Showing posts with label airport. Show all posts
Showing posts with label airport. Show all posts

29 July 2013

Episode 03 - Intermodality - Top 10 Design Elements in Copenhagen's Bicycle Culture

Here in Episode 03 of our series produced by über intern Ivan Conte we explore how Intermodality is a key to Copenhagen's success as a bicycle-friendly city.

You should be able to have your bicycle with you from the moment you leave your home until you get back - all day and night long - without a hitch.

Intermodality, when done right, is Supermodality.


15 February 2013


The city of Portland, Oregon in the USA is one of , if not the most progressive cities in North America when it comes to building bicycle infrastructure. While it pales in comparison to Copenhagen, Portland has managed to build a network enticing enough to have raised the bicycle-to-work/study share up to 6% which is remarkable if you understand that "Portland was a city like any other US city in the 1980s and early 1990s in terms of transportation behavior". (Although we've heard they only do their bike count in June, not like Copenhagen, for example, that counts at over 40 permanent locations and another 160 intermittent locations, but we'll leave that alone for now.)

In other words addicted to the car; though to be fair, Portland did build one of the first post-WW2 Light Rail lines in North America in 1986 and did so by using monies that were originally aimed at widening what Oregon calls a "freeway".

This has come at a "great" financial cost of course, the total being an estimated US$60 Million, which is a lot of money... 

...until you realize what the extension or widening of limited-access divided-highways cost.

And in the case of Portland, US$60 million is also what 1 mile (1.6 km) of "freeway" costs to build.  Now, to be honest, highway projects in the USA vary in price so look at this report and remember that these prices are per "lane-mile" (if the proposed "freeway" is going to have 3 lanes in each direction, multiply these numbers by 6).

Widening roads is not cheap either.  A news item this week announced that 1.2 miles (1.93 km) of road in Los Angeles county would have a Carpool Lane and a General Purpose Lane added in each direction for just US$214 million(!)  An underpass designed to eliminate an at-grade or level crossing in Orange County California is penciling is at US$92 million.

But you won't hear much about the costs of those projects as they are built for the bull in society's china shop, the automobile; because the mainstream media in the USA (and increasingly elsewhere) ignores the bull but then scrutinizes the costs of bicycle and railway facilities.

CNN's domestic USA service (which is very different from that which you may encounter with the CNN logo outside North America) recently ran a report critical of the spending of public funds to upgrade a railway in the Northeastern State of Vermont on a show hosted by Anderson Cooper (Cooper is, ironically, the Great-Great-Great-Grandson of railroad builder and magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt)  

The piece has been roundly criticized by many for being out-of-touch with reality, the best critique being made by DC.Streetsblog's Tanya Snyder who defended the rail improvements for having "spent .00006 percent of the federal stimulus money on needed track improvements and came in on time and under budget."   The cost to the taxpayers of this "outrageous railway boondoggle"?  

US$52 million.

Remember what the Portland Bicycle Infrastructure cost?

Typical service before deregulation
A subsidy you will rarely hear about in the mainstream U.S. media, is "Essential Air Service" (EAS). This program was put in place at the end of the old system of government controls on prices and the number carriers allowed to serve city-pairs that existed until 1978.  It was intended to ease the "shock" created when the now deregulated airlines could then serve any city they chose, based on market forces.  Service to these smaller cities, usually flown as a multi-stop, "milk run" service on jet equipment, had often been a requirement if the airline wanted to also offer non-stop service, often as a monopoly, between two large American cities.  EAS now subsidizes the fares of airlines flying to these smaller cities so that they can keep service and connection to a "hub city" at a level of about US$170 million per annum for the Lower 48, or enough to replace Portland's bicycle infrastructure over three times each year.
Air Greenland now arriving!
By the way, the term "Lower 48" which comes from an Alaskan perspective is a simple way of referring to the contiguous or mainland states in the USA.   Alaska and Hawaii also receive EAS funding, but their history/geography/topography/ethnography and lack of road networks justify there being some assistance. This is not unlike Denmark itself which sends block grants to the home-rule government in Greenland which in turn subsidizes helicopter flights there to small towns un-reachable by any other means of transport. EAS was intended to slowly fade away in the 1980's, but has instead been expanded, and subject to massive intervention by politicians who want to "bring home the bacon" for their constituencies.  Perhaps the prime example is Hagerstown, Maryland to Washington's Dulles Airport (which is in Virginia) a route that covers 54 miles (87 km) in its 40 minutes of flying time, a trip that would take 75 minutes in a car or bus.
The CNN piece focused on a train called "the Vermonter" which runs from Saint Albans near the border with Quebec, (a previous incarnation of this train used to serve Montreal) down to Essex Junction a stop near to Vermont's largest city Burlington, thence to White River Junction,  a city near Hanover, New Hampshire, the home of Dartmouth College.  It then mostly  follows the Connecticut River, which divides Vermont from New Hampshire, south into Western Massachusetts through to New Haven, Connecticut. At this point the train joins the busy Northeast Corridor to New York City and finally ends up in Washington, D.C. 
Source: M.J. Bradley & Associates for NRDC
While focusing on the dollars spent on rail infrastructure that should last for many years, CNN did of course not mention an air route funded under EAS that runs roughly parallel to the train, from the Lebanon, New Hampshire airport, which is close to White River Junction, to White Plains, in New York State's Westchester County.  While the Westchester County Airport is in an area north of New York City itself, it is also close to the headquarters of many large companies.  Those passengers wishing to continue to Manhattan are offered a free connection by van. Before I go on, should I mention that there is a profitable  private bus company that runs from Hanover and Lebanon to Manhattan,  Boston and the Boston Airport?  I think I won't as I would have to look up all the sordid details of what the Interstate Highway System cost to build and now, operate and maintain which would make this post longer than it already is.  And those buses don't have to serve the intermediate stops like previous carriers were once required to, like the train still does, because the time and distance penalty for leaving a limited access highway to serve a city on a route is much greater than it is for the typical railway line which were built through small cities rather than around them.
Only one pilot today!
The Federal Government quietly spends US$1 million per year to subsidize two dailys flights on 8-seat (9 seats when they are flown with only one pilot) Cessna 402s.  It spends an additional US$1.3 million to pay for four trips a day from Lebanon to Boston, for a grand total of US$2.3 million.  Both routes are operated by the same airline, Cape Air, which has transformed itself from a Hyannis, Massachusetts based island-hopping airline that was one of the bases for the TV show "Wings" to a company that has won EAS contracts all over the United States and its territories.
This EAS Subsidy does not include the financial support from City of Lebanon to the airport itself, derived from property taxpayers due to the financial structure of New Hampshre, or the US$1 million that the federal government grants each year to the airport for "improvements", or the airport's traffic control tower, as it is part of the national air traffic control system.  Both of these fundings are based on the existence of the EAS flights.  And since the Boston flights arrive into a "secure" gate there, the Lebanon Airport must have airport security screeners present for those departures, which are paid for through a ticket fee. However at around 6,000 "enplanements" for Boston at US$2.50 per, that's not generating very much money per year, so funding and capital for the security is coming from elsewhere.
EAS rules requires that at least 10,000 passengers board the subsidized flights each year; something which was only pulled off by Lebanon in 2012 by using steeply discounted fares during the last week of the year.  This situation made for a fun day trip  (sponsored by the taxpayers to the tune of US$230 each way (The US$2.3M annual EAS subsidy to Cape Air divided by 10,000)) from Lebanon to White Plains for one member of the forum who wrote a trip report about it.  One way fares on these flights are normally in the US$130 range.  It is touted as a means to access businesses in the area for those who are unwilling to take the bus (see above) from Boston's airport or drive the 76 miles (123 km) from the one in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Might get some work done.
However, I will confess that the fully Wheelchair-accessible 206-seat train, which could operate with many more cars equaling many more seats, requires US$2.7 million in subsidies to operate.  That's still less than the two daily nine-seat airplanes plus their share of the associated Lebanon airport cost to fly to White Plains (I'll ignore the federally-supported costs of Westchester County Airport since it handles many more and larger aircraft operations)  And, yes, the rail project project mentioned was only for Vermont.  There are other projects in Massachusetts and Connecticut, admittedly at additional cost, that will result in even further time savings for the trip as a whole along the entire Vermont to New Haven corridor as well as the potential to add more frequency of service.  But then one should note that this rail corridor that the Vermonter uses north of New Haven is owned by private companies who also contributed funding to the project, and despite the public funding for improvements, unless there is an exemption I am not aware of, these private railroads pay property tax on the land their rail "right-of-ways" occupy.  If you are reading this in the USA, go someday to your local property tax collector and ask who the largest property tax payer is in that municipality or county. If there is one, it is usually the railroad who owns the local rail line.   Is there property tax levied on airports and roads?  No! And in regards to capital expenses, I can't begin to speculate what it would cost to buy the land for the Lebanon Airport today and then build the terminals from scratch.
Rail lives (or dies) on intermediate market business, this is what it does best given the ability to stop in cities along the way without the aforementioned time and distance penalties.  Remember neither the airplane nor the bus can do what this train does, connecting not only Burlington, Vermont  to Washington, but also Wallingford, Connecticut to Waterbury, Vermont or Hanover, New Hampshire to Amherst, Massachusetts (also home of educational institutions), and this part of the world to the rest via New York City, et cetera, et cetera.  And you can bring your bike along, and your laptop, and buy a beer.  
All for less than the cost of an underpass.

10 February 2013

Cycling to Copenhagen Airport

Cycling to the Airport
Standard cycle track in Copenhagen. Sign indicating that you turn left here for the airport.

I will fully admit the irony of my epiphany. It's even a bit silly. The story has, however, a decent ending. The nature of my work involves a great many trips to and from Copenhagen Airport. We're lucky in Copenhagen. The airport is the most efficient and well-designed airport I've seen anywhere in the world. It is easily accessible and is located close to the city. You can get there by bus, metro and train, as well as car or taxi, of course. This being Copenhagen, I knew there was fully separated bicycle infrastructure the whole way out there, as well. From every direction.

Last October, on the eve of a journey to Zurich for my TED x talk, my friend Ole - previously written about on this blog - asked why I didn't just ride my bicycle to the airport. I shrugged and said that I live 6 minutes walk from a Metro station and it takes 25 minutes on the Metro to get there. I'm not a "cyclist" - I don't demonstratively ride my bicycle everywhere. I like to walk and take public transport, too. I ride my bicycle because it's quick, efficient and rational. My Metro journey takes 35 minutes, give or take, and that was the most efficient way to get to the airport.

With that trademark twinkle in his eye, Ole said, "That's what I thought, too..." He pulled out his smartphone and showed me a journey he recorded on the Endomondo app. It's like many other apps for tracking journeys, but being a Danish product, it rightly has "Cycling - Transport" as an option. Ole lives in a different neighbourhood but we live about the same distance from the airport. He showed me the bottom line: it took him 35 minutes to ride to Copenhagen Airport. The same amount of time as I use on the metro. And Ole rides a bog standard upright bike in style over speed.

Damn. There is was. Rationality staring me in the face. I woke up the next morning and hopped on my 60 year old Swedish bike with my carry-on bag for the two day trip to Zurich and rode to the airport.

It took me 39 relaxing minutes on my old one-speed. 11.39 km in all. I parked at the bike rack outside Terminal 3 and waltzed right up the escalator to security. Feeling silly that I hadn't realised it before. Piece of cake.

The trip was, of course, on standard separated cycle tracks the whole way.
Cycling to Copenhagen Airport
One little 400 metre section along the motorway was one of the old-school bi-directional types, which was nice.

Cycle chic. Rode my bike to the airport. In style. #cyclechic
I parked right outside Terminal 3. Luckily, there was space

There is, however, ample bike parking at the airport, as you can see on Copenhagen Airport's website. They are often filled. Many employees live in the nearby neighbourhoods, so they ride to work, although I'm sure others have discovered the simplicity of cycling to the airport.

So. Great for short trips with a carry-on bag. On my longer trips, I have more luggage, obviously. I would love to ride my Bullitt to the airport on these occasions. The problem is that theft of cargo bikes is big business so I am not keen to leave the Bullitt parked all exposed for a week or so.

I rang the airport and talked to a guy in the parking department. He could understand the problem and was kind enough to give me his best guess about which of the bike parking areas would be most secure - an area with a lot of traffic throughout the day and night. Still, I'm not keen to risk it.

There are underground parking levels all over the place. Perfect for cargo bike parking but currently only reserved for cars. At Copenhagenize Design Co. we've approached the marketing department at Copenhagen Airport about providing secure parking for cargo bikes and we're looking forward to hearing from them. The airport has decent facilities for bicycles but mostly because it's in Copenhagen and it's a necessity. Although the bicycle pump when you arrive in the baggage area certainly impressed this guy last year.

The main challenge is that car parking is lucrative. Ole took a photo of this ad at the airport recently. "A hot dog on the platform or a cosy dinner with your partner - Why spend the evening on a cold train platform when you can take your own car to the airport. Park in the airport's best spots: Direct and Standard. Then you'll get home quick to your partner."

So the message is clear. Car parking is big business for the airport. Although creating cargo bike parking facilities would, of course, be modern and marketable. Good for the airport's brand. Let's see if they're up for it.

We've mapped out where the best locations would be and it would be an inexpensive investment with a lot of return in the form of marketing. Just look at how much focus the oil company Statoil has recieved because of their bicycle stations at their gas stations in Copenhagen.

Cycling to the airport is easy, rational and time-efficient. I hope more people consider doing it.

Baggage Handler Commuting
It's also a great way to get around if you work there.


On the subject of airports and cargo bike, here's an article and film about how I get picked up by friends with a cargo bike every time I arrive at Rio de Janeiro's Santos Dumont airport. Let's face it: a city with cycle tracks to the airport is a modern city.

Bicycles and Airports set on Flickr right here.

09 March 2012

Copenhagenize to Brazil

I'll be arriving in Sao Paulo, Brazil today, to work with the City of Sao Paulo on an exciting project. It's going to be exciting to finally start consulting on this. More later.

After that, I'll be speaking at the Center for Architecture and Urbanism in Rio de Janeiro with my new talk - Bicycle Culture by Design. I'll be highlighting how the status quo regarding cars taking over our streets came about and how our cities will benefit from a little less traffic engineering and planning and a little more focus on design. Design as an accessible language with which we can communicate our visions for more liveable cities, as well as comparing things like designing toasters and mobile phones with bicycle infrastructure.

I'll be giving this talk at many venues in the coming months, not least at the Pro Walk Pro Bike conference in September in Long Beach, California. But first, Brazil.

I'm looking forward to returning to Sao Paulo, where I met the most fantastic group of cyclists who are working hard to transform their city. A man was killed in the city recently - hit by a bus on his bicycle - and there is a strong and growing protest in the city since then. I have a feeling this visit will be a powerful experience.

And I've already arranged to be picked up at the airport in Rio, like last year:

Eternally cool.

23 July 2011

Copenhagenize's Airport Shuttle in Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro - Airport Bicycle Shuttle from Copenhagenize on Vimeo.
There are very few cities in the world where you can get picked up at the airport by friends on bicycles and then ride into the city on safe, separated bicycle infrastructure. Rio de Janeiro, however, is one of those cities. The Santos Dumont airport in Rio de Janeiro
is a smaller airport located only 2 km from Rio's downtown business center. After my talk and meetings in Sao Paulo for Copenhagenize Consulting I flew into Santos Dumont.

Some friends were picking me up by bike. On a cargo trike that would bring a folding bike to the airport and carry my baggage back to my friend Tiago's flat in Le Blon. Another friend, Ze Lobo, from Associação Transporte Ativo - Active Transportation came along, too. The weather was great and we set out in the late afternoon. A hundred metres or so from the terminal we hopped onto a bike path and never left bicycle infrastructure for most of the 16+ kilometre ride.

Okay, except when we took a detour to a bar to have a beer and some snacks, but that was through a quiet, residential neighbourhood with 30 km/h zones.

Here's the route we took.

View Rio de Janeiro Bicycle Airport Shuttle in a larger map

What a brilliant way to arrive in a city - to ride a bike through it. You can ride from the airport in Copenhagen and Amsterdam, of course, but there are also great train or metro connections. In Rio it is brilliant that you can ride if you don't want to take the metro or a taxi or bus.

31 March 2011

Bicycle Pump at Copenhagen Airport

There was a tweet today from a gentleman named Ben Hammersley on Twitter:
The bicycle pump in Copenhagen airport's baggage hall is an epic sign of civilization. Cheers me up every time.

So here's a photo we found of it via azubcz on Picasa. It's one of those details in Copenhagen's bicycle culture that we just haven't gotten around to featuring. So here's the perfect opportunity.

Used for bicycles, of course, but many prams have chunky tires as well and I've used it when arriving home with a pram, to top up the air for the journey home on the Metro.

It's all in the details.

19 March 2011

Bicycles and Fighter Jets

Saw this photo in a Danish newspaper, Politiken, this morning. The Danish air force sent F-16 jets to Sicily today and this photo shows one of the planes being prepared for duty. I love that there are two classic Danish short john bicycles parked next to them. The bicycle used when maintaining expensive fighter jets.

Six F-16s fly off this morning to take part in the global push to battle a dictator who is slaughtering civilians... No... not Yemen, silly! They only have sand and dead civilians! We mean Libya, of course. They have oil and dead civilians. So off we go to war.

11 June 2010

Polite Bicycle Warning

Airport Bicycle Parking (2)
How lovely and polite, this tag placed on a bicycle at Copenhagen International Airport.

"Undesirable Bicycle Parking
With respect for the free passage of passengers and the emergency services, we ask you to please place your bicycle in the established bicycle racks in the future."

Airport Bicycle Parking
And on another part of the bicycle was this tag:

"Is this bicycle in use?
Remove this tag before 16.05.2010 so we can see that it is in use. Otherwise the bicycle will be removed by the police."

19 April 2010

Bicycles and Airports

Saw this photo on a Danish website reporting about which airports are open or closed. Can't see which airport it is, but it's a cool shot.

Frankfurt Airport Bicycle
And whenever I'm in the dull, dreary hell that is Frankfurt Airport, at least I always see bicycles parked or being ridden around by the staff.

15 December 2009

Arrive at Airport Cycle to City Centre

I met David Kroodsma when I was on a lecture tour in the States. He was on the Climate Ride from NY to DC this year.

David is a Hopenhagen Ambassador and has just arrived in Copenhagen to blog for The Huffington Post.

Above is his first reportage from Copenhagen, where he assembled his bike at Kastrup Airport and rode it into the city to his hotel. Looking like a kid in a candy store with a platinum credit card.

View Larger Map
This isn't his exact route, but it gives you an idea.

I'll be hooking up with David in the coming days. Welcome to Copenhagen, David!