Autonomous vehicles (AV) are often touted as being the transportation of the future. While the technology is still deeply questionable in its safety and efficacy, some network scientists, climate activists, and urban planners are convinced that AVs do not hold the key to futuristic travel, at least in cities. Instead, the simple manual—or not so simple electric—bicycle is the key to sustainable cities with less congestion and increased mobility. Cyclo-logisitics are experiencing a renaissance in Europe, where cities are physically adapting to biking.
The 2021 COP26 summit in Glasgow may have primarily addressed low-emission cars when discussing transportation, but bicycle activists made their points heard. According to these enthusiasts, money talks. The many billions spent on research and development of new auto options dwarfs the only about two billion dollars spent on bike and pedestrian initiatives across the European Union in the past decade. However, despite a lack of a big-money lobby, the virtues of bike transport in urban traffic have spoken for themselves.
Cargo e-bikes have experienced rapid growth in the past few years. They are nimble and quicker than vans, their paths difficult to replicate with an algorithm. For personal use, France is offering up to four thousand euros to people who trade in their car for an e-bike. In Europe, sales of these bikes have doubled the number of electric vehicles sold in 2021. Much like COP26 eventually recognized the bike as a critical vehicle of the future, the evolving nature of cyclo-logistics and the global city recognize it too.
Meanwhile, cities around the world have been improving their bicycle infrastructure; data-driven algorithms have promoted “optimal bicycle network growth.” Bring it on; bikes are less climate-damaging than cars, promote healthy exercise, and solve many of the congestion problems faced by the modern city.
Network scientists working on “cyclo-logistics” demonstrate how bicycles, not self-driving vehicles, are the urban transport of the future.
h/t: [Next City]