Selling snow to eskimos

… or talking about urban cycling in Oldenburg.

Today I participated in a workshop on sustainable mobility which was held in the context of this year’s EnviroInfo internet conference. There I had the chance to present (slides here internet) our research on bicycle safety as fundament of a comprihensive bicycle promotion strategy.
Before I came to Oldenburg I was aware that it has an amazing bicycle modal split, but what I saw was much more than I had expected. In Oldenburg it’s not about painting a cycle lane here or limiting traffic speed there. All cycle ways are separated from the main road and worthy of their name. What’s the secret of Oldenburg’s success? Maybe this picture says more than thousand words:


Are bad public transport connections (look at the schedule!) and an excellent bicycle infrastructure the key to the amazing bicycle modal split?

Another thing that astonished me was a statement by Dr. Hermsmeier from EWE (utility company) who said in his morning keynote that EWE collects tons of data with their smart meters but don’t know what to do with it! Can you imagine this?! I always thought that the only reason for installing smart meters was to provide intelligent, user-tailored services (official version) and to generate detailed, individual profiles of all consumers (business model). But now after hearing this from the head of the R&D department it seems to be simply a waste of money – at least as long as the smart meter is not from Nest internet.

BTW, the keynote in the afternoon by Chris Preist (University of Bristol) was my personal highlight at the conference. His big picture of the manifold impacts of ICT on the environment was really inspiring. I’ll need to browse is publication list internet for more details … The main point he made was, that ICT accelerates societies and that it is of crucial importance to be clear about the target. My personal target now is to catch my train back home!


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