Category Archives: paradigm change

Does carsharing promote balanced and sustainable economic growth?

The short off the cuff answer is: yes definitely. But let us dig deeper.

car-pollutionThe answer becomes even more self-evident if you turn the question around and ask: does an automobile-lifestyle promote balanced and sustainable economic growth. We all know the answer to that one.

A well thought-out carsharing policy — which incidentally is not really possible unless you first have a well thought out overall mobility strategy – – will make a contribution to promoting balanced and sustainable economic growth. How is that?

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How the Dutch failed to destroy their cities (Act 1)

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Our Right to Walk is Non-negotiable (India)

india- children in trafficAnumita Roychowdhury, associate director of the Centre for Science and Environment in New Delhi, in a wide-ranging conversation with Faizal Khan reporting for the excellent Walkability Asia ( Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities),  spells out clearly the inevitability of a non-motorised transport code in India through shocking figures and revealing facts. “We need zero tolerance policy for accidents. This menu of action needs support. Our right to walk is not negotiable.”  And on this Roychowdhury is entirely right. On this score we must be entirely intransigent and as part of this to keep pounding away on this important point of citizen activism on every available occasion, until we get the concept of zero tolerance written into the law and respected on the streets. All our streets! Continue reading

What is an Equity-Based Transport System ?

little-girlWe understand that in the transport sector this is not a well-known nor much appreciated concept, at least in the positive sense we are trying to develop here.  So we are making every effort to share broadly, to invite questions and to clarify.  In this spirit I was discussing this program the other day with a bright young woman from the Emirates who is on an MBA program here, who smiled at me indulgently as I asked her views and said: ‘Don’t you understand Eric, life is not fair”. That gives us, I would say, a good point of departure.

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The xCar Landscape: New Ways of Owning and Using Cars in the 21st Century

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

Third International Share/Transport Forum – Jiaozuo China

This International Forum, the third in the series which got first underway in 2010 in Kaohsiung and met  again in Changzhe in 2011,  is once again, this year on 21/22 September in Jiaozuo China, bringing together leading thinkers and sharing transport practitioners from  the People’s Republic of China, Asia and the world, to examine the concept of shared transport (as opposed to individual vehicle ownership or established forms of public transport) from a multi-disciplinary perspective, with a strong international and Chinese-speaking contingent. Continue reading

Equity/Transport 2012: Road map for Helsinki Stage 1

This collaborative project takes the form of an “open conversation” looking into the pros and cons, the possibilities, barriers and perhaps eventual impossibilities, of creating an equity-based transportation system at the level of a city and its surrounding region. This first pioneering project, in what we hope will become a series of leading world city projects building on this first example, is being carried out under the leadership of the Helsinki Department of City Planning and Transportation, and is taking place over the period mid-February through mid-April 2912. (You will find further working papers and supporting media sources in the second half of this introduction.)

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Einstein on your mind

Equity-Based Transportation Planning, Policy and Practice: First Helsinki project announcement

This week we initiate work on the first stages of preparatory organization in support of an “open conversation” looking into the pros and cons, the possibilities and eventual impossibilities,  of creating an equity-based transportation system at the level of a city and the surrounding region.  This first pioneering project, in which we hope will become a series of leading world city projects building on this first example, is being carried out under the leadership of  the Helsinki Department of City Planning and Transportation, and is running over the period mi-February through mid-April.

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Book report: Sustainable Transportation Planning

Michael Alba reports from Boston on this new guide for transport planners:

Sustainable Transportation Planning seeks to tackle the greatest social and environmental concerns of the 21st century, focusing on the role of transportation in creating more sustainable communities. It is a how-to guide for anyone interested in the economic, social and ecological health of cities. Continue reading

The New Mobility Agenda gets a hearing in Barcelona with a “Come argue with me” session

This is to invite you to “attend” at least part of a session of a conference that is to take place next week in Barcelona on the topic of “Smart Cities”. You can find full information on the conference here, along with links to all working papers and videos that will be presented over the four days  The particular bit I would like to point you to is my keynote talk and challenge which opens the plenary on “Urban mobility: Achieving social efficiency”. A full set of working notes and background materials for my presentation is available here. As you will note I have serious reservations about pushing the concept of a “smart city”, which to my mind is a pretty loaded phrase, complete with tandem mindset. I invite your comments and critical remarks on any of the points that appear here, and I shall try to deal with them as possible. Thanks in advance. The final talk will be available on video, as will the presentations for all the speakers in this interesting session. 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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The New Economics of Sustainable Development

To negotiate the move from old to new mobility, we have to understand as well the importance of moving from old to new economics. Back in 1997 James Robertson, respected British economist, monetary reformer and policy counsel to government, took a hard look at “The New Economics of Sustainable Development” in a report prepared for the Forward Studies Unit of the European Commission. Today, half a generation later, this exceptionally insightful piece still brings up points to which we should be giving attention. It is unfortunate that the clock has stood still for this important part of the sustainability dialogue. No wonder we are making so very little progress in the right direction. Let’s have a close look at what James has to propose and mull it all over from a 2011 perspective.
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What do Tunisia, Egypt, Libya . . . and World Streets have in common?

We try very hard to stay on topic in World Streets, not always easy since our bailiwick is so vast. But there are times when, if we are to do our self-assigned job, we need to look even broader yet.

One of the fundamental tenets of World Streets is that the decisions that in the past have shaped the streets and mobility arrangements of our cities now have to be sharply revised and brought into the realities of this very different 21st century. In the past the shaping decisions and investments in the sector were made in more or less closed committees manned (I chose my word carefully) by a very narrow range of social-economic groups (mainly more or less educated males, with secure jobs, fast cars and fat pensions). With the utterly unsurprising results that the mobility system they ordered up was the one that served them best: i.e., lots of roads for fast driving, cheap gas, and plenty of free places to park. Bien sûr mon ami. Continue reading