Dave Holladay began his presentation by pointing out that public transport provides a service between stations or bus stops, but in these cases there is a gap in the journey and there is a need to fill that gap. Journeys are complete when made from door to door, but public transport does not offer such a service as passengers have to make their way to either the station or bus stop and on arrival at their destination they face the same problem, i.e. getting from the bus stop or station to their final destination.
Public Transport is good at moving consolidated loads between defined points at an optimum speed, but it needs to be integrated with personal journeys so as to facilitate the delivery of the unique elements of a journey. These journeys between home and bus stop or rail station and from the rail station or bus stop to the final destination can be called "shoulder journeys".
Shoulder journeys make the whole journey door to door and include, for example, walking time, waiting time, time to find a parking space if driving, delays caused by unforeseen occurrences, time to get to the final destination, usually by walking. Walking, however, begins to become unattractive when the distances to be covered exceeds 400 metres for buses and 800 metres to the nearest railway station.
This is where cycling slots in and it is considered to work best when the distances involved in between 1.5 Km and 4 Km. The advantages of cycling are that there is a guaranteed journey time with no need to wait for buses or other connections and that is can save a considerable amount of money. It has been estimated that in London, for example, cycling can save commuters up to £500 per annum.
Cycling also enables faster transfers between modes of transport, for example, by the provision of cycle parking close to bus stops or railway platforms. At some main line stations, dedicated cycle facilities are provided so that commuters can leave their cycles at the station, and although there may be a charge for secure cycle parking, the savings made can outweigh the costs.
An example of the success of providing facilities for cyclists is in Glasgow where the Council had provided cycle stands for bikes around the city. These are designed to accommodate two bicycles, but there are numerous instances of more cycles using them at the same time and one example Dave Holladay showed, was of 7 bikes at such a stand, i.e. 350% usage of the facility.
However, problems often arise for cyclists due to bad design of cycle routes and infrastructure as well handling of the demand for a service. Examples are with older railway rolling stock where there are no facilities to accommodate bikes on trains. More modern trains so address such issues, especially on rolling stock designed to accommodate wheelchair users.
But it is not all about the passenger, as cycling has a contribution to make in freight transport. Mr. Holladay showed that some 90% of all deliveries made in city centres weigh under 30kg and these are usually transported by delivery vans of trucks up to 7500 kg weight. These loads can be carried on foot or on a bike or a sack truck. He showed that one van costing in the region of £10,000 to provide with a payload capability of up t 2,000kg and top speed of 70 mph will often be operating at 7 mph in city centres and making an average of 5 drops per hour.
Report by John Fender.
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