Bike O'Meter Gives Real-Time Snapshot of Bikesharing Worldwide

If you haven't already seen the interactive, animated map that shows station activity for Capital Bikeshare stations, be sure to check it out here.  Following on that, and using the same data, a new app created by Steven Gray, called Bike-o-Meter, is also providing useful real-time data on bikesharing systems from around the world.

Each of the dials shows the percentage of total bikes in use at that particular moment in time.  It is not able to differentiate between bikes that are actually being ridden and those that may be in transit for relocation or taken out for servicing.  However, it uses the maximum number of bikes in the system within the last 24 hours--not the advertised total number of bikes owned by the service--as the denominator in the calculation.  Here's a bigger screenshot showing 2.8% of Capital Bikeshare's bikes in use at 1:04 PM on Wednesday, October 27.

I noticed that Barcelona's usage rate at 7:00 PM was 22%.  There were about 4500 bikes in service in Barcelona at that time, so that's almost 1000 bikes in use.  Wow!  Click on either graphic for a larger view.

Monday What's on the Web: Deep Climate

Every Monday I highlight other bloggers or web contributors who are making important or interesting    contributions to climate, sustainability, transpotation or market transformation. Check back each week for another installment.
Deep Climate is this week's "What's on the Web" blog.  Deep Climate's slogan is: "Exploring climate science disinformation in Canada."  The blog is run by an anonymous Canadian citizen who is clearly well versed in science.  His analysis of a number of papers and other postings can be very thorough and detailed.  For instance, in a post titled "McShane and Wyner 2010" he very thoroughly deconstructs the McShane and Wyner paper published in August that was cheered on sites like Watt's Up With That (a skeptic site).

This is a bit of a geek's site, getting into pretty deep statistics and other topics.  Posts can be very long.  However, it's an important resource (not just for Canadians) in the battle against climate disinformation.

Other recent posts include:

Wegman under investigation by George Mason University

The blog also includes an occasional open thread, which allows for an open discussion on topics of interest among the readers.

Michael MacCracken's letter in the Washington Post

The following letter to the editor appeared in today's Washington Post.  It was written by Michael MacCracken, who is the chief scientist for climate-change programs at the Climate Institute.  I am in total agreement with Mr. MacCracken.  In particular, to get maximum results, BOTH carbon taxes and market-based trading programs must be developed.

With so little being done politically on climate change, Dana Milbank ["Plan B on climate change," op-ed, Oct. 17] noted that scientists want to research additional measures, often called geoengineering or, better, climate engineering. Removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere will be essential, but it will have a significant effect only with sharp emissions reductions. Reducing warming by interfering with incoming solar radiation appears possible but is likely to have unintended side effects and involves difficult governance issues.
Climate engineering thus makes sense as a strategy only after making commitments to limit emissions. The United States needs to take the lead and demonstrate the technical ingenuity to show that a modern economy can prosper with low greenhouse gas emissions, and Congress needs to enact incentives for this to happen. 

Ending dithering requires both a well-designed cap-and-trade program to provide incentives for industry to move aggressively and cost-effectively, and a carbon tax with per capita rebates to provide incentives for families and individuals to adopt green technologies. Because mitigation and adaptation will require time and effort, climate engineering may well be needed to moderate the worst effects. 

Monday What's on the Web: Climate Crock of the Week

Every Monday I highlight other bloggers or web contributors who are making important or interesting contributions to climate, sustainability, transportation or market transformation. Check back each week for another installment.
This week I debut my first "What's on the Web" YouTube personality: Greenman 3610, who puts out a series of videos entitled "Climate Change Crock of the Week."  Although not always weekly, the producer of these videos, Peter Sinclair, regularly posts extremely well produced  YouTube videos that primarily debunk various climate change skeptic arguments, like this one.

There are currently about 40 videos in Greenman3610's list.  Visit Climate Crock of the Week, and share with your skeptic and non-skeptic friends.  The videos are entertaining and informative.

Capital Bikeshare Works Again

Following up on last week's experience, I used the Capital Bikeshare system again today.  It was a very similar location.  I was on a discussion panel at 1875 Connecticut Avenue, NW, which is about 4-5 blocks north of DuPont Circle.  There's a CaBi station at 19th & Florida right behind the building.  I got a bike there and rode straight down 21st Street to 21st & I.  That took under 10 minutes.  Then I walked the two blocks to Foggy Bottom to catch the Orange Line home.

CaBi saved me a 10-minute walk to DuPont Circle plus the transfer from the Red Line to the Orange Line.  I also saved 40 cents on my Metro fare.  Woo-hoo!

Monday What's on the Web: Ricky Rood's blog on Wunderground

Every Monday I highlight other bloggers or web contributors who are making important or interesting contributions to climate, sustainability, transportation or market transformation. Check back each week for another installment.
 I previously featured Dr. Jeff Masters in my Monday What's on the Web series.  This week I feature his colleague, Ricky Rood. Dr. Masters focuses quite a bit on severe weather: hurricanes and the like.  Ricky Rood, however, focuses his posts almost entirely on climate change, and he's been doing it quite effectively since 2007.  Dr. Rood is a professor at the University of Michigan, teaching about climate change and its interaction with all aspects of society (bio).

His posts are thoughtful and thorough and lend a lot to the discussion.  Recently he posted a 4-part series that included the question "What to do?" in each one.
I highly recommend this series of articles along with Dr. Rood's blog in its entirety.

No More "Ridiculous" Car Trips

The city of Malmo, Sweden adopted a marketing campaign highlighting "ridiculous" car trips--those less than five kilometers (about 3 miles).  Here's a video highlighting their efforts:

No ridiculous car trips from Martin Lang on Vimeo.

Monday What's on the Web: The Progressive Fix

Every Monday I highlight other bloggers or web contributors who are making important or interesting contributions to climate, sustainability, transportation or market transformation. Check back each week for another installment.

This week's profile is The Progressive Fix.   The Progressive Fix is a blog associated with the Progressive Policy Institute.  It covers a wide variety of topics that support progressive topics, including many that mirror closely the ideas and policies that this blog endorses.  It tends to be more political and policy oriented than market and business oriented, but covers a lot of good ground nonetheless.

This blog covers the whole range of topics, from Afghanistan to Urban Planning.  By going to their content-by-topic page you can find those topics of particular interest, such as Environment or Green Jobs

In particular, PPI has been a strong supporter of high-speed rail (two previous posts on this blog here and here) and investments in infrastructure that will support a growing economy. 

Recent posts that may be of interest to my readers include:

How the Military is Leading the Way on Energy Security

Congress and Climate: The Long View

How To Pay For High-Speed Rail




My First (mostly positive) Experience Using Capital Bikeshare

Today I had a great opportunity to try out my new membership to Capital Bikeshare.  I was attending a 1/2 day seminar at the Hilton Hotel on Connecticut Avenue, north of Dupont Circle.

Since I take the Orange Line from Arlington, I decided to disembark at Foggy Bottom and ride up to the conference, allowing me to skip the transfer at Metro Center.

The station at Foggy Bottom is not yet in place, so I had to walk two blocks east to the station at 21st & I Streets.  There were about 12-15 bikes at this station, ready to go.  It was pretty easy; I just inserted my fob in the slot, the light turned yellow, then green, and the bike unlocked.  I put my bag in the rack and secured it with the attached bungee and headed up 20th Street.

(View Steve Offutt's bikeshare map from October 1 2010 in a larger map)

At first I did not notice the station at 20th & Florida.  I had misremembered the location as being at 19th and Florida.  When I got there, I did not see a station.  I called the toll-free number on the bike and was directed to the station by a customer service agent.  The reason I had missed it was because it is a much smaller station and there was only a single bike in it.

About noon I left my event and went back to the station for the return trip.  Unfortunately, there were no bikes at 19th & Florida.  I walked to Dupont Circle to the station on Massachusetts avenue and got a bike there.  During the time I got that bike, two other people did as well.  I had a short conversation with a woman who was using one for the first time and was very excited about it.

I rode back to 21st & I, returned the bike, walked to Foggy Bottom and took the Metro home.  I saved 95 cents over the fares I would have paid had I taken the Metro to Dupont.

From this experience, it appears that the system is getting used:
  • At least two others must have used the station near the hotel, since the two bikes that were there when I went in were gone when I came out.  
  • The station at Dupont was used by two others just in the few minutes I was there
  • The station at 21st & I Street had clearly been used numerous times over the 3 hours between my two visits, because the bikes were all moved around from their original locations.
Here's hoping they get the rest of the stations opened pronto--particularly downtown stations in advance of the Metro shutdown during Columbus day weekend.