World Streets readers will certainly want to stay on top of this project of the city of Helsinki to come up with what we call a “better than car transportation system”. The excerpts just below taken from an article published in the Guardian yesterday will lead you to the full piece. There is a mild irony to the extent to which the “technological core” of the project has to do with the mobility arrangements which have been receiving steady, and happily increasing, attention since the mid-1960s, namely DRT or Dial-a-Ride. The massive change elements which fundamentally transform and scale up the basic DRT of long past operational system is a combination of close to universal mobile phones, abounding apps, and Big Data. That plus a good dose of public entrepreneurship and outreach changes everything. We invite you to have a look and to share your thoughts with us about this intriguing real world adventure.
This report sponsored by Siemens under a program initiated by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) recommends “that about 4.2% of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP), needs to be spent annually to develop Bogotá into a world-class transit-oriented metropolis”. The report has been implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, active in Colombia for almost 50 years, and Siemens, a German global corporation present in Colombia for nearly 60 years. And to see it for yourself, click here for the full report that has just been released. http://despacio.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Bogota-21-english.pdfContinue reading →
This piece from the New York Times, June 10, 2011, takes quite another approach than the one which is the main subject of our program here, where we for the most part concentrate on the near-term demand management, strategic supply expansion, and mitigation side of all this. It would be a grand thing if we could just wait for the technologists to solve the problems of our planet, without actually having to change ourselves (the hard bit). So let’s invoke equal time and have a look at what Dr. Lovejoy has to offer. You never know. Maybe we can just relax and keep on going as in the past. Continue reading →
In the field of transport, no matter how straight-forward the issues may seem to be to the busy citizen, merchant, reporter or policy maker, when it comes to making wise policy it really does take a certain level of time and attention to detail to come to grips with the underlying issues and priorities that shape the outcomes. The awful conundrum encumbering the mobility issues of our new century from a policy perspective is that just about everything turns out upon study to be unobligingly complex, interdependent, complicated and time lagged – no matter how simple it may appear to be on the surface. In the article that follows, the authors have a go at a lot of the too-easy thinking that is the main currency of the High Speed Rail discussions in places like Britain and the US, where the only experience with these technologies and operations has been that of a far-away time-lagged dream machine. Let’s embrace a bit of complexity here. Continue reading →
We here at World Streets always have problems with “cities of the future” visions, not so much because they are almost always consistently wacky in some totally weird unreal-world way, but because they tend to project things so far into the distant, almost always thoroughly magical future, that they get us off the hook for doing anything about it TODAY. So sit back and relax, dear citizens and voters, and let the benevolent forces of the economy and technology solve the problem for you. Hmm.
Courage. Not all that terribly hard actually, and certainly not impossible. The leading international edge of policy and practice in our field have over the last two decades developed the tools, experience and technical competence needed to cut fossil fuel dependence by 50% in one year. And if we can do that – if we can come even within shouting distance of this great and obtainable goal – that is going to change everything. But to get the job done we are going to have to challenge our brainpower and collective ability to influence leadership, policy decisions and investments in our chosen field. Lazy folks, bought souls and fatalists kindly abstain. Continue reading →
Editor’s introductory note: I have long maintained that the cost of driving one more car in a city is far greater than normally understood, with the result that the benefits to the city of getting one car off the street are very very considerable. My own working rule of thumb, admittedly crude and entirely unscientific, is that every time a mayor or her team figure out how to remove one car from the traffic stream — without decreasing the quality of the overall mobility system – brings about a benefit for all equal to at least one dollar a car/km. But let’s hear what Todd Litman of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute has to say about it. Continue reading →