Electric cars inspire dreaming, not only on the part of some consumers, observers and enthusiasts but also by public authorities who are trying hard to work their way out of the twin-headed hydra of finding the difficult path to sustainable transport in cities, and in many cases also having to deal with an auto industry in painful transition. As someone who drove a small ecar every day for ten years in Paris traffic (see attached pic), I personally found it a grand way to get around the city. But is that the crux of the issue here? I think not.
Today the International Energy Agency has published a new report, A Tale of Renewed Cities. The report draws on examples from more than 30 cities across the globe to show how to improve transport efficiency through better urban planning and travel demand management. Extra benefits include lower greenhouse-gas emissions and higher quality of life. According to the report, policies that improve the energy efficiency of urban transport systems could help save as much as USD 70 trillion in spending on vehicles, fuel and transportation infrastructure between now and 2050.
Professor Robert Ayres will be joining The Sustainable Development, Economy and Society Master Class at the ISG in Paris this year as a guest speaker on Thursday at 14:00. You will find a short bio note summarizing some of the high points of his career and prolific output just below. In his presentation and in the following question period Ayres will be looking at some important aspects of the future of the planet, which holds out some interesting clues for the future career and expertise choices of young people looking at a future business career. As he rakes through the smoldering coals of a world soon to be saddled with post-peak oil prices that will never again come back to “normal”, he may have a few clues for your future.
An article of April 26, 2013,” The Race of Our Lives”(GMO) by Jeremy Grantham, is a worthwhile read on your Tablet. Click here for article.) . In part because his basic thesis is that the white horse of hope for the future of our endangered species and planet just might turn out to be the triple whammy of (a) serious autopilot demographic downsizing, (b) deus ex machina help from our extended 21st century brains (think internet and/or Zetabytes) and (c) the bountiful near-term harvest of renewable energy. It’s a pretty good read for your spare time.
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.
This weekend saw the first public testing of the much bruited Autolib’ carshare project currently getting underway here in Paris. And as you wait for our in-depth coverage, on-the-spot interviews and film we thought you might find it handy to refresh your understanding of the basic objectives and challenges, with this reprint of our 10 December 2010 article in which we try to take a balanced view of this ambitious transportation project. You will be hearing a lot more about Autolib’ in the coming months. If it works, it will be a major transformative project and will make a lot of people start to think in quite different terms about how they are going to get around in the city in the future. (For a quick print update try here and here. And for a short video, here) Continue reading
There are a lot of reasons which need to be investigated if we are to have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the sustainable transportation wars. The first step in this necessary process is to accept that by any reasonable measure, we are losing the war and losing it badly — in such a way that each day our sector in cities around the world is one that is in a state of increasing disruption and destruction, aggressing our most fundamental human and social values. It is that bad, and anyone who refuses to accept this is very definitely part of the problem. But then, once we have accepted the bad news, it is time to stop the weeping and figure out how can start to reverse this mounting tide of poor policies, unwise investments, and other abject indifference to all of those who are left worse off in the process. Let me stand aside here and give the word to Cornie Huizenga who has some thoughtful positive suggestions s to where we might go from here. Continue reading