News

Our friends electric: How Europe is cleaning up its railways

Britain may have an electric railway that this year celebrates its 134th birthday, but electrification of the entire network lags behind other European countries. Forty per cent of the British rail network was electrified by 2006, representing 60% of all rail journeys. However, electrification of remaining lines, particularly with the more-efficient overhead lines, remains slow. While we wring our hands about the financial…

How green is your older car?

Is it greener to buy a new, fuel-efficient car or run your current motor into the ground? Car salesmen would have you believe that new is best, but older can be less environmentally-damaging overall as well as easier on your pocket. Most car cost calculators are skewed by depreciation; a factor that is significant in the first three years, but inconsequential…

Corky: The bicycle mirror reinvented

While mirrors don’t replace the need for the occasional glance over your shoulder to check the road behind, they can be a useful accessory – particularly for novice cyclists. Strange then, that so few of us use them. It appears the traditional handlebar-mounted mirror has gone the way the way of the mudguard; no longer regarded as desirable. In spite of this,…

Growroom: A flat-pack allotment

Everybody deserves access to green space, but in our ever-growing cities it competes against a feverish appetite for luxury flats. And while architects drawings always feature greenery, it’s unusual for it to survive the journey from plan to plants. Trust the Scandinavians to come up with a flat-pack solution. The Growroom is a self-assembly spherical garden that takes the benefits…

MyCanoe: A boat that stores under your bed

MyCanoe is an origami-inspired design that folds into a bag that weighs only 23 kg and can be carried over the shoulder. Both body and soul benefit from time spent on the water, but boating is understandably overlooked by urban folk who seldom have enough room to store bicycles, let alone a canoe. It’s unfortunate because a navigable river is rarely far…