The just-elected new Mayor of Paris, Madame Anne Hidalgo, has prepared a revolutionary sustainable mobility project whereby virtually all of the streets of the city will be subject to a maximum speed limit of 30 km/hr.
The only exceptions in the plan are a relatively small number of major axes into the city and along the two banks of the Seine, where the speed limit will be 50 km/hr, and the city’s hard pressed ring road (périphérique) where the top permissible speed has recently been reduced from 80 to 70 km/hr. At the other end of the slowth spectrum are a certain number of “meeting zones” (zones de rencontre) spotted around the city in which pedestrians and cyclists have priority but mix with cars which are limited to a top speed of 20 km/hr. A veritable révolution à la française.
World Streets, together with a number of our readers and supporters, including city cyclists and others working in the sector, have decided to take a public position on obligatory National Cycling Licenses. And that around the world the appropriate agencies and legislative groups, city by city and country by country, will step forward one at a time and when they are ready to pass into their law a requirement that certain road users must take and pass a rigorous National Cycling License examination.
Carsharing changes our relationship with the cars we owned and loved and hated over much of the century just behind us. And one of the points we hear from proponents again and again is that carsharing offers substantial savings, because the cost of owning a car has become much higher than in the past. Surely the cost of car ownership in the 21st century — and all that goes with it including direct and indirect costs, among them depreciation, insurance, petrol, maintenance, parking, etc., — is no light burden. But how expensive is it really? In this article, carsharing expert Dave Brook digs into the numbers and reflects on the true cost of ownership for most car owners in the United States.
Just to be sure that we are all getting off on the right foot on this, let me excerpt a few lines from the WP entry on brainstorming. All this is well trod terrain, but just to be sure:
Brainstorming – what we are calling here a thinking exercise — is a group creativity technique by which efforts are made to find a range of insights on a specific problem by gathering a list of ideas spontaneously contributed by its members. Continue reading
This is a collaborative thinking exercise addressing essentially a single question. But one of many parts. What is the “modern motor car” going to look like in the decade immediately ahead? Will it be more of the same? Or will it mutate into a very different form of mobility? Who is going to own it? And how is it going to be used? Where will it be driven (and eventually parked)? Will it be piloted by a warm sapient human being, or will it be driverless? Will it still have wheels, doors and tires? What will be its impact on the environment? And what will be the impact of the “environment” on it? On public safety? On quality of life for all. Will it be efficient, economic and equitable? Who will make them and where? Is it going to create or destroy jobs? And how fast is all of this going to occur? . . . Continue reading
What is it about what the English call a motor car that, when an otherwise perfectly decent human enters it and slams the door shut, somehow there is a total transformation of that person gripping the stirring wheel into something, into someone who is just a little bit less decent and a little bit less human. A consistent theme of World Streets is that over the last hundred years or so our cars have not only transported us but they have also in the process also transformed us. Oops. And in the process they have fatally (I chose my word) altered the dimensions of the space in which we live our daily lives, and in the same process made this thing that was supposed simply to transport us from A to B at our leisure, into a defining part of our daily lives — and indeed in some ways part of ourselves. A cruel critic might say, half Faust and half Frankenstein. Continue reading
This report by Professor John Whitelegg scrutinizes the possibilities for developing the existing London congestion charge as a response to concerns about future levels of congestion, air pollution and health and economic efficiency. These concerns are important policy considerations at any time but against a background of forecast increases in population and economic activity in the Greater London area they become more important still. World Streets is more than pleased to share this original work with our readers, not less because we take a strong stance against the introduction of technology-based road pricing in cities of the Global South, where it is our view here are more effective ways of achieving the goals of traffic reduction and much-needed new sources of income for public and non-motorised transport. Let’s see what John has to say in this timely report from a London perspective. Continue reading
This is an important article. It appears simultaneously in the Summer of 2011 edition of our sister publication, the Journal of World Transport Policy and Practice. With a view to ensuring its broadest international readership we are posting it here with pleasure, and with permission of the authors. We do this with particular interest on the grounds that their central thesis — that is, our faster than one might have expected evolving attitudes toward car ownership and use — is one that is central to the preoccupations of World Streets and all our associated programs. Continue reading