Category Archives: Health

Too old to drive? So now what?

elderly drive statsAt what point in life are we,  you and I, “too old to drive”? When that fatal day comes, what do we do next? This is one of the unhappy surprises of contemporary life, but there is no reason that this need be personally devastating. It is after all foreseeable. In recent years we are starting to see  programs emerging to help people foresee or deal with this painful transition, which for many is almost paralyzing where they live in places in which there are no decent alternatives to car travel. World Streets intends to present a series of working papers and thinkpieces on this topic over the course of 2014. This article by Adrian Davis is the first in this series. Continue reading

World Transport Policy & Practice – Vol. 19, No. 2

Rural access, health & disability in Africa

A Special Edition of World Transport, Spring 2013

africa bike hosptial transportTransport, health and disability are interlinked on many levels, with transport availability directly and indirectly influenc­ing health, and health status influencing transport options. This is especially the case in rural locations of sub-Saharan Af­rica, where transport services are typically not only high cost, but also less frequent and less reliable than in urban areas.

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Op-Ed. Horrendous costs of motorized transport in (Indian) cities

Henrik ValeurEvery once in a while an article pops in over the transom, as happened this morning,  that provides us with a good, independent  checklist of the woes and, if not the solutions, at least the directions in which solutions might usefully be sought to our transportation related tribulations.  And this carefully crafted piece by Danish architect Henrik Valeur is a good case in point. His independent out of the box perspective leads him to making comments links and pointing out relationships which take him well beyond the usual transportation purview.  And if his immediate source of comment in this article is the awful, the quite unnecesssary situation on the streets of India’s cities, the points he makes have universal application. Healthy stuff for planners and policy makers. Let’s have a look.

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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.

estonia.tallinn-bus Continue reading

Streetsblog: Doing its job year after year in New York City. In memoriam 2012

Each year our friends over at STREETSblog in New York City publish a heart-rending testimonial to the mayhem that automobiles have wrought over the year on their city’s streets and the cost in terms of lives lost by innocent pedestrians and cyclists. Putting names, faces and human tragedy to what otherwise takes the form of dry numbers, faceless hence quickly forgettable statistics is an important task. We can only encourage responsible citizens and activists in every city on the planet to do the same thing, holding those public officials (and let’s not forget, we call them “public servants”, and for excellent reason) responsible for what goes on under their direct control. Continue reading

John Whitelegg on “Health in the sustainable city”

Some time back our very long time friend and associate, Professor of Sustainable Transportation and Sustainable Development John Whitelegg, was interviewed in Copenhagen and asked  how changes in transport systems can lead to a vast improvement in quality of life. We need to move from a world filled with metal and concrete to a world of green spaces and clean air, he explained.  Today, two years later, this short video has lost none of its validity or timeliness. Let’s have a look. Continue reading

Evaluating Public Transport Health Impacts

In the last days on the Sustran Global South Forum, Gregorio Villacorta of Metro of Lima (Peru) posted the following question to the group: “We would like to find some paper about road safety and social inclusion relationated to Metros, or other massive public transport.” In the usual good spirit of Sustran there were immediately several communications offering to lend a hand. This one from Todd Litman of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute is one that we think is well worth sharing here. Continue reading

Weekend reading: How do the Dutch get out of a car?

No matter how many times I have been to the Netherlands, how many times I have ridden next to parked cars, nor how many times  as a driver have I leapt from my vehicle, in all that time and in all those places I never learned how do the Dutch get out of a car. But I should have and Russell Shorto explains why. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Bikes, Helmets and the Long Arm of the Law

We had a good look at this one back in 2008 in the context of advising local government concerning the issue of requiring cyclists to wear helmets on the then-being considered public bike project.

We asked for the counsel of a number of international experts with backgrounds and contrasting views in this area, and this short report summarizes their information and recommendations. Still looks pretty good in 2011.

* Click here for World Streets  report – Bikes, helmets and the law

New York City Memorial Project: Remembering walkers and cyclists killed on the city’s streets

On Sunday, the NYC Street Memorial Project held the 6th Annual Memorial Ride and Walk. According to the New York City Department of Transportation, 151 pedestrians and 18 bicyclists were killed on the streets of New York City in 2010. Participants called for stronger measures to reduce traffic fatalities. The ride culminated by installing a “Ghost Bike” in front of Brooklyn Borough Hall for the unnamed pedestrians and cyclists killed in 2010. Continue reading

What percent of your city’s street space is allocated to non-car uses

The pie chart you will find just below  graphically illustrates the state of street space allocation today in New York City, after four years of hard work on a committed local effort by city government and many associations to free street space for pedestrians, bikes and buses. All that for less than one half of one percent of the public space given over to cars. So here is our question this morning: Do things look any better in your city in 2011? We invite your reports and comments. Continue reading

Seize the moment: A “Street Code” for Porto Alegre

Dear Porto Alegre and Brazilian Friends,

With all due respect, I propose that you give some thought to organizing to get strong citizen and multi-party support to exact “appropriate compensation” for Friday’s horrible, dumb and indeed tragic event on the streets of your beautiful city. I would imagine that this is a one-time, not to be repeated opportunity to get something very important and far-sighted out of a shaken city administration. Timing is everything in cases like this. You should thus be able to exact what you need today far better than just one week ago. Or a month or more from now once the heat has dissipated. So go for it!
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What can we learn from the murderous attack on cyclists in Porto Alegre on Friday?

Porto Alegre Brazil. 25 February 2011. At least forty people were injured when a mad driver slammed his car into a pack of more than 100 cyclists in the city of Porto Alegre in Brazil. The cyclists, mainly young people, were staging a peaceful demonstration calling for a reduction in the number of cars on the streets. The 47-year-old male driver fled the scene of the incident Friday evening and was later arrested after authorities found his abandoned car over the weekend.
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What’s a life worth?

Gladwyn d’Souza comments from California an article that has just appeared in the New York Times on this subject. “The United States Environmental Protections Agency, EPA, should really be discussing the allocation of risk. A large curb radius for example transfers risk from the speeding driver to the pedestrian. The issue is that speed and convenience embody an energy bill whose consequences are not repatriated on the basis of least harm to public safety. While the consequences are local, an injury on your street corner, the impact under NAFTA, etc., of comparative or qualitative instead of preventive risk assessment is habitat destructive.  . . . ” Continue reading

Swedish government looks to virtual meetings as an environmental (and efficiency) strategy

The Swedish government’s annual instructions to the National Transport Administration now include a mission to support and improve conditions for virtual meetings across the country. The goal is to find practical ways to harness “Green IT” as an efficient travel substitute as well as to provide both more efficient management and reduced environmental impacts. The core proposal is based on a “ten step method” which the Administration released last year to champion and support virtual meetings within an organization. The project behind this strategy is introduced here.  And you are warmly invited to comment and share the fruit of your own experiences. Continue reading

Streetsblog: Doing its job in New York City. In memoriam 2010

Each year our friends over at Streetsblog in New York City publish a heart-rending testimonial to the mayhem that automobiles have wrought over the year on their city’s streets and the cost in terms of lives lost by innocent pedestrians and cyclists. Putting names, faces and human tragedy to what otherwise takes the form of dry numbers, faceless hence quickly forgettable statistics is an important task. We can only encourage responsible citizens and activists in every city on the planet to do the same thing, holding those public officials (and let’s not forget, we call them “public servants” and for excellent reason) responsible for what goes on under their direct control. Continue reading

For your next Car Free Day, go on a diet.

“When it comes to transport, we’ve become obese. I mean this in multiple senses. Our population of vehicles has burgeoned; already around 1 billion worldwide, it’s expected to double within just 20 years. The vehicle miles we travel, or VMT, continue to swell; just in the U.S., for instance, VMT now fluctuates around 250 billion per month – trillions per year – and grows each month by an average 200 million more. Even our waistlines have expanded due to excess motor vehicle travel; one study attributes six extra pounds to the extra driving done by typical suburbanites.” Continue reading

Cycling as the catalyst for more human and sustainable transport

The interest for a human and sustainable transport is growing in the public and private sector, at local, national and global level.  Our cities and our planet cannot rely on cars for our transport needs, even if they become more energy-efficient or even carbon neutral. We have to create accessibility for people. With current planning and design, roads are isolating people from important destinations.  The public domain should be designed with priority for people over motorised traffic.  Apart from emission reduction, mobility with zero emission should get value. It is the combination of a human-rights-based orientation with eco-efficiency, that will direct us to a real sustainable transport system. Continue reading

No need for speed

As our regular readers know well, World/Streets believes that there are a lot of excellent reasons for slowing down. And every time we run into something that we think can help advance this worthy objective, well here we are. This time the irrepressible Elizabeth Press, peripatetic videographer from New York City’s StreetFilms project, got on a plane and made a short film about what happens when cities slow down their traffic in a uniform and substantial way – in this case the terrific UK program ” 20’s Plenty for Us”. Her five-minute film went on-line yesterday. Continue reading

Kaohsiung 2010 Papers: Share/Transport in India – Threats, Challenges, Opportunities

Sharing is an inherently natural process of establishing a joint use of resources It is a primarily self-initiated and regulated process. In this regard share transport can be seen as an informal, unregulated or loosely regulated, low-cost (even works on micro credit, when loose change is unavailable to complete the transaction), small or medium scale sharing of transport infrastructure (such as roads, streets and spaces) and/or vehicles in time and/or space. Sharing of Transport in this format, across the Indian Sub-continent and indeed many other developing countries in South-East Asia, has always been a part of the informal public transport network and is mostly as old as the city itself. Continue reading

What Transportation And Public Health Can Learn From Each Other About Changing Public Behaviors

Which of the following is more likely to get you to drive slower down a street? Or to get the majority of car drivers on that street to slow down?

• A long talk with a friend about the dangers of speeding to yourself and others.
• A newly posted sign announcing a lower speed limit.
• A stop sign placed in the middle of the block.
• A series of speed bumps along the road. Continue reading

Kaohsiung 2010 Papers: Street sharing in Nepal

In most developing world cities, the vast majority of citizens walk as part of their daily social, recreational, and livelihood activities. Every trip begins and ends with a walking trip. Nearly all trips made by people entail some walking, either directly to a destination or to another mode of transport. In Kathmandu, large section of population prefers to walk. In fact, 18.1 percent of daily trips are made entirely on foot, and of the nearly 56.5 percent of the commuters who use different modes of public transport, a large percentage walk as part of their daily commute. Continue reading

Letter from Nepal: When roads are claiming people’s lives

The number of cars in Kathmandu Valley has increased tenfold over the last 15 years, largely because banks have had few other viable investment opportunities amid deteriorating security conditions.  According to the Department of Transport Management, there are 444,700 registered vehicles in Bagmati zone, most in the Kathmandu Valley. Kathmandu Valley claims to have one of the highest mortality from pedestrian accidents in South Asia. There is no single day that passes without the news of road accidents claiming lives of the people.  Nepal needs to come up with an integrated framework on pedestrian road safety, urban planning and transport infrastructures that will promote sustainable urban modes of transport in the country. This integrated framework must coordinate all actions of government ministries and departments working on road safety, infrastructures and traffic issues.

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“The Weekly Carnage” (A template for your city)

True democracy is only possible with the daily participation of vigilant and active citizens. Periodic elections and public administrations are of course critical building blocks for a democratic society; but without an active citizenry the full benefits of democracy evade us.  As active citizens we are obliged to act as “a thorn in the side of possibly hesitant administrators, politicians and businessmen in denial; and through our joint efforts, energy and personal choices, placing them and ourselves firmly on the path to a more sustainable and more just society.”

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