Memorandum by Social Policy Advice and
Research Associates (IT 4)
RAPID RIDER ROUTES
A Blueprint for Urban Transport
As with all road transport planning, the difficulty
is that more and more vehicles and pedestrians try to squash together
into limited road space as the centre of the city is approached.
Imaginative solutions will have to be found in each city to ensure
that the RRR principles of speed, safety and accessibility are
not lost as they compete with other users for road space.
There are many examples in Holland, Denmark
and North Germany of excellent road management schemes and detailed
planning of junctions, distinctive surfaces, etc. to provide fast
safe routes for riders in urban areas.
THE RRR NETWORK
The cost of the necessary alterations to road
layouts would be minimal and RRRs would make unlimited urban journeys
affordable for even the poorest citizens.
Health and safety
RRRs would alow the opportunity for plenty of
exercise on the way to work and school, away from traffic fumes
and dangerous motor vehicles, using methods of transport which
themselves cause little or no pollution. Overall levels of pollution
in cities would fall.
Door to door transport
Riders could rapidly complete the journey from
the bus stop, station or park-and-ride, or make the complete journey
door-to-door by their own non-polluting conveyance.
As with pedestrianised shopping areas, traders
will soon reap advantages from the passing trade of large numbers
The journey to work could be fast and fun!a
far cry from the stress of traffic jams and fumes.
RRRs are capable of carrying a much greater
density of travellers per square metre of road space than conventional
motor vehicle routes. Users can travel on them just as fast, or
faster, at an average inner urban speed of 8 to 10 mph.
Protection of the environment versus personal
People will be able to travel in or on their
own private conveyance without contributing to the degradation
of the environment.
Reduction of motor vehicle congestion
Well-used RRRs leave the Main Motor Vehicle
Routes free for essential vehicles to travel unimpeded.
The area of land required to provide parking
spaces will be reduced. Much of the parking can be off-road, in
cycle sheds, backyards, indoor compounds etc.
RRRs can provide freedom of movement for all,
including children, the elderly and disabled.
It is proposed that the government should:
pilot a comprehensive RRR system
in one or two cities (not just a partial system, which
would only frustrate users and would not attract them in sufficient
numbers to reduce pollution and congestion), introducing it with
publicity and pizzazz;
offer grants to researchers and
manufacturers for the development of (a) small electric vehicles
suitable for RRRs and (b) lightweight, see-through, aerodynamic
weather protection for bikes and buggies;
offer start-up grants for businesses
which (a) offer bike and buggy hire, and b) provide RRR taxi services
in the form of cycle rickshaws, sedan chairs, etc;
introduce legislation: (a)
to limit the use of RRRs (other than for access only) to electric
engines below a certain size, speed and decibel level; (b) to
allow adults to use these engines on RRRs and on Joint Vehicle
Routes without a license; (c) to limit traffic speeds to 20 m.p.h.
on RRRs and all Joint Vehicle Routes; (d) to compel schools, factories
etc. to make secure provision for RRR conveyances on the premises.
The normal provisions of the highway code, regarding
lane discipline, signalling etc., would continue to apply to all
This proposal is not anti-car. It is based on
the assumption that people would much prefer to travel on quiet,
safe, attractive routes, well away from exhaust fumes, provided
they can still travel quickly and under their own steam, either
in or on their own private conveyance.
Eventually, as more and more people take to
the RRRs, it should be possible to free the Main Motor Vehicle
Routes for fast delivery of goods and for group transport vehicles
(buses, and cars carrying passengers), creating a better environment
for all road users. City streets will become enjoyable places,
where all can go unhindered about their business.
RRR conveyances are perhaps the most attractive
alternative we will ever have to the private motor car. Thanks
to modern mobility technology, the creation of RRRs will allow
the whole population to enjoy a freedom of movement which is unprecedented
in urban life.
Monica and Roger Else
4 Monica and Roger Else are social policy consultants
with SPARA (Social Policy Advice and Research Associates). Monica
was formerly senior social development officer with Milton Keynes
Development Corporation and the originator of the new city's cycleway
system. Roger, who is SPARA's director, was principal planning
officer for Milton Keynes, responsible for social policy. Back