HOW TO OVERCOME THE BARRIERS TO CYCLING

This article looks into how the barriers to cycling can be overcome. It is based on the analysis of the book Promoting Walking and Cycling by Pooley et al.

Photo by Noralí Emilio

Last week’s article focussed exclusively on the barriers to cycling. You can find this via the link below.

BARRIERS TO CYCLING

This week’s article focusses on solutions that can be deployed to overcome the barriers to cycling.

1. Fix the urban environment

Fixing the urban environment has to be the number 1 priority for any local authority interested in increasing their rates of cycling. This includes providing fully segregated cycle routes on all arterial and other busy roads in urban areas. The research by Pooley, et al revealed that for most non-avid cyclists, they will only do so when their routes are completely segregated from traffic.

2. Traffic calming measures

Their needs to be effective restrictions on traffic speeds, parking and access on all residential roads and routes not covered by segregated bike paths. This provides cyclists with a safe and convenient environment in which to travel. Ideas include 20 mph speed limits, traffic calming infrastructure measures and resident only access by car in some areas.

3. Legal changes

The system of legal liability should be reformed to protect the most vulnerable road users, such as cyclists and pedestrians. One option would be to adopt strict liability, so that pedestrians or cyclists injured by a motor vehicle would not have to prove fault in seeking compensation. This legal form places an obligation on drivers to obtain insurance that will pay vulnerable victims independently of fault. This is adopted in many countries with high rates of cycling and incentivises drivers to act carefully.

4. Planning and development changes

There needs to be changes in the spatial structure through planning legislation. This would make accessing common services by bike easy. This would restrict out-of-town developments and mandate the provision of secure bicycle parking facilities and the provision of cycle storage facilities in new homes.

5. Socioeconomic changes

The research by Pooley, et al revealed how socioeconomic factors often acted as barriers to cycling. These need to be resolved to increase cycling rates. These include the greater use of flexi time, more family friendly welfare policies and policies to encourage children to go to the most local school. These changes would make it easier for people to use the most sustainable form of transport to get to school and to work.

6. Image change

It is necessary to change the image of cycling and walking. There is a need for campaigns to promote walking and cycling as normal and something that is for everyone. This would also follow on naturally from all of the above policies, which would see more people cycling and so help to normalise this as a transport mode and not an activity.

What you need to know

This article looked into how the barriers to cycling can be overcome. It was based on the analysis of the book Promoting Walking and Cycling by Pooley et al.

What should be clear from both of these articles is that there are a number of barriers that are holding down rates of cycling in the UK, but that there are specific solutions that could address this.

It is clear that hard infrastructural changes need to be made to segregate cyclists from vehicles as much as possible, alongside traffic calming measures where this is not possible.

Then legal changes could make drivers more aware that they will face consequences for injuring a cyclist and so drive more cautiously.

Planning and development changes are required and development changes are needed to create an urban form more conducive to cycling.

Socioeconomic changes are needed to make cycling possible for some families and a marketing campaign is needed to change the image of cycling.

Overall, all of these changes would go a long way to increasing rates of cycling in the UK.

Thank you for reading,

By Barnaby Nash

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, or reach out to me on social media. What do you think needs to be done to increase rates of cycling?

Let’s stay connected

I can be reached on LinkedIn and on Twitter @FollowBarnaby

BARRIERS TO CYCLING

This article looks into barriers to cycling. It is based on analysis drawn from the excellent book Promoting Walking and Cycling by Pooley, et al. You can find an image of the cover below.

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Based on their time spend researching the barriers to cycling and how they can be overcome, they identify 5 main themes that act as barriers to greater levels of cycling in the UK.

1.  Problems associated with urban infrastructure

Cycling like any activity requires space for it to flourish. For too long and in too many places it was simply assumed that cyclists could use the exact same infrastructure that was built for cars with no alterations and modifications. Where this is the case it is hard for cycling to break through as a mainstream form of transportation as it is perceived to be highly dangerous by large segments of the population. The authors single out junctions in particular as one of the road areas most in need of modification to accommodate cyclists. But which is often not completed.

 

2. Issues of safety and risk  

This follows on from the lack of designated space for cyclists to use. It is simply the case that to many fast, busy roads come across as being inappropriate for cycling. It also encompasses people who may feel at risk cycling alone at night and those who worry about a potential theft of a bike at their home, work or other parking location.

3.  Constraints imposed by families and lifestyles

Another major barrier that arose was the difficulty of getting multi-person, multi-age households to make all or some of their journeys by bike. These include problems of storing and maintaining a fleet of road worthy bikes for all of the family. Including all of the equipment necessary to cycle safety in all 4 seasons

4. The impact of weather and topography

Another barrier that arose frequently was that of concerns over wet weather and hills. Wet weather means that modifications to the bicycle such as mudguards and cycling specific wet weather gear is needed. Whereas hills present an obstacle in that they are physically exhausting to climb if they are very large and they also may not be able to be climbed on bikes with few gears, meaning that a more sophisticated bicycle with more gears is required. The authors did make clear that the impact of topography and hills registered as a barrier far more infrequently than some of the barriers that have already been mentioned.

5. The influence of culture and image

Cycling is not yet a major mode of transportation in the UK, although there are positive moves in this direction. Its marginal status means that a vibrant culture of cycling for transport has not developed in many areas in the UK. I will quote from the authors below:

With cycling we have entered a self-reinforcing and downward spiral, in which barriers to cycling ensure it remains unusual, and its unusual status deters and/ or sabotages efforts to make it more normal and mainstream.”

It is sad that for many people in many places in the UK, cycling does not even register as a form of transportation to be used on a daily basis. There is an argument to be made that this could be a rational decision, made on thee basis of the lack of infrastructure available.

What you need to know

This article looked into barriers to cycling. It is based on analysis drawn from the excellent book Promoting Walking and Cycling by Pooley, et al. What should be clear is that there are a range of barriers preventing cycling from being taken up as a form of transportation by people in the UK. These range from purely technical to sociological phenomena. It therefore stands to reason that in integrated approach is required that seeks to come at the problem from many angles is required.

Thank you for reading,

By Barnaby Nash

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, or reach out to me on social media. What do you think the main barriers to cycling are?

Let’s stay connected

I can be reached on LinkedIn and on Twitter @FollowBarnaby

 

MEAT & SUSTAINABILITY PART 4

This article looks into meat and sustainability. This is the last in a four-part series looking into meat consumption and how sustainable this is.

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It is based on the book and documentary Meat the Truth, which was released in 2010.

Each article covers a slightly different topic. The last 3 weeks have looked into how global meat consumption is predicted to double in the next 50 years, how livestock farming places heavy demands on land, water and energy and contributes towards climate change. You can find links to these below.

MEAT & SUSTAINABILITY: PART 1

MEAT & SUSTAINABILITY: PART 2

MEAT & SUSTAINABILITY PART 3

Replacing meat consumption by vegetable consumption is necessary to reduce the impact and emissions from agriculture

 The theme of this week’s article is all about meat substitutes and what role they can play in lessening the impact and emissions from the agriculture sector.

Building on the analysis of the previous 3 weeks, it should be clear that the agriculture sector is currently having a very serious impact on the environment and change is currently needed.

In chapter 1 Harry Aiking shares an interesting perspective on meat substitutes. He had the following to say:

Please note that ‘meat replacers’ generally contain 20-20% egg protein

He also points towards research which showed that transitioning to meat substitutes could result in a 3-4 fold lower requirement of agricultural land and freshwater.

Chapter 7 by Van Drunen, Van Beukering and Aiking on the true price of meat was a very interesting chapter. They highlighted how a Pigouvian tax could reduce the demand for meat products and help the environment.

Such a tax would correct the market failure due to externalities. The average rate of the Pigouvian Tax should be at least €2.06 for conventional pork, that is 31%^ of the consumer price.”

In Chapter 8 by Dirk-Jan Verdonk he had a very interesting perspective on meat and just how sustainable this can ever be considered to be if it ends with death.

Killing and welfare are interlocked: death unarguably puts an end to any state of welfare.

In chapter 10 Jason Matheny produced a really interesting paper on meat substitutes. He highlighted that:

Plant-based analogs have significant advantages over meat. Analogs have no cholesterol and are low in saturated fat.

He also points towards how engineered solutions could be one solution:

Even if plant-based meat analogs gain greater acceptance, some consumers may still prefer to eat meat for cultural or culinary reasons. Tissue engineered ‘cultured meat’ is one possible solution for this market segment.

He also points towards how engineered solutions are not so different from the current meat options that are available:

Although cultured meat is, to be sure, a highly artificial product, little is natural about today’s chicken nuggets, made from a ‘meat slurry’ processed from the carcases of 10,000 chickens raised in metal warehouses and pumped full of drugs.

In chapter 12 Jones, De Meyere and De Geus touch upon the potential win-win opportunities of moving away from meat consumption. They highlight that:

It is striking in this case that healthier diets (i.e. diets with less red meat and processed foods for example) are generally also low carbon – thus opening the potential ‘win-win’ of a low carbon food system (and associated food culture) which delivers better health for people.

They also come forward with one potential solution:

What we need is a food equivalent of the ‘waste hierarchy’ denoting clearly that, in terms of the environment and of health, the best diet is vegetarian.”

What you need to know

This article looked into meat and sustainability. This was the last in a four-part series looking into meat consumption and how sustainable this is.

In this article, we explored how meat substitutes can lessen the impact and emissions from the agriculture sector.

We looked at evidence which showed that many meat substitutes contain high percentages of egg, how Pigouvian taxation could help this transition, how meat substitutes are a healthier option and how cultured meat could get people to eat a more humane and lower impact form of meat.

Thank you for reading,

By Barnaby Nash

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, or reach out to me on social media. What do you think of the relationship between meat and sustainability?

Let’s stay connected

I can be reached on LinkedIn and on Twitter @FollowBarnaby

MEAT & SUSTAINABILITY PART 3

This article looks into meat and sustainability. This is the third in a four-part series looking into meat consumption and how sustainable this is.

Dave Meier

It is based on the book and documentary Meat the Truth, which was released in 2010.

Each article covers a slightly different topic. The last 2 weeks have looked into how global meat consumption is predicted to double in the next 50 years and how livestock farming places heavy demands on land, water and energy. You can find links to these below.

MEAT & SUSTAINABILITY: PART 1

MEAT & SUSTAINABILITY: PART 2

Livestock farming (meat consumption) has a major impact on climate

This week we are looking into a very topical subject, meat consumption’s contribution to climate change.

There were lots of good papers on this inside Meat the Truth and I hope to bring you what I considered to be the most interesting parts in this article.

One of the best chapters in Meat the Truth was by Kirsten Oleson, who wrote about the hidden environmental costs of the meat trade. I will quote the paragraph below in its entirety because of its link to the forest fires that are currently taking place in the Amazon.

Our model has confirmed previous studies linking meat consumption with deforestation in Brazil. We show that 5.6 million hectares of land in Brazil supports foreigners’ consumption of pork and chicken; of this, over four million hectares is being used to grow soy to feed these animals. According to FAO, Brazil deforested 2.6 million hectares in 2000, in large part to grow soy, exports of which have increased 11% annually for the past 14 years. Total Brazilian land use to grow soy has nearly doubled from 11.5 million ha in 1990 to 21.5 million hectares in 2004. Our model shows that more Brazilian land is used to grow feed crops for export than to grow feed crops for domestic consumption.

The above quotation sets out in stunning detail the drivers behind deforestation in the Amazon, which is itself driving anthropogenic climate change.

In chapter 3 Danielle Nierenberg highlights how factory farming methods are impacting on climate change:

It is increasingly evident that factory farming is to blame for much of the increases in GHG emissions from animal agriculture. The 15 year period of 1990 to 2005 saw a significant rise in GHG emissions in the United States. Methane emissions from pig and dairy cow manure increased by approximately 37% and 50% respectively – an elevation caused by the shift towards rearing pigs and cows in larger facilities where liquid manure management systems that promote anaerobic conditions, or those in which oxygen is not present, are increasingly used.”

In chapter 7 Van Drunen, Van Beukering and Aiking share some interesting information on the true price of meat. They explain that:

In 2006, the FAO calculated that the global meat sector contributes 18% (7.1 Gton every year) to the total emission of carbon dioxide equivalents.

Which highlights that what we are dealing with here is a major contributor to anthropogenic climate change.

Chapter 15 by Goodland and Anhang share an interesting perspective on carbon and the scale of carbon emissions from animal agriculture. They explain that:

“Our analysis shows that livestock and their byproducts actually account for at least 32,564 million tons of CO2e per year, or 51 percent of annual worldwide GHG emissions.”

So as we can see, there is evidence to suggest that emissions from animal agriculture may be significantly higher than it is currently anticipated to be, making the problem that much more severe.

What you need to know

This article looked into meat and sustainability. This was the third in a four-part series looking into meat consumption and how sustainable this is.

In this article, we explored how livestock farming has a major impact on climate.

We looked at evidence which showed that deforestation is taking place in the Amazon for cattle ranging and animal feed stocks. We looked at how factory farming is leading to increased emissions from animal agriculture and the contested figures for how much animal agriculture is contributing towards the total amount of greenhouse gasses. Regardless of the dispute, the number is high.

Thank you for reading,

By Barnaby Nash

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, or reach out to me on social media. What do you think of the relationship between meat and sustainability?

Let’s stay connected

I can be reached on LinkedIn and on Twitter @FollowBarnaby

 

MEAT & SUSTAINABILITY: PART 2

This article looks into meat and sustainability. This is the second in a four-part series looking into meat consumption and how sustainable this is.

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It is based on the book and documentary Meat the Truth, which was released in 2010.

Each article covers a slightly different topic. Last weeks looked into how global meat consumption is predicted to double in the next 50 years. You can find this via the link below.

MEAT & SUSTAINABILITY: PART 1

This week we are looking into the impact that meat consumption has on the environment.

Livestock farming (meat consumption) places heavy demands on land, water and energy

There is lots of good evidence in the book to support the above claim.

Chapter 1 Food and natural resources by Harry Aiking points to a lot of interesting evidence. For instance, that as a result of animal metabolism, on average 6kg of plant protein is required for 1kg of meat protein. Furthermore, the 4 million sq. km that is devoted to feed crops globally contain about 114 million tonnes of feed protein. This is protein that is diverted towards animals with a negative rate of return.

On water consumption Aiking had the following to say:

It is evident that animal protein production requires much more water than plant protein, however estimates vary from 5 to 1,000 fold.”

Chapter 3 Impact of growth in factory farming in developing world by Danielle Nierenberg shed light on the energy intensity of factory farms. She explained that:

Operationally, factory farms require a significant amount of fossil fuel energy… Electricity for heating, cooling, and ventilating factory farms, in addition to powering any other mechanized processes such as manure removal or egg collection, all make up a large part of this energy expenditure.”

In Chapter 6 Meat, climate and the EU Jens Holm shares an interesting perspective. Whilst biofuels are often criticised for the land area they consume, animal feedstock receives far less attention. He explains that:

Approximately two percent of the world’s cultivated land is used for bio-fuels, while nearly 40% goes to fodder production in the livestock industry.

Chapter 8 Overconsumption by Mark Bittman also contains a lot of interesting information on the impact of meat consumption. For example:

To produce one calorie of corn takes 2.2 calories of fossil fuel. For beef the number is 40: it requires 40 calories to produce one calorie of beef protein.

Try to imagine each cow on the planet consuming almost seven barrels of crude oil.”

Chapter 12 Promoting a sustainability transition in the food domain by Jones et al had some eye-opening statistics. For instance, that:

On average, 6 kilograms of wheat is required for the production of 1 kilogram of meat protein (poultry and pork are significantly more ‘efficient’ than beef). A considerable amount (40%) of the world’s total production of wheat is reserved for the cattle stock sector (bio fuels take up around 5% of the total production of grain/wheat. Thus a vegetarian or non-red meat diet is considerably more efficient in terms of ecology, carbon and energy, and therefore more sustainable.”

Chapter 11 Making meat moderation marketable By Tobias Leenaert explains the following:

Meat production is the number one cause of deforestation in South America, and is solely responsible for the destruction of an area the size of Belgium every year worldwide.

What you need to know

This article looked into meat and sustainability. This is the second in a four-part series looking into meat consumption and how sustainable this is.

The evidence for this article is based on the book and documentary Meat the Truth.

This week’s article looked at meat consumption’s impact on the environment.

We looked at how converting plant protein into animal protein is an incredibly inefficient process. We also looked into the large area of land that is taken up by animal feed crops.

Animal protein production is a very water intensive process, placing more impact on the environment.

We also looked into how animal agriculture is very energy and oil intensive.

Overall, there are a number of insurmountable barriers that mean that animal agriculture as it currently stands places a burden on the environment.

Thank you for reading,

By Barnaby Nash

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, or reach out to me on social media. What do you think of the relationship between meat and sustainability?

Let’s stay connected

I can be reached on LinkedIn and on Twitter @FollowBarnaby

MEAT & SUSTAINABILITY: PART 1

This article looks into meat and sustainability. This is the first in a multi part series looking into meat consumption and how sustainable this is.

Meat the truth.jpg

I was recently reading the book Meat the Truth, which is a compilation of essays by various authors and is edited by Niko Koffeman. This is an excellent book, with many interesting perspectives on meat consumption and sustainability. I learned a lot from reading this book and I would encourage anyone who is interested in this topic to buy the book and read it for themselves.

There is also a documentary that goes alongside the book, that is also interesting and well worth watching.

I was extremely pleased to see the news last week that the IPCC’s August report Climate Change and Land brought up the impact that meat consumption had on driving climate change. With the corollary being that more people enjoying plant-based lifestyles would reduce the food sectors impact on climate change.

Global meat consumption will double in the next 50 years

This 4-part series looking into meat and sustainability will be broken down into a number of themes. This week’s article will look into the FAO prediction that meat consumption will double in 50 years. This is a truly stunning prediction that is worthy of further investigation.

One of my favourite chapters in Meat the Truth was chapter 2 by Kirsten Oleson titled, The Hidden Environmental Costs of Meat Trade. In it she delivers the following stunning critique:

All phases of livestock production result in significant environmental impacts, whose costs are rarely factored into the market price of the products sold.”

Chapter 3 was also very interesting; it was by Danielle Nierenberg and it was titled Impact of Growth in Factory Farming in Developing World. She highlights the following:

The strongest rise in farm animal production has been in the developing world.

Much of the current demand for meat, egg, and dairy products is being met by industrial animal operations that are spreading across the developing world.

Mark Bittman also contributed to the debate with his offering on Overconsumption for chapter 8. Of the FAO prediction that meat production will double by 2050, he had the following to say:

The truth is that to meet these numbers, the world needs factory farms. There is no other method that can produce these quantities of meat, eggs, and dairy. It follows then, that the only way to reduce fact0ry farming is to demand less meat.”

What you need to know

This article looked into meat and sustainability. It is the first part of a multi part series looking into this topic and is based around the conclusions of the book Meat the Truth.

Meat consumption and climate change has been in the news again recently, and rightly so. It is therefore important that this topic is explored to its fullest extent.

This particular article explored the FAO prediction that global meat consumption will double in the next 50 years and what that means.

It unquestionably means more factory farming; it means more environmental impacts and it means the spreading of a misguided western diet to billions of people in the developing world.

This is something which needs to be brought to the public’s attention and the benefits of alternatives more heavily promoted.

Thank you for reading,

By Barnaby Nash

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, or reach out to me on social media. What do you think of the relation between meat and sustainability?

Let’s stay connected

I can be reached on LinkedIn and on Twitter @FollowBarnaby

INTEGRATIVE DESIGN & SUSTAINABLE INDUSTRY

This article looks into integrative design and how it can be used to make industry more sustainable.

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The last 3 weeks we have looked into integrative design as the leading idea within energy efficiency and how it applies to buildings and mobility. You can find links to all of these articles below.

THE MOST IMPORTANT IDEA IN ENERGY EFFICIENCY

INTEGRATIVE DESIGN & SUSTAINABLE BUILDINGS

INTEGRATIVE DESIGN & SUSTAINABLE MOBILITY

This week looks into how integrative design can be applied to industry. It is based on the Amory Lovins 2018 paper How big is the energy efficiency resource?

If anyone was in any doubt as to how important it is to make industry more sustainable, Amory’s opening statement would leave you in no doubt:

“Upwards of half, perhaps three-fifths, of the world’s electricity runs motors, chiefly in industry.”

Amory also makes it clear that standard off the shelf sustainable solutions offer far less potential than integrative design can offer:

“The two standard improvements—more-efficient motors and adjustable-speed drives—save 2× less electricity at 5× higher unit cost than a whole-drivesystem retrofit, because 28 of its 35 improvements are free byproducts of the first seven.”

Amory explains that:

Even bigger improvements are available in the most common systems that motors drive, and should be done first to make their motor systems smaller, hence cheaper.

Based upon the fact that half the world’s drivepower runs pumps and fans, Amory points towards evidence which shows the following:

Making their pipes and ducts fat, short, and straight rather than thin, long, and crooked can save 8090+ % of their friction, and typically pay back in less than a year in retrofits and less than zero in newbuilds.

Amory also points towards eye watering inefficiencies in the power sector:

Compounding losses—in power plant, wires, inverter, motor, pump, piping—lose 90% of the power plant’s fuel energy. But reversing those compounding losses into compounding savings, from downstream to upstream, enables one unit of friction or flow saved in the pipe to leverage 10 units of saved fuel, cost, and emissions at the power plant. Thus full global optimization of pipe and duct systems could in principle save, with enticing profits, enough pump and fan energy to displace roughly a fifth of the world’s electricity or half its coal-fired electricity. Probably no official climate assessment includes this major opportunity.”

It should be clear that there is a lot more work to do to communicate the benefits of integrative design so that these opportunities can be seized upon.

Amory points to the similarities between integrative design when applied to vehicles and industry:

Applying integrative design across sectors reveals common themes. The 10× downstream-to-upstream amplification of energy saved in pipe/pump systems is analogous to the 57× amplification of reduced tractive load back to fuel savings in autos.

What you need to know

This article looked into integrative design and how it can be used to make industry more sustainable.

One thing that this entire series on integrative design should have made clear, is that there is an enormous well of untapped potential energy efficiency savings. They are left untapped, because people focus on parts of the system, but not how the system as a whole functions. Integrative design can address this.

We looked at how massive amounts of the world’s electricity is used to power motors.

We also looked at how merely optimising pipework to reduce friction can make a significant difference in saving electricity, which has cascading benefits both upstream and downstream.

Overall, integrative design could be the missing link that is needed to make industry more sustainable. But it is held back by being a design method and not a technology in itself.

Thank you for reading,

By Barnaby Nash

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, or reach out to me on social media. What do you think needs to be done to make industry more sustainable?

Let’s stay connected

I can be reached on LinkedIn and on Twitter @FollowBarnaby