity being created as commuters turn the wheels and apply power to the brakes. When cyclists return bikes to a station as part of a public rental scheme, the batteries would empty out their charge, moving the power into the general
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» Transit’s environmental credibility depends on a switch away from carbon-based fuels — And a renewed sense that well-designed public transportation produces density.
Straight to the point: There are a panoply of choices to be made when investing in public transportation, but there is never an excuse for minimizing the negative environmental effects of a transit vehicle.
Some American public transportation agencies run bus fleets that consume on average a gasoline-equivalent 25 miles per gallon. This means — and this must be interpreted literally — that there are plenty of cars that, when driven from one point to another, are less carbon-intensive even with only one passenger than buses running the same route.
This fact is a disappointing one for transit advocates who would promote the idea that transit is, on face value, always more ecologically conscious than private transportation. It is a letdown to discover that the simple formula — more people
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» Network will be 67% electrified by 2017.
Andrew Adonis, the United Kingdom’s Secretary of State for Transport, announced yesterday that the government would invest £200 million in the increased electrification of the railway system, adding to a commitment made last summer and furthering the country’s investment in carbon-friendly transportation systems.
According to Mr. Adonis, new funds would be allocated by 2016 to three projects in Northwest England: a connection between Blackpool and the West Coast Main Line; a link between Manchester and Euxton Junction; and a corridor between Huyton and Wigan. This comes in addition to the £1.1 billion worth of announcements made in July, which included the electrification of the corridor between Liverpool and Manchester and the installation of overhead catenary along the Great Western Main Line between London and Reading, Bristol, Cardiff, and Oxford. The line between Bedford and
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Project requires help from international organizations such as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank before it can get off the ground.
Vietnam Railways Corp announced today that it will use Japanese Shinkansen technology for its planned high-speed rail line between the capital Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The 1,000-mi railway will replace a train line originally built during French colonial control, covering most of the country’s north-south length. Though the mammoth project has yet to be funded, Japanese train manufacturers took heart in the news as they begin their push into international markets such as the United States.
Hanoi and Ho Chi Mihn City are Vietnam’s two largest cities, and their metropolitan areas represent about 10% of the country’s population alone. The new railway would also provide fast access to major cities such as Vinh and Nha Trang, each on the country’s coast. The first
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Investments in public transportation aren’t worth as much if we can’t rely on environmentally friendly power sources.
Earlier this year, Eurostar, which operates trains between London and the European continent, announced that it had met its goal of a 25% reduction in carbon emissions just two years after setting the target for itself. Eurostar, like most high-speed lines, is powered by electric catenary, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the majority of its carbon savings came from buying energy from more environmentally friendly power plants. All the company had to do was buy more of its power from France, rather than England, because the former country relies far more on nuclear plants than the latter, whose electricity is largely produced by dirty coal.
Eurostar’s example is a case in point: transportation systems relying on electricity can be dirty or clean, all depending on where the power is coming from. This
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