Op-Ed: Hard-earned road lessons from Britain

The British journalist, editor and cycling activist  Carlton Reid is in the process of finalizing a “massive free e-book” due for publication this Spring at http://www.roadswerenotbuiltforcars.com/. His book provides valuable study the pasthistorical background on how we in Britain and the United States got into the present no-choice single-mode road systems that have provided the authoritarian main model for the fast (and less fast) developing countries as they rush to urbanization. The lessons of history, if learned, can, we are told, help us better understand the present and on that firm base decide what we wish to become in the future. So with thanks to Carlton Reid let’s see if we can learn this particular hard  lesson from Britain: Continue reading

Public transport riders wide open to infection by parasites and viruses

Just when we thought we were finally starting to figure out how to make a major shift to  public transport, this troubling article shows up in the main paper in Tallinn Estonia, at the time of their introduction of a new program to create FFPT  Fare Free Public Transport.  Now someone has to figure out how to offer Germ Free Public Transport. GFPT. Quite seriously. Where do we start to work out way through this one?  Have a look and tell us what you think about it.

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Slaughtering, stinking engines of iniquity

Carlton Reid is writing a book about roads history.  He’s  focusing  on the period carlot ried roads not build for cars - cover1880-1905, which saw the Bicycling Boom and then – pop – the start of Motoring Mania.  Examining tangents, finding new areas to explore, digging out deeper and more convincing evidence to show that cyclists had far more influence on government road policies than previously thought. Not just previously thought by the public at large, but by social history and transport academics, too.  In today’s W/S article  he shares with us some of the historical quotes he has uncovered, which relate in important ways to the matters which concern us here. Let’s have a look at a selection of these. Continue reading

Op-Ed. Italian Perspectives on Carsharing: Past Practices, Future Prospects

ICS Car sharing genova This report on carsharing history, practices and prospects in Italy is contributed by Carlo Iacovini who has been one of the most active figures in the development of the industry in Italy since he became actively involved in planning and developing new carsharing systems in 1996.

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Weekend musing: On Nixon in China

While musing about China these days, and particularly about how they are handling policy and invement decisions involviing  transport, mobility and public space during this period of possible change of thinking at the highest policy levels there (See World Streets http://wp.me/psKUY-2Kb), I am listening this weekend once again, decades later, to the still surprising Nixon in China of John Adams. And wondering how my Chinese friends might react to this.

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Op-Ed: Think again about China and Innovation

This is excellent piece of analytic work by a young Canadian scholar, strips away many of the all too easy myths about China and Chinese copycat culture, and puts before us quite a different picture of their competitive potential for a very different future. . Let me quote the author’s opening paragraph which does a good job of setting the stage for what follows.

eric b kennedyConversations about innovation in the United States are rife with the adversarial language of exceptionalism. Rather than view China’s economic rise as a threat, American businesses and policy makers should take an open-minded look at the Chinese national innovation system. Innovation, according to the Chinese, should be in service of overcoming social and environmental challenges, not only generating prosperity and new inventions. And rather than viewing innovation as an individual pursuit, the Chinese recognize the necessity of a strong government role.

And from this end I want to transpose this message specifically to the transport sector as it concerns us  here at World Streets. If in the past we have seen that the Chinese response to their rapid city growth and exploding transportation requirements has been to mimic the (worst of) the West yard by yard, can we reasonably assume that they will continue on such a path in the future? I for one doubt it, so let’s keep a weather eye on the new generation of problem-solvers, solutions and approaches they are going to put to work. Since we all surely will have a great deal to learn from them.  But now let’s hear what Eric Kennedy has to say about China’s new national innovation system:

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