Sunday, May 17, 2009
Velo-city 2009 and Villo!
I've recently returned from the Velo-city 2009 conference in Brussels, Belgium where I spoke in a session dedicated to bike-sharing. The packed session had presentations by:
- Esther Anaya, Bicicleta Club de Catalunya (BACC), Spain, speak about "Public Bikes, are they developing as true public transport in Spain?";
- Sara Basterfield and German Dector-Vega, CTC and Transport for London, UK, spoke about "Bike-sharing in European Cities"; and
- Jean-Sébastien Decaux, JCDecaux, France, spoke about "Public bicycles in Brussels. Why they have a future?".
My presentation was titled "Bike-sharing: its History and Future" and can be downloaded now. The others' presentations should be available on the Velo-city website in two weeks. Each presentation was insightful and well worth a view.
While in Brussels I got to see the preparations for the relaunch of Villo!, the region's new and improved bike-sharing program. The program got off to a poor start a few years ago, however, now it's coming back with a greater number of bikes and stations to tame this city of autos. The reincarnated program will have 2,500 bikes at 180 stations and will be available in the 16 cities of the Brussels capital region. The service will be offered year-round by JCDecaux through an advertising contract.
The bike facilities in Brussels are decent, with cycle tracks and bike lanes. However, these facilities generally they aren't being used. Offering bike-sharing on this greater scale will provide a solid option in moving about the compact medieval city and its surroundings to make a dent in the auto-centric behavior and begin to foster a bike culture.