Transportation in China

This month we were invited to visit friends living in China.  We spent three weeks in Chengdu and Beijing, and honestly had a wonderful trip.

On our return I wrote a series of three articles for Vancouver’s Price Tags blog about what I experienced while travelling in those cities.

Why We Should Look More Closely at Beijing Subways
August 14, 2019
755 Words

Surveillance and the police state excepted, the Chinese subway systems are in most ways superior to the Skytrain. This was demonstrated when I returned home and found a Chengdu mother and child at the YVR Skytrain station struggling to figure out how to get to Surrey and how much it would cost. Once I helped her get her tickets she rode with me to the Waterfront station, out one set of turnstiles, up an elevator and around a newspaper kiosk, into another set of turnstiles, then was pointed to the Expo line. After a fifteen hour flight that was far more complex than any traveller should have to deal with.

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How China Reduces Automobile Usage
August 21, 2019
500 words

The Chinese government is still building and maintaining an impressive network of multi-lane freeways, highways, and flyovers — with regular toll plazas — to move large volumes of automobiles relatively efficiently, but the Chinese government has also tried to move the country (or at least the major cities) away from internal combustion engines.

As well as making lots of safe space for transit users, bikes, electric motorbikes, and pedestrians, the Chinese have done one other thing to improve the traffic mix in Chengdu and Beijing: they’ve made it really hard to own a car. Much like the licences and charges in London and Singapore, rules in China pretty much limit car use in the city to the very wealthy.

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China: Bike Share, Electric Motorbikes and Pedestrians
August 22, 2019
875 Words

Admittedly, lots of things are easier in a one-party police state, but by the same token, that doesn’t necessarily make them bad ideas.

On many arterials in Chengdu, you’ll find a full traffic lane on each side of the road dedicated to bicycles and electric motorbikes. These lanes are protected by low barriers – good looking metal railings, not concrete Jersey barriers – that keep slower vehicles safe from automobile traffic.

Outside of the bike lanes are sidewalks that are wider still, encouraging pedestrian traffic, although they’re also used by bikes and e-motorbikes. Despite these interlopers (I don’t actually know what the local rules are) the sidewalks feel spacious and safe. Tactile paving is widely used as well.

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Where’s local news in the Facebook age?

Published: Friends of Canadian Broadcasting (En français aussi)
August 6, 2019
1233 words

EThe Liberal government’s newspaper bailout will undoubtedly help big media players like Postmedia or The Toronto Star, but it will likely have little to offer the hundreds of smaller local newspapers in Canada. As many of these community newspapers shrink in size or get closed down entirely, a lot of Canadians are finding that the only remaining place to find out what’s happening in their hometown is Facebook.

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DNV Adds 17 new electric cars to its fleet

Published: The Global Canadian on-line (pdf)
May 9, 2019
406 words

The District of North Vancouver has added 17 new Nissan Leaf electric vehicles to its fleet.

According to fleetcarma.com the Leaf is one of the top two electric cars in Canada during 2018, a year that has seen EV purchases leap by more than 150 per cent.

Reducing carbon emissions was important to the District, but this purchase is about more than just jumping on the green bandwagon.

District Energy Manager Monica Samuda worked with fleet managers on the business case for moving to electric cars. They looked at five brands of vehicles and when the numbers were crunched, reduced maintenance costs and the reduction in green house gas emissions …

(Full Article can be read here)