A vision of an integrated future
This year LifePaint looks beyond Dublin to the future of integrated transport systems
Last year we introduced you to Volvo's LifePaint. This year the concept embraces a wider vision of an integrated transport system and the future of how we travel.
The best design is usually the simplest and a good example of this principle in action is Volvo’s LifePaint, an innovative reflective spray paint that renders any surface highly reflective. The spray is invisible in daylight, but reflective under the high intensity beams of car headlights, it could save many lives.
The beauty of LifePaint though, goes beyond its primary function to increase cyclists’ visibility on the roads. It represents a major auto manufacturer’s commitment to the safety of all road users as part of an advanced integrated safety mission.
While some car makers focus on the safety of the driver and passenger within the vehicle, Volvo looks to the other road users too understanding that what helps one helps the other.
There has been a fundamental shift in the planning of urban transport systems in recent years. For so long the emphasis has been on placing the motor car in the position of primacy and thinking about pedestrians, cyclists and public transport afterwards. However as the capacity for the car increases, so does demand and use. If you build new and better roads, instead of more space between cars you end up with less, because more people are inclined to drive. What you end up with is gridlock in urban areas, especially at peak times.
However we’ve seen as the capacity for the car increases, so does demand and use. If you build new and better roads, instead of more space between cars you end up with less, because more people are inclined to drive. What you end up with is gridlock in urban areas, especially at peak times.
More and more, our conversation about the future of our transport involves the bicycle, it is no longer an afterthought but a central part of the strategy to develop an efficient and fully integrated transport system. Cars, cyclists and pedestrians can live side by side in a system that is designed to facilitate all.
The car is a fundamental pillar of modern living, being so much more than a mere vehicle to get us from A to B, but is increasingly becoming our 'third space’ between destinations, between work and home. With new advances in technology affording connectivity, experience, comfort and safety the car is somewhere we enjoy being, almost as an end in itself. Modern auto trends indicate the evolution of the car from a mere mode of transport to a hub of living as approaching faster than you might think.
It is therefore more important than ever that the modern transport system gives people more choice about how they travel. When not enjoying the comfort of their cars, they should equally be able to enjoy the experience of cycling in urban and rural areas.
The technology employed in the manufacturing of bicycles has excelled in recent years, meaning lighter, stronger and faster bicycles. Cycling is easier and longer distances in commuting are achievable. Increasing the amount of cyclists on Irish roads is in everyone’s interests. Obviously less congested roads means a more enjoyable and safer journey for cyclist, pedestrian and motorist alike.
While the statistics are startling: 10 pedal cyclists have been killed on Irish roads as of November 2016 with five of those fatalities occurring between July and November alone represents what might seem like a high-risk form of transport. It is also true that the vast majority of cycling accidents involve another vehicles. It’s a disproportionate amount of fatalities considering the percentage of people who travel to work by bicycle.
Volvo's Vision 2020
The inspiration for Volvo Cars LifePaint project came from Intellisafe– Volvo’s unique pedestrian and cyclist detection system, enhanced to work in darkness.
Intellisafe is a state-of-the-art Volvo safety system which integrates some of the most cutting-edge safety technologies to Volvo cars. The technology uses a combination of radar sensors and cameras to identify other vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists and automatically brake if the driver fails to take the necessary action.
This works in conjunction with Volvo’s Active Bending Headlights, which adjust left to right according to the steering input to help see around corners better and improve safety at night. Together, these innovations contribute towards Volvo’s Vision 2020 – the concept that no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo by 2020.
Dublin as a cycling city
Every year the Copenhagenize Index is released. It’s a city index rating how a city is for cyclists. Dublin features in the top 20, at 15th place. Above Paris but quite a way to go to compete with the likes of Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Utrecht at the top of the list. Still Dublin has made some amazing progress, thanks to increased cycle lanes, Dublin Bikes and the Bike to Work scheme.
“What Dublin has achieved over the past few years is fantastic. The perfect cocktail of politicians who get it, investment in infrastructure and facilities, traffic calming measures and an epic bike share system accelerated the city's journey to urban modernisation...”
The road belongs to everyone, Volvo recognises that. Safety has always been the most important feature of the Volvo offering. It is their approach to offer the highest safety features and standards while never compromising on performance and comfort that has pushed the Volvo to the position it holds in the international and domestic car markets. It’s also key to inspiring brand loyalty. Once converted to the Volvo experience, you’re also converted to the Volvo way of thinking. It’s a progressive way of looking at the future of transport, our roads and everyone who uses them.