Let's follow Norway to become the greenest city in the world

The Trampe bicycle lift in Trondheim, Norway (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

The City of Vancouver recently launched the website Talk Green to Us and set out 10 ambitious goals to make itself the greenest city in the world. One goal (number four) specifically focuses on green transporation and aims to make walking, cycling, and taking public transit the dominant form of transportation by 2020.

The website Talk Green to Us allows Vancouver residents to voice their own ideas and has an online voting system that is used to filter out ideas based on popularity. The current most popular idea is "Cycling for Everyone: Develop a complete cycling network that feels safe and attractive to all" with over 450 votes.

Developing a safe cycling network will certainly encourage more residents to commute to work or school on their bicycles. However, the next step towards green commuting is to make cycling in itself attractive to all.

Vancouver is by no means flat geographically, and hill climbing is probably the most unattractive part of bicycle commuting next to poor road and traffic conditions. While hills may be good for increasing fitness, they are not the most ideal conditions to endure before going to work.

However, Trondheim, a hilly university town in Norway where 90 percent of student residents commute on bicycles, may have a solution to this type of a problem. The city uses a bicycle lift called the Trampe, and one such device has already pushed more than 220,000 cyclists up a very steep hill.

Although installations of the current Trampe would not be as effective in Vancouver (except in a few locations such as the steep incline between Blenheim and Dunbar along West 16th Avenue), technological revisions can perhaps be made to make hills less irksome for commuters and encourage more residents to use their bicycles, especially seniors.

According to a user survey in Trondheim, 41 percent of lift users were more willing to use their bicycles after the installation of the Trampe bicycle lift.

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