Category Archives: traffic

Congestion Offsets vs Road Pricing: The quest for efficiency and equity

Matthew Bradley and Jeff Kenworthy help us to set out on our search for USA tollbooth attendenteconomic instruments that can be effective in reducing traffic congestion while leveling the playing field between cars and other transport in ways that are both efficient and equitable.  They tell us that: “A major part of the urban transport problem today is a failure from the very beginning to acknowledge that congestion is fundamentally inequitable and unfair, impractical to construct away, and therefore must be properly charged for and controlled to eliminate the transport system dysfunction which is systemic in cities today.” Recommended reading for anyone with  a serious interest in how to get the most out of economic instruments in our troubled, seriously underperforming sector.

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Dead End in Brazil: Interview with Bolivar Torres, O Globo Brazil.

This is a video transcript of a 20 November 2013 interview with Bolivar Torres, Brazil Sao Paulo Traffic congestionBrazilian journalist with O Globo, a leading Brazilian newspaper.  Topic: Notably unsustainable transportation and trends in Brazilian cities — seen from an international perspective. What to do? How to move from today’s failing and inconsistent ad hoc policies which are not getting at the roots of the problems? Perhaps toward a New Mobility Agenda?  And what in anything might be introduced in time to improve traffic and life quality conditions for all during the coming World Cup and Olympics? (Much of this is going to be very familiar to Penangites.)

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Learning curves (Getting on the right side of them)

This is a wonderful little video  that looks without any pretense and with limited means at a local roundabout project on Main Street USA. It is worth your attention on at least four grounds. First, because roundabouts make great good sense in cities and we need a lot more of them.  Second, and not to forget, they offer real technical challenges that need to be met with skill. Third, they are organic, i.e., learning projects, i.e., New Mobility par excellence.  And finally,  they need to be sold to all involved (which many times is not just a one-shot information pitch). The wisdom of the young team behind this project is to be commended, and emulated.

Planetary Boundaries and Low Carbon Urban Mobility

Useful presentation and overview of the issues and trends by  Professor David Banister (University of Oxford) in a three part series “The Future of Sustainable Mobility”.  The following introduces his presentation but for the full text please click here.

How much is enough book cover Continue reading

Op-Ed: Toward More Prosperous Cities

- Op-Ed Contributor: Wendell Cox, published 14 Dec. 2012. Comments invited

I appreciate Eric Britton’s gracious invitation to contribute my views on cities and urban transport to World Streets. Obviously, many readers will disagree with all or part the article. Nonetheless, the state of knowledge is never complete and progress continues to depend on open minds and civil discussion of perspectives among people of good will. There is extensive use of “hyperlinks,” which provide direction to greater detail for any interested. The article begins with the public policy context, then follows with urban policy, urban transport and sustainability. Continue reading

Congestion as policy. (I have seen worse.)

Whether or not congestion is “good” is one thing.  But what is for sure is that one way or another congestion is policy, or at the very least a policy option. And in some cases quite possibly a wise one. Now this has been said many  times  by any people in many places, yet despite its incontrovertible wisdom the message continues to get lost on policy makers.  So in cases like this, we have to take a page out of the book of good people who us sell soap and cars, and keep repeating our message. Today, let’s hand over the podium to Kent Strumpell  from Los Angeles and see what he had to say on our subject in LA Streetsblog back in early 2008. To this reader it has lost none of relevance over almost half a decade.  Read on. Continue reading

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Brief: L.A. County toll lanes get smooth start, despite grumbling As officials unveiled the  first toll lanes on an 11-mile stretch of the 110 Freeway this weekend, some drivers said they had questions about how the new fare program worked. … Continue reading

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The long wait at the many unnecessary traffic lights in Germany may soon be over. Communities nationwide are exploring the use of alternative traffic control systems, such as roundabouts and zebra stripes, to resolve the traffic light’s growing issues of … Continue reading

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Paris: Ambitious mobility plans for economy, efficiency and equity. This ambitious effort on the part of Paris’s mayor and his team is well worth following, even if for some it is may be a bit inconvenient for those not able … 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

Parks in, Cars not out? Is that going to be our future?

reports in today’s New York Times about the new trend whereby “All around the world, highways are being torn down and waterfronts reclaimed; decades of thinking about cars and cities reversed; new public spaces created.” That is certainly good news and true, but there is a bit more to it than that as you will see if you read on. Continue reading

Safe Streets defining principles: Remembering Donald Appleyard

Safe Streets is a collaborative worldwide project which will aggressively network over the whole of 2012 in our search for shaping ideas with some of the leading thinkers, groups and programs in the field , looking to the future but also not forgetting the past — including drawing attention to the defining contributions of a certain number of leading thinkers. teachers, writers and sustainability activists, who are no longer with us but who through their work have laid down some of the most important principles which we now need to recall and take into account as we move to create a broad common framework for sustainable streets all over the world. For those of you who do not already know about the formidable vision and work of Donald Appleyard, we have pulled together a collection of reference points that should give you a good first introduction, and at the end of this piece some additional reference materials for those wishing to go further (as indeed you should).
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Man – > Technology – > Speed – > Distance – > Destruction of proximity

This out of control  bulimic spiral begins with man’s uncontrollable tool-making itch, and from thence ,and unknown to us at the time, to tools which take on transforming lives of their own – one of which in the domain of mobility being ever-increasing speed, which in turn leads to ever-increasing distances, and which finally and in largely unnoticed fatal tandem destroys the reality and oh-so important qualities of proximity and community.  That’s the deal and facing all this is the challenge of this collaborative project for 2012. What we thought was merely more convenient transportation, has snuck up on us and turned into very inconvenient and altogether unanticipated transformation.

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European City Modal Split Database: An invitation

This open project from EPOMM – the European Platform on Mobility Management — is an absolutely brilliant idea. It does not require much explanation to get started; you can be off and going if you simply to click here and dig into their Google map. That said, a few words of introduction may not be altogether without their use to help you take full advantage of their good work. Continue reading

On “Filtered Permeability” as a sustainability tool

During one of our eternal research and reading probes which had us looking at and weighing the advantages, etc., of the many diverse approaches to creating “Livable Streets” (my favorite that being the term of the great and much missed Donald Appleyard), “Complete Streets”, “Quiet Streets”, “Fused Grids” . . . (just to cite a few of their many names”), we tumbled onto a phrase “Filtered Permeability” which was altogether new to us. After a bit we identified the person who had coined it, Steve Melia of the University of the West of England, and asked him to fill us in: Continue reading

Toward a new paradigm for transport in cities: Let’s see what Carlos Pardo has to say

The Stuttgart conference of Cities for Mobility this year represented an important step forward in the construction of a well-defined agenda for new mobility that up until the present time has been sadly lacking. But what we have managed to develop over the last two decades is a certain number of basic principles spanning many different areas and kinds of operational situations, but somehow until now we have failed to put them all together into a well-defined, convincing operational and policy package. We think of this as the move toward a new paradigm for transport in cities – and it all starts with . . . slowing down. Continue reading

World Transport Policy & Practice – Vol. 17, No. 2

The Journal of World Transport Policy and Practice is the long-standing idea and print partner of World Streets and the New Mobility Agenda since 1995. The Summer 2011 edition appears with articles by Bruce Appleyard, Joshua Hart and Graham Parkhurst, and Peter Newman and Jeff Kenworthy. In the article that follows you will find the lead editorial by founding editor John Whitelegg. (For a more complete introduction to World Transport click here.)

- – - > To obtain your copy of WTPP 17/2 click here. Continue reading

Pay-As-You-Drive Vehicle Insurance: Is it in the cards as a new mobility strategy?

This white paper  by Todd Litman of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, just issued the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, looks at the potential  for Pay as you Drive (PAYD) insurance both in general and in the specific case of British Columbia. With Pay as you Drive – i.e., “context sensitive insurance”  – what you pay for this big-ticket item is conditional on not only distance travelled but also time and place. The concept has been around for decades but has started to gain traction in the last half dozen years. Let’s have a look. Continue reading

Honk! This is not a recent experience

Swedish government looks to virtual meetings as an environmental (and efficiency) strategy

The Swedish government’s annual instructions to the National Transport Administration now include a mission to support and improve conditions for virtual meetings across the country. The goal is to find practical ways to harness “Green IT” as an efficient travel substitute as well as to provide both more efficient management and reduced environmental impacts. The core proposal is based on a “ten step method” which the Administration released last year to champion and support virtual meetings within an organization. The project behind this strategy is introduced here.  And you are warmly invited to comment and share the fruit of your own experiences. Continue reading

Review: Urban Mobility India 2010

The 3rd edition of the annual “flagship event” of the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) of India’s federal government, Urban Mobility India 2010 was held in New Delhi between December 3rd and 5th, 2010 with the aim of creating “Accessible and Inclusive Cities”. This article reviews the main themes and happenings of the event, and though it may appear to nit-pick, it does appreciate the effort of the organisers in organising the event, and holds that perhaps the biggest achievement of the event was to be able to have a serious debate on controversial topics (like the Delhi Metro or flyovers). Continue reading

Sustainable transport in Delhi and Stockholm

This article addresses from an Indo-Swedish perspective issues of the development of transport systems, taking its examples from Delhi and Stockholm. The introduction of the first BRT or bus rapid transport corridor in Delhi and the institution of a congestion tax in Stockholm are presented and discussed in terms of modernisation and sustainable transport. The authors explore the perceptions of politicians and examine the two projects in the search for the driving forces for transport policies. Despite all the differences, some similarities in the development of their urban transport projects have been found.

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“Carsharing will ease Shanghai’s traffic problems”

We very much like this article that has just appeared in motoring.asiaone.com, in that it provides an example of how good new mobility ideas that have enjoyed a certain success in one place — in this instance the long time carsharing project of the City of Bremen — can start to make their way into other cities and parts of the world. Will this actually work out for Shanghai? Well at least it’s a start. Continue reading

Guaranteed Scottish technique for taming traffic

As the whole world knows, the Scots are an ingenious lot.  And  in a highly creative response to my yesterday’s “Unfair, unsafe and unwise . . . ” call for collaborative ideas for car control, one anonymous Scottish expert has just sent in the following technical  illustration showing how they are able to slow down traffic and otherwise create a better smelling and more natural environment in Scotland.  He recommends it as an efficient, affordable, warm and often delicious sustainability strategy. It has worked for a long time in Scotland and will, they guarantee,  work well on your roads and streets too in the future. Auld Lang Syne. Continue reading

The World – the Climate – the Strategy. Come argue with me.

Part I: Ten steps to get the job done:
Let me sketch out an easy to understand (or reject) climate/transport foundation strategy that presents some stark contrasts with the ideas and approaches that are getting the bulk of attention when it comes to targeting, policy and investment in the sector — and which in a first instance is quite likely to earn me more enemies than friends (that goes with the territory). At least until such time that these basic underlying ideas are expressed in a manner which is sufficiently clear and convincing that we can with confidence put them to work to turn the tide. So here you have my first brief statement of the issues, the basic strategic frame and the key pressure points to which I invite your critical reactions and comments. In a second piece in this series, to follow shortly, I intend to have a look at the package(s) of measures, policies, tools, modes, etc. which can be sorted out, combined and refined to do something about it. Or maybe not.

- Eric Britton, Editor Continue reading