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Home > Getting around today > Pedestrians

“Let’s walk there!”

Pedestrian signage
Among the different options available for the development of sustainable mobility, we often forget the most natural of all: walking! Several cities now want to encourage city-dwellers to use their feet instead of a tube ticket, at least for short journeys. Bicycles and electric cars are also getting on their way…

Hit of the week

Using your feet instead of public transport in order to relieve overcrowding on the latter: this is the idea behind the “Legible London” project. In Raleigh (North Caroline, United States), walking is also the order of the day, as reported on TheCityFix. Signs have been put up to indicate the time it takes to get from one part of town to another on foot or using public transport. The ultimate aim of this campaign is to reduce car journeys.

Certain people are taking this further, by walking across an entire country rather than just a town! This is the objective set by Laurent Granier and Aurélie Derreumaux, who set out in summer 2011 from a small French town on the Belgian border and are currently venturing through the Pyrenees. And the project is not just a whim for these two hikers: they are walking for Handicap International and every kilometre completed is sponsored for the benefit of the charity (just over £5,000 so far). On the way, they have been relying on local community solidarity to guide, lodge and feed them. So, an experience touching on humanity, ecology and solidarity, reported by France info.

Do intelligent public road systems hold the future for towns? Several solutions are being considered to make life easier for pedestrians, cyclists and cars in towns. Cities such as London and Stockholm have already implemented congestion schemes banning cars from certain parts of the town. However, the most innovative solution is the following: the digital street or, in other words, roads and pavements that adapt to the demand of their users. According to Innovcity, automated mobility is thus the revolution of the future.

The continued success of the electric car

One of the biggest issues concerning electric vehicles is that of range, as charging infrastructures are very poorly developed in France at the moment. As of July 2012, this problem should be partly resolved with the implementation of the decree of 25th July 2011 regarding equipment dedicated to electric or hybrid vehicle charging. This decree imposes a genuine right to have charging means available, notably in car parks for new office and housing blocks, which must be fitted with charging equipment for electric or hybrid vehicles.

Is the United States losing interest in the electric sector? In any case, this is the assessment given by the Hybrid-car blog website. Although the economic crisis may explain consumers’ disengagement in 2008, this disengagement would appear to be more problematic today since the US economy is undergoing a certain revival. So, one to watch.

Electric cars are popular in urban zones as they seem more adapted to them. So what happens when the town dweller wants to take a trip? The Swiss manufacturer Rinspeed appears to have found a solution by creating a trailer adapted to electric cars. Motorists can thus change their small electric city car into a small pick-up truck. The Voitureé website adds that this trailer can also double the car’s horsepower thanks to a petrol engine unit.

Here’s something that should encourage people to buy ecological vehicles: free tolls! The proposal that cars running off alternative energy should not pay tolls has been submitted to the different presidential election candidates and published online on the Avere-France website, France Mobilité Electrique.

A heavy news week for cycling

A bicycle that can adapt to a child as he or she grows? This is now a reality with "Grow", a great innovation proposed by the industrial designer Alex Fernandez Camps. Thanks to a system that allows the saddle and, above all, the frame and the handlebars to be adjusted, there’s no longer any need to buy a new bike every time your child has a growth spurt. With a service life that is 2.5 times longer than the average, Grow is a genuine “green” bike.

Does cycling have an image problem? Les Echos website raises this question. For, according to the author, although the bicycle displayed genuine working class attributes in the past, it has today been claimed by city-centre dwelling “bobos” (bourgeois bohemians) whose behaviour widely contributes to its tarnished image in terms of public opinion.

Bike sharing has come to Verona! In fact, the new system will be inaugurated in the Italian city this month (March 2012). It will therefore soon be possible to meander through the city of “Romeo and Juliet” on a bicycle whose design is similar to the Parisian Velib’. This is also a good opportunity to take another look at the bike-sharing blog, which is dedicated to bike sharing all over the world.

Finally, the Treehugger website goes back in time to tell us something that is as surprising as it is significant: in the 1940s, if a cyclist got knocked over, they were always considered responsible for the accident! Although this aberration could be down to Americans loving their cars, we’re glad to note a real change in attitudes on the other side of the Atlantic.

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