Design for conflict avoidance

Design for conflict avoidance
Photo by Quentin Bounias / Unsplash

In my Ottawa Citizen column this week I discuss wildlife management and how – in this and in many other aspects of life in society – smart design can make such a big difference.

Speaking of which, sort of. We’re starting the new e-scooter season and that’s the perfect time to air, once again, my unending love-hate relationship with them. I am a huge fan of giving people more micro-mobility options not fewer, but unless and until we give more space to non-cars, we’ll continue to have issues with some people using scooters badly and reducing options for pedestrians and cyclists.

I must say, however, that the companies offering e-scooters have done a great job of cracking down on bad users. They’ve also modified how their scooters work to reduce conflicts with pedestrians. I wrote about those improvements here.

The folks at Neuron (the bright orange scooters) sent me some stats that I’m happy to share with you, especially the one about users making purchases:

  • Since the e-scooter program began in 2021, Neuron’s riders have traveled over 520,000 kilometers
  • 41% of all trips replaced a car journey, eliminating an estimated 35 tonnes of CO2 emissions in Ottawa
  • 73% of Neuron’s e-scooter trips result in a purchase at a local business, with the average spend $32 per trip
  • New and existing riders can earn free credits by visiting Neuron’s online ScootSafe Academy for city-specific training content to familiarize themselves with the local riding rules
  • Safety is Neuron’s top priority and its e-scooters are fitted with the world’s first integrated helmets, which are highly recommended for all riders in Ottawa
Image from the TVO documentary TRIPPING the French River

One of the most pleasant aspects of living in Ontario is the landscape. Very few areas in the world have beautiful lakes and rivers like we do here. Personally I could do without the mosquitoes but even with those, being out in nature — and alone in nature — is something I value very much. It quiets the soul and cleanses the spirit.

Not everyone has the opportunity to go out in nature as often as they’d like. I know I don’t. A second-best option is to watch well-done documentaries, especially when they truly convey the sheer immeasurable beauty of the thing.

TRIPPING the French River, which premieres on TVO April 21 at 8 pm, is so well done that it’s almost therapeutic. You’re essentially riding a canoe down this historic river, from Lake Nipissing to Georgian Bay, for a three-hour ride that is punctuated by important bits of information about the river, its changing landscape, and the people who live around it. I did enjoy learning about this river, about which I didn’t know much, but you can also choose to put this movie on in the background as a kind of nature therapy. The sound is crisp and the photography breathtaking. I like that the paddlers don’t talk too much — it leaves a lot of room for the sounds of the river itself.

The documentary follows a similar model used for TRIPPING The Rideau CanalTRIPPING The NiagaraTRIPPING The Bruce, and TRIPPING Train 185.
It will be available on-demand on TVO TodayYouTube and smart TV services.