Archive for the Category ◊ Transportation ◊

• Tuesday, August 05th, 2014

Source: Camila Duarte

Sustainable TranportationFrom June 2 to 6, Concordia’s Department of Geography, Planning and Environment is seeing to address these developments with One City: One Week, a two-part workshop about transportation infrastructure and the changing face of sustainable transportation in Montreal.

Zachary Patterson, an assistant professor in the department, explains that the conference aims “to better integrate planning for different modes of eco-friendly transport in order to improve them and increase their use.”

To that end, the first part — “Bike Lab Montréal 2014,” co-organized by Vélo Québec — examines the realities of urban cycling. On June 2 and 3, experts from the organization, as well as Quebec’s transport ministry and Polytechnique Montréal, are leading a series of presentations, discussions and workshops on the city’s bicycle infrastructure. 

“‘Bike Lab Montréal 2014’ will really be out in the field,” Patterson says. “They’ll be going to different intersections, counting cyclists, assessing areas and looking at particular locations that it may be possible to improve.”

The second half of the conference, the “Canada-Germany Hands-On Sustainable Urban Mobility Workshop” from June 4 to 6, is an applied research event aimed at researchers, students and transportation planners.

Over the course of three days, academics from institutions as diverse as the University of Waterloo, Portland State University and the Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences will discuss the latest findings on sustainable urban mobility. 

Patterson expects to learn a lot from his European colleagues. 

“Germany is really far ahead in terms of its integration of transport infrastructure, including its cycling infrastructure, and the systems it has.”

Check out the complete One City: One Week program.

• Thursday, December 06th, 2012

There have been many stories recently about how North America will achieve energy independence soon, and how the Peak Oil myth is dead (see: Marketwatch, the Wall Street Journal, the San Francisco Chronicle). Peak oil is not dead, it’s just sleeping. Math doesn’t go away just because you don’t like the answers.

The scale of the problem dwarfs any possible combination of solutions including: fracking, oil shale, natural gas, tar sands and biofuels. Here is a graphic from the car insurance association advising everyone to start planning for a radically different future when gasoline is very expensive. The question is not IF Peak Oil occurs, it’s just a matter of when:

Source: TransitionVoice

Peak Oil graphic

• Tuesday, October 30th, 2012
Electric Charging Stations for cars

Electric Charging Station for Cars

Source:  Hybrid Cars

The City of Montréal announced its intention to join Québec’s The Electric Circuit.

Montréal, the provinces’ metropolis, will roll-out public charging stations for electric vehicles on its territory in 2013.

“This project is another step in reaching our target to reduce Montrealers’ greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2020, based on 1990 levels” said Alan De Sousa, Vice-President of the City of Montréal’s Executive Committee and responsible for sustainable development, the environment and parks. “The network of charging stations will be rolled-out gradually, in close collaboration with interested boroughs, and will encourage Montrealers to seriously consider electric vehicles.”

Through The Electric Circuit, the City of Montréal will offer its boroughs the possibility of purchasing and installing charging stations. The City and interested boroughs intend on choosing the locations with the greatest potential to ensure the best possible geographical distribution. According to The Electric Circuit, more than ten boroughs have already expressed their interest.

In addition to these charging stations, a pilot project for the installation of curbside charging stations will be implemented downtown Montréal.

This project will help determine the nature and scope curbside public charging needs. It will be a first in Québec and Canada.

• Thursday, September 27th, 2012
wireless electric car recharger

Tesla’s wireless electric car recharger

This is neat, although I would prefer the development of a high-speed train from Montreal to Miami.

Source: Activist Post

Tesla Motors today unveiled its highly anticipated Supercharger network. Constructed in secret, Tesla revealed the locations of the first six Supercharger stations, which will allow the Model S to travel long distances with ultra fast charging throughout California, parts of Nevada and Arizona.

Each solar power system is designed to generate more energy from the sun over the course of a year than is consumed by Tesla vehicles using the Supercharger. This results in a slight net positive transfer of sunlight generated power back to the electricity grid. In addition to lowering the cost of electricity, this addresses a commonly held misunderstanding that charging an electric car simply pushes carbon emissions to the power plant. The Supercharger system will always generate more power from sunlight than Model S customers use for driving. By adding even a small solar system at their home, electric car owners can extend this same principle to local city driving too.

The six California locations unveiled today are just the beginning. By next year, we plan to install Superchargers in high traffic corridors across the continental United States, enabling fast, purely electric travel from Vancouver to San Diego, Miami to Montreal and Los Angeles to New York. Tesla will also begin installing Superchargers in Europe and Asia in the second half of 2013.

• Saturday, August 25th, 2012

The sub-title for this post is, “Stop Driving and Learn How to Love BMW (Biking, Metro-car culture breaks downing and Walking) in Montreal”

Source: Peak Prosperity

India’s recent series of power blackouts, in which 600 million people lost electricity for several days, reminds us of the torrid pace at which populations in the developing world have moved onto the powergrid. Unfortunately, this great transition has been so rapid that infrastructure has mostly been unable to meet demand. India itself has failed to meets its own power capacity addition targets every year since 1951…

But the story of India’s inadequate infrastructure is only one part of the difficult, global transition away from liquid fossil fuels. Over the past decade, the majority of new energy demand has been met not through global oil, but through growth in electrical power.

Frankly, this should be no surprise. After all, global production of oil started to flatten more than seven years ago, in 2005. And the developing world, which garners headlines for its increased demand for oil, is running mainly on coal-fired electrical power. There is no question that the non-OECD countries are leading the way as liquid-based transport – automobiles and airlines – have entered longterm decline.

Why, therefore, do policy makers in both the developing and developed world continue to invest in automobile infrastructure?

Interestingly, instead of investing in the powergrid, India embarked earlier last decade on a massive highway project, known as the Great Quadrilateral. This created a kind of grand, national circular whose “four and six-lane, 3,625 miles run through 13 states and India’s four largest cities: New Delhi, Calcutta, Chennai (formerly Madras), and Mumbai (formerly Bombay),” according to a 2005 New York Times article. The piece continues, describing the ongoing, 15-year effort (to be completed this year) as “the most ambitious infrastructure project since independence in 1947 and the British building of the subcontinent’s railway network the century before.”

Alas, the irony is rich. India conceived of this highway project as oil prices hit deep lows at the end of the past millennium. Now that the highway network is constructed and oil prices have more than quadrupled, it is massive investment in the powergrid that hundreds of millions of Indians so desperately need instead—not road building.

• Friday, June 15th, 2012

Source: The Free Press

This spring and summer, Côte St. Luc is offering a series of free, hands-on workshops and lectures for citizens wishing to work towards building a sustainable future for their community. The series, called “Doing Your Part: Building a Sustainable Future Together,” will show how you can make small changes in your home, garden, and neighborhood that will impact the environment for future generations.

All events will be held at 7 pm in the Eleanor London Côte Saint-Luc Public Library, 5851 Cavendish Blvd. Upcoming dates and topics include:

  • Energy Smart: Tips and Tricks to an Energy Efficient Home (June 20);
  • The Enchantment of Trees, From Roots to Canopy (July 4);
  • Become a Locavore, Bringing Local Food to Your Table (July 18);
  • Leave the Car at Home, Get Walking and Get Healthy (August 1).

Admission is free to all events, and details can be obtained by phoning 514.485.6900.

• Thursday, June 07th, 2012

How much would you pay to rent a bicycle for 24 hours from Bixi, the bike sharing service? According to the Bixi customer service manager “Francesco”, $101.50 is an appropriate charge to rent 1 bike for 1 day. That’s right, Bixi charges over $100 to rent a heavy, clunky, 3-speed bike for one day.

That’s what I learned after after inspecting my credit card bill online:

Bixi sucks, misleads consumer

 I then called Bixi to have this clearly outrageous situation corrected. The listed price on every Bixi terminal is $7 for a 24 hour period, or so I thought:

Bixi is expensive

But since I failed to understand their strange rules and pricing scheme, I was charged over $100! This is completely misleading since in big, bold and red letters it says, “24h $7“. According to Bixi, customers are required to return the bike every half an hour, or else face this type of larcenous billing.

To rent a car for 1 day costs about $50, including all taxes and fees. So, why would anyone rent a bike for $100 for one day? It is stupid (or intentionally deceptive) and defeats the purpose of Bixi which I thought was to make the air cleaner and Montreal a more sustainable city.

It’s sad to see these marketing tactics from a company that positions itself as green and sustainable. You expect deceptive pricing from the cable TV company or from a mobile phone company, but Bixi?

So, please learn from my mistake and Bixi’s misleading signs. If you want to rent a bike for any length of time longer than 30 minutes, completely avoid Bixi. For two 1-day rentals you would be better off financially buying a new bike at a department store.

• Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Investments in bike paths and walk ways pay offSource:

If you ever doubted whether a small investment in biking and walking could have a large impact, here is your proof.

The last transportation law, SAFETEA-LU, provided four communities with four years of funding to build an infrastructure network for nonmotorized transportation (a fancy way of saying “sidewalks and bike paths”). It wasn’t a lot of money — $25 million each to Columbia, Missouri; Marin County, California; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Sheboygan County, Wisconsin.

The program built 333 miles of on-street biking and walking routes, 23 of off-street facilities, and 5,727 bike parking spaces in the four municipalities — not to mention some outreach and education. Not bad, especially when you consider that $100 million would only buy about five miles of new four-lane highway in an urbanized area…

The FHWA report is full of data showing how a small down payment on active transportation can lead — quickly — to dramatic improvements in air quality, traffic levels, and public health.

The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a major supporter of the pilot program, called it a “raging success.”

“These are not all typical, bike-friendly cities,” said Marianne Fowler, RTC’s senior vice president of federal relations. ”These four communities represent a solid cross-section of America. Even in places like Sheboygan, which doesn’t have urban density, has cold winters, and has had almost no experience with biking and walking initiatives in the past, locals have rapidly become champions because they have seen the real-time effects, the actual benefits to their community.”

Fowler went on to say that with the evidence now in black and white before them, Congressional representatives must now recognize that continued investment in walking in biking represents terrific value for American taxpayers.

“The incongruous thing is that Congress, with a simple, low-cost solution to so many transportation problems right here in front of them, can’t see the people for the cars,” she said.

• Monday, May 07th, 2012

turcot interchangeRoads fly.

The most prominent example in Montreal is the Turcot intersection. The roads fly 10, 20, maybe 30 meters in the air with steel-reinforced concrete holding them up.

All of this to keep the happy-motoring way of life alive. What insanity.

Source: Montreal Gazette

Representatives of local residents, environmental groups and the municipal opposition said the Turcot plan still fails to offer viable public-transportation alternatives and will only increase automobile traffic and lower the quality of life in nearby neighbourhoods such as St. Henri and Côte St. Paul.

“It’s totally car-focused,” said Shannon Franssen, coordinator of Solidarité Saint-Henri. “For the neighbourhood, it’s disastrous.”

Mayor Benoît Dorais and city councillor Véronique Fournier of the Sud-Ouest borough said the changes are no more than window dressing on a project they described as “worthy of the 1950s.”

“We need to send a clear signal that transportation in Montreal and in the Montreal region needs to change,” Fournier said.

“It’s certain the project in its final version has not responded in any way to that concern.”

The project, slated for completion in 2018, will also have dire consequences for the Côte St. Paul district, where residents will be forced to use a 45-metre tunnel to be built under the new highway, Fournier charged.

“You are mortgaging the future of this whole area of Montreal,” she said.

Dubé said traffic is expected to rise by a little more than two per cent on the westend road junction, used by 300,000 vehicles daily.

But opponents predicted that, in fact, traffic will increase substantially on the new interchange.

Car ridership in the Montreal area has jumped by 350,000 vehicles in the past decade and the project offers no measures to halt that trend, Bergeron said.

He said the success of the métro to Laval proves that commuters will choose public transportation if an efficient option is available.

Turcot offers a golden opportunity to make that shift, he said.”The moment to make the change is now,” he said. Inducing commuters to leave their cars at home would require attractive alternatives like state-of-theart, frequent trains or trams – not just a few extra bus lanes, Bergeron said.

In its current form, the Turcot plan will set back sustainable transportation in Montreal by a century, Bergeron predicted.

“If we do this with Turcot, the message we’re sending is that we intend to do the same thing with Notre Dame St. E., we intend to do the same thing with the Bonaventure Autoroute, and that is going to take us to the end of the 21st century,” Bergeron said.

“Only then will we be able to move away from 1950′s style development.”

• Friday, April 27th, 2012

Taxi sharing mobile appSource: Digital Journal

The taxi-sharing service will be known as Tous les Jours ( in French and Every Day ( in English and will be accessible from a web platform and on smartphones. Essentially, depending on the specific departure and arrival points, users will be able to travel with one, two or even three other taxi service users.

The goal of this matching system is therefore to compete with solo car commuting. The ultimate goal of the project is to reduce the environmental impact of the trips people take, improve public health and help users cut down on their travel costs.