Fair Mobility: Make no small gestures

On fairness in the domain of transportation

The upper and lower limit of government intervention

- Karel Martens

A different perspective: Concerns about the environment have long been seen as a trigger for a transition in transportation planning and policy across the world. While certainly steps in the right direction have been made, so far little fundamental change can be discerned in the policies of most (national) governments.

My claim is that real transition in the domain of transportation, and thus ultimately in the way we travel, can only come about if we recognize that mobility is a prerequisite for full participation in society – and that government policies have to guarantee, as much as reasonably possible, that all can partake in society.
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2014: The Battle of Ideas

Challenging year ahead. Here are the main program areas to which we intend to give attention over the complex systems networkcourse of the year ahead. All of these are complex system challenges and require patient attention and mental flexibility if we are to find the best way to proceed in each case. And in each case it is not enough to be right in terms of the basic principles — it is every bit as important to be able to communicate them and to convince the public, government and other key actors that these ideas and approaches are worth getting behind. Nobody ever said that the move to sustainable transport and sustainable cities was going to be simple.

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Rural carshare project – A thinking exercise & Invitation for comment

rural carshare cowWe keep reading and are repeatedly informed that for carsharing to work there must be good public transport, cycling and other mobility arrangements as indispensable complements. In other words, for carsharing to work you have to be not only in a city, but in a certain kind of city. This position has been an article of faith for many carshare observers for more than a decade, and while there is a certain logic to it, upon inspection it turns out  there is a lot more to successful carsharing than that.

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Free-for-all: Organizations around the world suppprting free public transport

The following listing of organizations around the world that are “fighting for free public transport” has been compiled by the Swedish activist group Free Public Transport, whose aim is to provide a global forum for the free public transport movement. Their website among other things provides information about local organizations around the world fighting for free public transport, as well as cities which have already implemented it. For their latest listing, click to http://freepublictransports.com/organization/.

free pub transport - Doschdesign

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Why buses represent democracy in action

Enrique Peñalosa, former mayor of Bogotá, was  responsible for introducing a number of in terms of transportation and public space innovations. In this short video he  talks here about buses versus cars (really people v. cars) and the experience of Bogotá in giving clear preference to buses with their now world-famous Transmilenio  (BRT) mass transit system. As mayor  he also introduced a number of innovations including land-use, parks and public space projects as well as Bogotá’s Bike Paths Network. If you listen to his talk you will see the very large number of issues and themes which relates to the situation in Penang today. Let’s see what we can learn from Bogotá.

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A New Moblity Agenda for the Vision Impaired in Penang

In the context of the Sustainable Penang/New Mobility 2014 program, the key to the success of the project lies in the identification and eventual Penang St Nicholas Home logopreparation and implementation of specific, practical, relatively low cost concepts and measures which give more importance to non-motorized transport and public transportation than to the traditional uses of the private car. One of the ideas that came up early in the Focus Group  brainstorming sessions was that of providing voice announcements for the blind and others with visual impairments on the new Rapid Penang bus services being developed across the state. In the following excellent article prepared by the local NGO Saint Nicolas Home we see how thoroughly they are looking at the problems of mobility and access for the visually impaired. Thus it is not surprising that Saint Nicolas Home is emerging as one of the most engaged champions of this collaborative project for 2014.  (We shall be seeing more about that project shortly here.)

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Congestion Offsets vs Road Pricing: The quest for efficiency and equity

Matthew Bradley and Jeff Kenworthy help us to set out on our search for USA tollbooth attendenteconomic instruments that can be effective in reducing traffic congestion while leveling the playing field between cars and other transport in ways that are both efficient and equitable.  They tell us that: “A major part of the urban transport problem today is a failure from the very beginning to acknowledge that congestion is fundamentally inequitable and unfair, impractical to construct away, and therefore must be properly charged for and controlled to eliminate the transport system dysfunction which is systemic in cities today.” Recommended reading for anyone with  a serious interest in how to get the most out of economic instruments in our troubled, seriously underperforming sector.

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