Editorial: No FPT without SCR (Systematic Car Reductions)

This is a simple fact! Free Public Transport (FPT) has no possible justification whatsoever unless your governing officials are willing to do something about adjusting the other half of the modal mix to bring down car ownership and use in the city strategically and as quickly as possible . . . SCR – Systematic Car Reductions.

canada-vancouver-road closed - smaller

The tools for achieving these necessary adjustments in the modal split are well known, experience-proven and widely used in cities of all sizes in many parts of the world. There is no possible justification that competent public authorities not be aware of these proven tools and policies. They include most notably: Continue reading

Due to lose? Well maybe not quite yet.

An article of April 26, 2013,” The Race of Our Lives”(GMO) by Jeremy World population densityGrantham, is a worthwhile read on your Tablet. Click here for article.)  .   In part because his basic thesis is that the white horse of hope for the future of our endangered species and planet just might turn out to be the triple whammy of (a) serious autopilot demographic downsizing, (b) deus ex machina help from our extended 21st century brains (think internet and/or Zetabytes) and (c) the bountiful near-term harvest of renewable energy. It’s a pretty good read for your spare time.

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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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Zetabytes, Open Systems and Worrying about Equity

Zetabytes, Open Systems and Worrying about Equity

This is the first in a series on big data and its impact on society from CSPO co-
zetabyte-image-largedirector Daniel Sarewitz, published in Slate on 27 Dec. 2012. It also appears on As We Now Think, a site edited by the Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes at Arizona State University. ASU is a partner in Future Tense with Slate and the New America Foundation.

We share this with our readers with one eye to our on-going Zetabytes/Open Systems series that will be getting close attention in the year ahead — with the other eye to our Equity-Based Transport series, also to continue full speed ahead in 2013. Continue reading

Achieving the goals of the EC White Paper on Transport: How civil society can help with delivery

The European Economic and Social Committee is organizing a conference on “Achieving the goals of the White Paper on Transport: how civil society can help with delivery”. This one day conference will take place at the Committee’s premises on 7 December. The principal document under discussion is entitled “Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – Towards a competitive and resource-efficient transport system”. It is available here . We are inviting comments on this document since it is at the core of the meeting. But first some background: Continue reading

Thinking about Equity-Based Transport Systems: Get Ready to Embrace Complexity (or Get Off the Bridge)

As is or at least should by now be well known, a transportation “system” is well more than a collection of largely free-standing bits of infrastructure, modes, links, agencies, institutions, operators and more, concerning which decision scan be taken on a piecemeal basis. .  It is in fact a textbook example of a disorganized complex system, or more specifically a vast, chaotic but ultimately manageable ecosystem.  And if it is our ambition — which it should be — to construct, or rather reconstruct, our city transport systems into functional high-performing sustainable ecosystems. it can help to build up our understanding of the process in steps. Continue reading

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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Hacking Sustainability: Part 2

Information + Choice + Feedback:
The basic idea is familiar: i.e., putting that smart phone in our pocket to work to help us calibrate and understand a range of inter-connected variables related to our mobility choices. An app to handle not one but two sets of related challenges: personal and environmental.

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Late Night Thoughts on Equity from Helsinki

Equity? Hmm. This, it turns out on inspection,  is not quite so easy a concept to get across. In English, and after two days of discussions with a wide variety of groups and people here in Helsinki, it’s already tough enough.  And I have learned, it’s  even more challenging in Finnish. Here are some late night thoughts on this word that I share with you here in the hope that it may inspire comments and clarification. So here you have my notes, more or less in the order that they came to mind late in the night.  Continue reading

Crowdsourcing Equity/Transport/ Helsinki

What are, say, the five questions concerning transport and equity (and Helsinki) that you would like to have me ask in your behalf in Helsinki starting tomorrow in our first Stakeholder/Peer Group Dialogues? Maybe easiest if you might give me your list  via eric.britton@ecoplan.org  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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Helsinki Equity/Transport project kicks-off today

Today is the opening day of the 2012 Helsinki Equity-Based Transportation peer review program, the first in what we hope will become a growing thread of cooperating  city projects querying the impact of first reviewing and eventually restructuring our city and regional transportation systems around the fundamental core principle of equity. You will find details on the EBT site at http://equitytransport.wordpress.com/ starting at noon today. Continue reading

Equity-based Educational Reform in Finland

In the Helsinki stage of our on-going Equity/Transport program and process, it is particularly important that we have and share a clear understanding of the manner in which the equity-base education reform process has transformed Finland’s schools over the last decades from middling to world level (See OECD PISA results for verification). To this end we are gathering and presenting here a selection of reports and articles that help us in this respect. The following report was prepared by Mrs. Lorraine Frassinelli Ell in 2006, and while six years have intervened since she completed it, the paper still provides a good synopsis and expert outsider view of the Finnish experience from someone working internationally in the field of educational reform and measurement. Continue reading

Getting outside that box (which may require being just a bit unreasonable)

Once we are cozily set up in our box — a box of course that we can neither see nor really appreciate (What box?) — we become accustomed to thinking of things comfortably wedged within our invisible container  as “that’s the way things are”.  And from there it is a very small step to become  a pragmatically “reasonable person”.  To which I can only quote Bernard Shaw when he said so long ago (with social justice and the emancipation of women firmly in the middle of his sites): The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.  Let’s see if Preston Schiller can help us to get outside the box of the automobile. Continue reading

Safer Streets LA – Wrap a couple of spare neurons around this one

From the 2012 Safe Streets Challenge project:
If you are (a) into safer streets and (b) ready to dig in to understand that things out there are not necessarily what one might necessarily think, may we suggest that you check out here this slightly counterintuitive piece that was posted this morning in our parallel Safe Streets project. Continue reading

Op-Ed: What/who keeps holding back New Mobility reform?

If you get it, New Mobility is a no-brainer. However, while the New Mobility Agenda is a great starting place, it is not going to get the job somehow miraculously done just because it is the only game in town when it comes to sustainable transport. There is plenty of competition for all that space on the street and  between the ears. We have a few potential sticking points here that need to be overcome first. Let’s have a quick look to get this exchange off the ground. After some years of talking with cities, and working and observing in many different circumstances, here is my personal shortlist of the barriers are most frequently encountered in trying to get innovative transportation reform programs off the ground, including even in cities that really do need a major mobility overhaul. Continue reading

More on public, private and social space. Andrew Curry reports from occupied London – Part II

Hopefully we have learned at least one hard lesson of life, and that is that a crisis is a terrible thing to waste. And here right before our eyes we have a case in point with the Occupy movements that are sweeping Europe and North America, a public crisis that is most unexpectedly taking place on “public land”. And then suddenly, with no advance notice, everything starts to morph and the issues involved start to encompass not only the continuing unchecked egregious abuses of the financial community but also important (for democracy) issues of public  space — one of our consistent concerns here at World Streets. So in an effort to make sure that we do not miss the opportunity behind this crisis, we pass the word back to Andrew Curry so that he can build further on his article under this title earlier this week Continue reading

On expertise and public participation

It appears that the folks at the Lucknow Municipal Corporation have a curious notion of the meaning and purpose of public participation. When their funding proposals under the centrally sponsored scheme for urban development (JNNURM) were rejected due to the lack of public participation, they came up with the brilliant idea of a “city volunteer technical corps” that would participate in the planning process. Members will be chosen by the city corporation based on “expertise” in planning and related areas. The newspaper also reports that a prior attempt to constitute such a consultative body was aborted when “undesirable” persons who were not “experts” entered the consultative group. The corporation promises only to include “desirable” persons this time round. Read More

via India lives in her cities too!

Outreach for success: Local Actors & Implementation Partners

Too often when it comes to new transport initiatives, the practice is to concentrate on laying the base for the project in close working relationships with people and groups who a priori are favorably disposed to your idea, basically your choir. Leaving the potential “trouble makers” aside for another day. Experience shows that’s a big mistake. We have to take a . . .
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Mobility, Democracy and Politics: Interview with Monsieur le Maire

What’s happening on the new mobility scene in France in 2011? Here you have, in French but with good subtitles, an interview by one of the outstanding political innovators in the field of sustainable transport policy and practice in France. Roland Ries is serving his second term as mayor of Strasburg, and at the same time heads up the national transport political group GART. He also, by the way, as a member of the French Senate drafted the law defining carsharing in France, thus opening up a part of the way to more and better carsharing nation-wide. Spend three minutes with this short video to get a feel for what the leading edge in France is thinking and doing about transport in cities. You will quickly see that this is a world-level message. Play it for your mayor and talk to her about it.

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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

Analysis of proposed metro rail system in Pune (via India Streets)

Analysis of proposed metro rail system in Pune Parisar has recently completed two detailed studies on the metro rail proposal for Pune. The first was a preliminary analysis of whether Pune needs a metro rail system and the second analyzed in detail the decision-making processes in approving Pune’s metro rail proposal as well as the detailed project report (DPR) of the metro rail proposal. The preliminary analysis of whether Pune needs a metro rail system was based on secondary data from three … Read More

via India Streets

From Australia: Community Consultation – A failed experiment

A consistent central theme of World Streets is that without the full-throated participation of an active citizenry, sustainable transport and sustainable cities will remain a distant and unattainable dream. In this article David Engwicht gives us his view on why the usual bottled consultation techniques that often do little to achieve better and safer streets do not make the grade. Then he goes on to share his thoughts as to how we can do better. Continue reading