Category Archives: Modes

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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World Carshare 2013 – Notes for Short Reports

carshare covered carCarsharing is most unevenly distributed over the world map. There are great extremes, running from countries like Switzerland in which it is universally known and widely practiced, to the situation of most countries on the planet where even the word is not much known.  For this reason our 2013 country profiles have to be ingenious and flexible, one size will not fit all, if we are  to give our readers a feel for the full range of practices and issues. Let’s have a look, starting with some “carshare basics”.

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Faces of Transportation Equity: Cynthia Jarrold reports

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WhipCar closes down P2P carsharing operation in Britain. What does it mean?

On 10 Nov. 2010, World Streets ran an article under the title “The P2P carsharing saga continues: The WhipCar story” by the young entrepreneurs introducing their  new WhipCar P2P carsharing start-up, which story you can find here – http://wp.me/psKUY-13b.  After more than two years of hard work in developing an entirely new, uncharted market for Britain, they have just decided, in their words that: “we have discovered there are still barriers to widespread adoption of peer-to-peer car rental in the UK. As a small team with limited resources, we have taken a good long look at these scaling challenges. And, after much thought, we have made the extremely difficult decision to close WhipCar.”

Let’s have a look at what they have to say in terms of lessons learned, and at the end of this short piece share with you a couple of thoughts on the meaning of this in the broader context of carsharing and P2P.

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Letter from Bangalore: The Derelict Mile

Sujaya Rathi  reports from Bangalore:
india-bangalore-pedestria woman crossingPrivate vehicles in India have seen an unprecedented growth in past two decades and there is no sign of slowing down.  Many initiatives to curb the trend have not been successful.  This article highlights an important aspect that attribute to the above unsustainable phenomenon, which has been ignored: “The Derelict Mile”.
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Why cycle rickshaws should be driven from the street. (And what it means for mobility, environment, equity and the wellbeing of hundreds of thousands of hard working people and their families)

Let me not poach the information and arguments presented in this fine analysis of the informal transport economy of Ashima Sood’s recently published paper in the Economic and Political Weekly (Mumbai), other than to cite her opening summary:  “A February 2010 judgment of the Delhi High Court called into question several assumptions underlying policy thinking on the cycle rickshaw sector. Examining these assumptions in the light of new research and advocacy efforts, this article considers the prospect of policy and regulatory reform. With the cycle rickshaw sector as a case study, it argues that the punitive regulatory framework governing the sector embodies the dualist or even parasitic models that inform policy on informal services more broadly. Assessing the larger viability and contribution of informal sector activities requires more attention to local and sector-specific micro-processes.” Continue reading

Low Carbon Twin Cities Conference 2012 in Tainan : Expanding Horizons with New Mobility Partnerships

* Click here for full presentation    twin-cities-17sep12

Transportation Innovation and Reform: Finding the Way to Social Sustainability

As wise and balanced a summary as you will find of the fine art of dialogue and engagement when it comes to the hard job of developing and integrating new transport arrangements into a space as varied and in many ways contradictory and conflicted as a  21st century city, in any part of the world.  Bravo! With kind thanks to Christopher Zegras of MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning, one of the conveners of this event, for sharing this with our readers. (You may also wish to check out the short note of conclusion of the editor.)

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Message from Kaohsiung


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Charina Cabrido reports on SAFA Tempos (Electric three-wheelers) in Nepal

SAFA tempos or Nepal’s version of electric three wheelers are typically seen in Kathmandu’s busy streets. Running at an average speed of 60 kilometer per hour, safa tempos serve at least 127 thousand people everyday transporting individuals to their destinations.  This is quite a challenge for a country that has been constantly confronted with power cuts that reach sixteen hours a day especially during winter season. Continue reading

P2P Carsharing galloping ahead in the USA

As we have seen in a certain number of articles over the last year or so — click here to review — the totally unexpected dark horse of carsharing which has emerged and is presently galloping with surprising speed in quite a number of places around the world is the concept of peer-to-peer (think do-it-yourself) carsharing.  Here is a good resume of the present state of play of P2P in the United States that has just appeared in a popular American newspaper.  And since carsharing. is a critical components of the overall sustainable transportation package for cities — you can bet on it! — there is good reason to stay on top of that if you are a decision-maker, entrepreneur, competitor  or source of counsel in our sector.

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Welcome to TEMS – The European City Modal Split Database

This article is presently being revised and expanded with the support and inputs of the EPOMM team. Please come back on Monday for  the full feature piece.

** Paris, 25 Oct.  Click here for full article **

Rethinking Car Free Days in Taipei City

Your editor was kindly invited by Mayor Hau Lung-pin to come to Taipei City this year to discuss preparations for the celebration of the city’s tenth successive Car Free Day — and as part of this collaborative brainstorming process to draw on my experience of some seventeen years working with this, one hopes, transformative transportation approach in different cities around the world. Continue reading

Op-Ed: Universal Access to Bus Rapid Transit: Design, operation, and working with the community

From Tom Rickert, Executive Director,  Access Exchange International. USA
The ability of Bus Rapid Transit systems to serve persons with disabilities in less wealthy countries seemed obvious at first glance. The earliest graphics of BRT trunk lines in Curitiba, Brazil, depicted wheelchair users crossing boarding bridges into articulated buses. Problem solved! Thus, years later, many may be surprised to find cities where wheelchair users are unable to access one or another BRT system. Continue reading

British High Speed Rail? – Or a better railway for Britain

Editor’s note: I personally and professionally am quite happy to continue to bash the feckless and  ill-gotten British High Speed Rail (“HS2”) proposal and its variants that we and others have discussed in these pages previously at http://wp.me/psKUY-1lg.  It is such a juicy target of avarice, gross incompetence and intellectual laziness. One has to ask oneself what do the cheering advocates have in mind — not only those in the industry and other interests that will benefit largely from this railroading (!?!) of hard earned taxpayer money, but also in the three main political parties who have lined up most irresponsibly to support the proposal. If only they could turn back the clock and it were 1965 — and Britain were France, or 1990 and they were Taiwan, or anytime they chose and Chinese, then they might have a decent shot at it. Continue reading

The Silly Argument Over BRT and Rail: US Perspectives

The following sensible commentary from our friends over at The transport Politic helps put this “competition” into perspective.  Silly being an entirely apt word in this context.

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World Streets This Week: Edition of 2 May 2011

- – - > Click here to download Weekly Edition of 2 May 2011 

Another busy week on World Streets, with contributions coming in from the StreetFilms media group in  New York on parking strategies, on city cycling and empowerment of women in Dhaka, and on to the pressing matter of rethinking the finances of our entire operation so that we can continue to act as the world’s only fully independent, collaborative, worldwide sustainable transport daily/weekly publication and peer network.   But the buzz of the week was a series of exchanges resulting from an announcement of government support in India  for a really quite dubious proposal for a PRT Pod system for Delhi. Continue reading

Op-Ed. On relative costs of PRT, auto and public transit

There are a number of important factors to consider when comparing PRT, public transit and automobile costs, and therefore when comparing the cost-efficiency of roadway versus transit investments.  (Commentary by Todd Litman of Victoria Transport Policy  Institute on some of the figures raised in the discussions of PRT vs. cars and public transport.) Continue reading

Editorial: Will the real PRT please stand up

Somebody wake me up on this please  on this discussion. (See references at end).

1. If we look on the streets of any city in the Global South, we see de facto PRT, personal rapid transport, all over the place. Continue reading

PRT proposal for Delhi convinces the Chief Minister (But does it convince you? See poll results)

It all started innocently enough with this newspaper article that appeared in the Press Trust of India on April 26. But when posted to the Sustran Global South peer forum for comment, the floodgates opened. For full background on this vigorously discussed, even polemic proposal, we invite you to check out the discussions at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sustran-discuss/message/6637

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On wrong-minded modernization of transport: Message from Dhaka

World Streets is all about casting a broad net over transportation issues and approaches in cities around the world — reporting on the good, the bad and the ugly — so that we can learn from each other and do, hopefully, just a bit better in our own patch. Today’s communication from Dhaka reports on a familiar Third World policy conflict about a popular and very important transport mode which is unloved by some but which is providing affordable, environmental, and efficient mobility for almost a third of all trips in the nation’s capital. Seven days a week, on demand service when you need it, and with heavy use by women and children. If you have a look at what is going on there in this all-too familiar tussle of ideas and authority, we bet you will learn something for your own city from Dhaka. Continue reading

Guangzhou, China: Winning The Future With BRT

Guangzhou is one of the fastest growing cities in the world. The economic hub of China’s southern coast, it has undergone three decades of rapid modernization, and until recently the city’s streets were on a trajectory to get completely overrun by traffic congestion and pollution. But Guangzhou has started to change course. Last year the city made major strides to cut carbon emissions and reclaim space for people, opening new bus rapid transit and public bike sharing systems. Continue reading

Stop press! Carsharing is apparently not dead after all.*

We always enjoy a good knock-up on World Streets. Keeps us thinking. After yesterday’s piece in which Nicolas le Douarec undertook to stretch our minds and challenge us to consider carsharing from some other perspectives, including apparently in a coffin, we hear today from an old friend Michael Glotz-Richter from Bremen who has been orchestrating carsharing in his city and trans-European collaboration in the field for the last decade, running an EU program which currently goes by the somewhat mystifying acronym of momo (see below). Here is what Michael has to say about yesterday’s reported corpse. Continue reading

Carsharing is dead, long live . . . car rental?

We have been reading and hearing quite a bit in the French media, and in particular in the context of the city of Paris’s ambitious planned Autolib project, that “carsharing is dead in France”. Which came as something of a surprise given that our own read of the evidence does not at all square with this position. So we asked Nicolas le Douarec, who has something of a record in bringing carsharing to Paris, what he thought about that death warrant. His heady response follows. Continue reading