Stupidity has no borders: Weekend flash from our unparalleled Worst Practices Department

Vienna, Austria. 16 November 2014

Dear Worst Practitioners,

You are going to have to exercise your Polish for the finer points but 90 seconds spent strolling this new tram stop in Łódź, Poland tells an interesting story of who loves whom most in this modernizing city. 3.5 meters for the cars, 85 cm for the public transport user.

Poland Lodz 85 cm tramway protection

 Click here for instructive video.

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Commentary: On priority lane strategies for Malta

Malta priority lane - smallOn 11 November, the following question was posted by James Craig Wightman‎, one of the leaders of Malta’s hard-pressed cycling activist program, to the World Streets Facebook site.

Not sure if this is worthy of the Worst Practices page so thought I’d ask your opinion. As of tomorrow bus lanes in Malta will be open for car pooling cars and electric vehicles as well. While it’s a laudable notion, it remains to be seen how this will effect cyclist and motorcyclist rider safety. Up to now we knew the only cars that would (or should) be passing us were Taxi’s. Motorcycles were also allowed to use the lane. We knew that other private cars were not allowed and this meant we knew who to look out for (the idiot breaking the law and dangerously trying to squeeze past). Now its not so clear, neither is it clear how this will be enforced (a big problem in Malta) and managed. So I’m deeply concerned about cyclist safety with higher traffic volumes on the bus lanes, and particularly electric cars creeping up silently on cyclists. While you need to ask why other two wheeled traffic lost out (that will now filter down files of traffic).

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Clues: Zeroing in on your topic in World Streets

magnifying glass

World Streets is intended as a convenient way to follow developments at the leading (and lagging) edge of sustainable mobility world wide, as a journal of record, and as a resource. Many of our readers for the most part keep their eye out for the latest articles, but there are also others — students, researchers, citizens looking for background on specific topics — who need to have efficient access to what the full site has to offer as a resource. Which, it turns out, is quite a lot.

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Op-ed: John Whitelegg on Time Pollution

This out of control  bulimic spiral begins with man’s uncontrollable tool-making itch, and from there, and utterly unknown to us at the time, to tools which take on transforming lives of their own – one of which in the domain of mobility being ever-increasing speed, which in turn leads to ever-increasing distances, and which finally and in largely unnoticed fatal tandem destroys the reality and oh-so important qualities of proximity and community. What we thought at the time was merely more convenient transportation, has snuck up on us and turned into very inconvenient and altogether unanticipated transformation — in fact one of the most intractable challenges of transport policy and practice of the 21sr centur

How to break this vicious spiral? Well in cities anyway the key is clearly significant, strategic speed reduction in combination with a phased, multi-step systemic overall as needed to create a truly optimized mobility system for all. And happily we now have the technical  tools (the technical virtuosity) to get the job done. We shall see this spelled out more clearly here over the course of the coming months, but before leaping ahead, let’s step back a bit in time and see what Contributing Editor Professor John Whitelegg had to say on this subject in the pages of the Journal of World Transport Policy and Practice, way back in 1993.

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Op-Ed. The Old Transport Appraisal Shell Game: Who wins, who loses and what to do about it

scratching-head

Why is it that virtually every major transport project built in the last decades in just about any part of the world has cost a great deal more than the original engagement, and served far fewer people than originally forecast?  This pattern repeats itself time and again. Since the ones who end up holding the bag every time are the hard-working and apparently infinitely gullible taxpayers, it is possible to come to a conclusion.  And that has to be that, up to now at least, we are terminally stupid, we fall for the same old trick every time. Why is that, and what are its implications for the quality of mobility services in your city and metro area?  We invited Dr. Colin Black who is currently working to get a handle on these issues from an overall European perspective to share his thoughts with us.

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Op-Ed: Is Tallinn’s “free public transport” initiative doing its job?

tallinn free pubic transport 2celsius.netAs previously documented on World Streets the city of Tallinn, Estonia implemented Free Fare Public Transportation (FFPT) in January of 2013 for all registered citizens of the city. A year and a half into this policy voices from politicians, the media and academia presented an array of opinions in favour of, and refuting benefits of the policy. Thus in May of 2014 I visited Tallinn to conduct interviews with City staff, independent environmentalist consultants and academics alike for my master’s thesis in Urban and Regional Planning Studies at the London School of Economics. My research question was ‘Is Tallinn, Estonia’s free fare public transportation policy meeting its claimed motives as stated by the city’s municipal leaders?

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