This fall, I had an opportunity to go to Paris to work with our European team for a few days. (You can find my travelogue back on Civil 3D Rocks. I especially love the part about the concrete plant on the Seine. "A Civil Engineer's Trip to Paris")
While there, I couldn't help but noticing what appeared to be bicycle or maybe moped vending machines. I took lots of pictures. There is something magical about Paris where even the most common things- like a line up of bicycles- seem like a piece of fine art.
It turns out, they were bicycles (not mopeds) and are part of a program called "Vélo Liberté" or Vélib' for short. The program allows you to take a bike from any of the vending machines and return it to any other. It's free for the first 30 minutes, and costs a euro or so per hour for additional time. You can also buy a day pass, or other subscriptions.
The goal is to reduce Paris traffic by 40% by the year 2020. The program is a big success, and it helps people find ways to use their cars less. When you don't have to worry about buying or maintaining a bike, or where to store it at night, it probably makes it much easier to justify riding one. I also noticed in Paris quite a few bike lanes, which would be handy since Paris traffic is... intimidating to say the least!
Streetfilms posted a short video about the program.
I also try to keep my eye on the Design e² series, a PBS video podcast/webcast series on "The Economies of Being Environmentally Conscious" (You can see a full episode list and more information on the wikipedia page as well.) I was so excited to see that they did a story on Vélib. The Design e² series is excellent, and I am trying to make it a habit to watch one per week. You can also download the podcasts for watching on plane rides, the bus or at the gym.
A few years ago, I started collecting Art Deco and other vintage travel posters. (I have most of the ones shown here for example), so this year when I began learning photoshop, I thought it would be fun to practice by making my own.