World Transport Policy & Practice – Vol. 17, No. 2

The Journal of World Transport Policy and Practice is the long-standing idea and print partner of World Streets and the New Mobility Agenda since 1995. The Summer 2011 edition appears with articles by Bruce Appleyard, Joshua Hart and Graham Parkhurst, and Peter Newman and Jeff Kenworthy. In the article that follows you will find the lead editorial by founding editor John Whitelegg. (For a more complete introduction to World Transport click here.)

- – – > To obtain your copy of WTPP 17/2 click here.

Editorial

- John Whitelegg, Editor

This is an unusual and important issue of the journal.  We are delighted to carry an article by Bruce Appleyard in the United Sates which is his introduction to a new edition of Livable Streets.

Livable Streets by Donald Appleyard was published by the University of California Press in 1981 and is one of the most important transport texts to be published in the last 40 years.  It immediately identifies the street as an important social milieu and an asset of the greatest importance for sociability, neighbourliness, friendliness and community life.

Donald Appleyard  made a huge leap forward leaving  the tawdry world of transport economics, cost-benefit analysis, highway construction and foolish notions about higher car based mobility feeding higher quality of life well behind.  It establishes a new paradigm and to the shame of most transport professionals and politicians making decisions on transport choices its message is diluted, misunderstood and ignored.

Donald Appleyard’s book opens with the sentence:  “Nearly everyone in the world lives on a street”.  He goes on to say that the book has two objectives:

  • To explore what it is like to live on streets with different kinds of traffic
  • To search for ways in which more streets can be made safe and livable

These two objectives capture a great deal of the spirit and purpose of World Transport Policy and Practice and the revised edition of Livable Streets will be warmly welcomed by everyone who lives on a street and would like to see life made better by celebrating the quality of those spaces rather than treating them as sewers for the rapid movement of lumps of metal.

This article is followed by a UK application of the Donald Appleyard methodology.  Joshua Hart and Graham Parkhurst report on an original empirical application of “Livable Street” in Bristol and confirm the original findings about the negative impacts of traffic on sociability and conviviality and the need to assert a new transport paradigm that puts streets and human life at the top of the priority list and not somewhere below the level of a car driver speeding through a residential area to visit a gymnasium in order to keep fit.

Finally we have another major contribution from Peter Newman and Jeff Kenworthy.  In this article they identify the concept of “peak car use” and speculate that “we may now be witnessing the demise of automobile dependence in cities”.  The authors identify the scale in decline of car use and discuss 6 possible reasons for the decline and its significance for the future of planning, engineering, urban design and financing.  If this phenomenon is well established and can be relied on to continue through the next 30-40 years then we can confidently look forward to Donald Appleyard’s human centred desires becoming a global reality and that will be something to celebrate.

* The authors wish to sincerely thank the generous support of the Helen and William Mazer Foundation of New Jersey which contributed to the collection of the 2005/6 data reported in this paper.

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- – – > To obtain your copy of WTPP 17/2 click here.

About the editor:

Managing Director of Eco-Logica, John Whitelegg is Visiting Professor of Sustainable Transport at Liverpool John Moores University, Professor of Sustainable Development at the Stockholm Environment Institute, and founder and editor of the Journal of World Transport Policy and Practice. Research interests encompass transport and the environment, definition of sustainable transport systems and a sustainable built environment, development of transport in third world cities focusing on the relationships between sustainability and human health, implementation of environmental strategies within manufacturing and service industry and development of environmental management standards. He has published widely on these topics. John is active in the Green party of England and Wales and is the national spokesperson on sustainable development.

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