Anumita Roychowdhury, associate director of the Centre for Science and Environment in New Delhi, in a wide-ranging conversation with Faizal Khan reporting for the excellent Walkability Asia ( Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities), spells out clearly the inevitability of a non-motorised transport code in India through shocking figures and revealing facts. “We need zero tolerance policy for accidents. This menu of action needs support. Our right to walk is not negotiable.” And on this Roychowdhury is entirely right. On this score we must be entirely intransigent and as part of this to keep pounding away on this important point of citizen activism on every available occasion, until we get the concept of zero tolerance written into the law and respected on the streets. All our streets! Continue reading
Posted in 2013, Active citizenry, Cars, Cross-posted, Cycling, Global South, more choices, NMT, Op-ed, paradigm change, Pedestrian
First step: Say good-bye to Old Mobility
“Old Mobility” – with its relentless stress on more, supply, more vehicles, more speed, ever greater distances and more infrastructure as the knee-jerk answer to our mobility problems — has been the favored path for conceptualizing, decision-making and investment in the sector over the last 70 years. It is fully charted, surprise-free and easy to see where it is leading. Aggressing the planet, costing us a bundle, draining the world’s petroleum reserves, and delivering poor service for the majority . . . this tired approach is a clear failure. It’s time for a major change of course.
In order to understand what needs to be done to create healthier lives and a better performing set of transportation arrangements, World Streets has from the very beginning made a consistent distinction between what we call “Old Mobility” vs.”New Mobility.” The difference between the two is simple, straight-forward . . . and substantial.
Old mobility was the dominant form of transportation policy, practice and thinking that took its full shape and momentum starting in the mid twentieth century, at a time when we all lived in a universe that was, or at least seemed to be, boundless and free of constraints. It served many of us well in many ways at the time, albeit with numerous and notable exceptions, though we were blind to most of them most of the time. It was a very different world back them. But that world is gone. Gone and it will never come back.
Too often when it comes to new transport initiatives, the practice is to concentrate on laying the base for the project in close working relationships with people and groups who a priori are favorably disposed to your idea, basically your choir. Leaving the potential “trouble makers” aside for another day. Experience shows that’s a big mistake. Instead from the beginning we have to take a . . .
The latest news about increasing support of women in leadership positions in transport just in this morning from Hong Kong.
World Streets is firmly behind the movement to bring more women at all levels of society and in all countries into the heart of the process of understanding, planning and implementing fair mobility for all. Since 1973 the editor has been actively engaged in the movement to increase the role of women in the highest levels of leadership in public, private sectors and into the volunteer and NGO movement. At times this has been a lonely vigil, but as the French poet Louis Aragon told us some two generations ago: “La femme est l’avenir de l’homme” (Woman is the future of man). If you believe that, it makes you very hard to stop. Continue reading
For my colleagues in the city of Lyon, I am trying to give them a reference for an app which permits citizens to identify and report on problems on the streets in very specific and convenient ways. Here is how it might/should work: Continue reading
This is a simple fact! Free Public Transport (FPT) has no possible justification whatsoever unless your governing officials are willing to do something about adjusting the modal mix and bringing down car ownership and use in the city strategically and as quickly as possible SCR – (Systematic Car Reductions).
The tools for achieving these necessary adjustments in the modal split are well known, experience-proven and widely used in cities of all sizes in many parts of the world. There is no possible justification that competent public authorities not be aware of these proven tools and policies. They include most notably: Continue reading
Look out. This time our friends over at the European Economic and Social Committee (JDE62) in Brussels are doing a terrific thing. Tomorrow morning they open their doors for a one day conference and peer brainstorm on Civil Society and European Union Policy and Practice in the Field of Transportation (my title). As latest background information you will find here the final copy of their program and a list of their speakers, panelists, etc. Continue reading
We have no money gentlemen, so we shall have to think.
– Ernest Rutherford, on taking over Cavendish Laboratory in 1919
World Streets is an independent public interest publication which, as a matter of policy, we make freely available to all who are looking to understand, support, and contribute to the sustainability agenda anywhere in the world. We firmly believe that there should be no barriers, and especially not commercial ones, to the free circulation of news, tools, counsel and peer exchanges when it comes to the important issues of sustainable development and social justice. To ensure our full independence we do not accept advertising. We depend on the support of our readers, concerned public agencies, foundations and actors in the private sector to keep going. Continue reading
Ici chacun sait ce qu’il veut, ce qu’il fait, quand il passe ;
Ami, si tu tombes, un ami sort de l’ombre à ta place. *
Yesterday at the end of a long day I received an email announcing the untimely and totally unexpected demise of my dear friend and colleague, Rolland Dreyfus, founder and principal inspiration and motor behind the Accès Universel program since its creation in 2006. In case you do not know his work you can follow the program he created with his energy, commitment and vision from its beginning via their website at
(where you will also find the announcement of his death). What to do? I am not on the board of the association (I am only an advisor) so I am not in a position to get directly involved in the decisions to continue or not either the work of the Association or the website. So rather than sit around moping and feeling absolutely powerless I took the risk of trying something immediately as a modest testimonial to support his work and vision. Continue reading
The European Economic and Social Committee is organizing a conference on “Achieving the goals of the White Paper on Transport: how civil society can help with delivery”. This one day conference will take place at the Committee’s premises on 7 December. The principal document under discussion is entitled “Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – Towards a competitive and resource-efficient transport system”. It is available here . We are inviting comments on this document since it is at the core of the meeting. But first some background: Continue reading
That’s great. But just because we voted today does not mean that we are done with our duty as a citizen in a true democracy.
11 October 2012: World Streets supports the full and active citizenship, rights and participation of women of all ages in every home, corner, school and street of every city and every nation of this planet. See PLan International for today’s announcement and a first round of background information on this important day. Continue reading
This week we initiate work on the first stages of preparatory organization in support of an “open conversation” looking into the pros and cons, the possibilities and eventual impossibilities, of creating an equity-based transportation system at the level of a city and the surrounding region. This first pioneering project, in which we hope will become a series of leading world city projects building on this first example, is being carried out under the leadership of the Helsinki Department of City Planning and Transportation, and is running over the period mi-February through mid-April.
Posted in 2012, Active citizenry, Equity, Equity/Finland, Finland, Mediation, paradigm change, public consultation, World Streets
Tagged Book, Equity, Helsinki Equity, Reader
If you get it, New Mobility is a no-brainer. However, while the New Mobility Agenda is a great starting place, it is not going to get the job somehow miraculously done just because it is the only game in town when it comes to sustainable transport. There is plenty of competition for all that space on the street and between the ears. We have a few potential sticking points here that need to be overcome first. Let’s have a quick look to get this exchange off the ground. After some years of talking with cities, and working and observing in many different circumstances, here is my personal shortlist of the barriers are most frequently encountered in trying to get innovative transportation reform programs off the ground, including even in cities that really do need a major mobility overhaul. Continue reading
Posted in 2012, Active citizenry, behavior, Deep democracy, Governance, idea building, Mayor/local govt, Mediation, Old Mobility, Open Systems, Participation, Pattern break, politics, World Streets
Tagged Book, Equity, Reader