Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Posts Tagged ‘internet

Weekly Photo Challenge: Serene

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This week’s challenge is based on Ben Huberman’s experience of  “going off grid” which he describes as serene. Well we were “off grid” when we were on the cruise – but there were over 2,000 people with us. So although the cost and unreliability of internet and cell phone connections meant I did not use either very much, serenity was in short supply. Especially on the first night on board when we hit some very heavy weather.

On the other hand, like Ben, I live on the British Columbia coast. So we do find serenity – but by staying closer to home. And yes once you get away from the urbanised areas, cell phones and wifi do get harder to connect to.

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This is our local beach – which is not far from downtown Vancouver – but at low tide still manages to provide it own kind of serenity. And the cell phone service is fine here too.

Or to switch format from landscape panorama – and location – to portrait and Manning Park, which is a few hours drive inland.

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No cell phone or internet here either.

 

Written by Stephen Rees

November 29, 2017 at 10:07 am

A Route Planner to Facilitate and Promote Cycling in Metro Vancouver

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Now isn’t that a title to stir your heart?

As I am sure most of you know, while I am a cyclist – sometimes – I am a fairly cautious one. That is because I am a fat old man with a dicky ticker. Where I live there are steep hills in three of the four cardinal compass points. We live in a bowl – and Valley Drive is the only flat way out. It is uphill from here to Kerrisdale or Shaughnessy and even Kits requires tackling a short but killer grind up Nanton to the new Greenway. So the idea of a tool that takes topography into account as one of the keys to route choice had an instant appeal to me.

I came across it due to a new twitter account called Vancouver Studies run by my old friend Raul Pacheco-Vega. “This account tweets scholarly studies about the city of Vancouver (BC, Canada).”

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So that link took me to the academic publisher Elsevier who, of course, charge an arm and a leg to read research articles – but at least the Abstract provided a link to the program itself. I thought.

With increasing fuel costs, greater awareness of greenhouse gas emissions and increasing obesity levels, cycling is promoted as a health promoting and sustainable transport mode. We developed a cycling route planner (http://cyclevancouver.ubc.ca) for Metro Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, to facilitate cycling amongst the general public and to facilitate new route location by transportation planners. The geographical information system-based planner incorporates variables that influence choices to travel by bicycle (e.g., distance, elevation gain, safety, route features, air pollution and links to transit) in selecting the preferred routing. Using a familiar and user-friendly Google Maps interface, the planner allows individuals to seek optimized cycling routes throughout the region based on their own preferences. In addition to the incorporation of multiple user preferences in route selection, the planner is unique amongst cycling route planners in its use of topology to minimize data storage redundancy, its reliance on node/vertex index tables to increase efficiency of the route selection process, and the use of web services and asynchronous technologies for quick data delivery. Use of this tool can help promote bicycle travel as a form of active transportation and help lower greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) and air pollutant emissions by reducing car trips.

I have disabled the link in the quote because that site no longer responds. But Topophilo will give you both the sad story of why this useful tool is no longer available and what else is around to help you.

Cycle Vancouver Is Now Offline

October 31st, 2014

CycleVancouver, Metro Vancouver’s cycling trip planner, has been taken offline because it is no longer receiving funding to be maintained and hosted.

Other useful resources that may be helpful in planning your route are:

and then it also says

The original Cycle Vancouver code has been posted to GitHub for reference.

Which might be good news if we can come up with a rescue plan. Doesn’t this seem to be a Good Idea for crowdfunding? Or maybe support from the City – or even Metro? Isn’t Translink supposed to be into this alternative mode stuff too?

Of course being dead for three years may mean all of this has been tried before – but now the Mayors have come up with some funding for Translink, and even the feds seem interested in less carbon intensive ways of getting around (which wasn’t the case back in 2014) shouldn’t we be trying to resuscitate the patient?

UPDATE Sunday January 8

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and because that link won’t work in an image

AFTERWORD May 16, 2017

Written by Stephen Rees

January 7, 2017 at 7:21 pm

The power of the internet and cycling

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This story is being brought to you courtesy of Al Pasternak – who reached me by facebook. He said “…great story, good ending” but it is not ended yet.

A cyclist in New York found himself being squeezed by a Merc – so he tapped on the window to warn the driver of his presence. And got threatened. But the driver had special license plates which identify him as a New York State Senator. (As an aside, I think it remarkable that people with vanity plates drive like twits, when their plates are so easy to memorize.)   The cyclist is a blogger – and when he wrote up the story lots of people contacted the senator – because the story has the complete text of a letter the blogger wrote to the Senator.

Now I am going to resist the temptation to cut and paster the letter here – partly becuase it is only one click away – but mostly because of the foul language the Senator used. And while Al says the story has a good ending, I think there is going to be more – and I suggest you subscribe to his feed to keep up with developments.

And of course I hope that the cyclists here will also copy this and keep it going. Because it reminds me very much of Woody Allen’s movie “Manhattan”. Where he gets to argue with the know it all in the line up for the movie and just happens to have Marshall McLuhan available to back him up.  How often have you had to deal with road rage and were left feeling impotent and against selfishness and idiocy? Well if you are a blogger maybe you don’t have to any more.

The scene of the crime

The scene of the crime

Written by Stephen Rees

September 24, 2008 at 8:54 am

Posted in cycling

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