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

Come out and claim the road – by Sunita Narain

india bicycle dovesI write this column from my bed, recovering from an accident that broke my bones. I was hit by a speeding car when cycling. The car fled the scene, leaving me bleeding on the road. This is what happens again and again, in every city of our country, on every road as we plan without care for the safety of pedestrians and cyclists. These are the invisible users. They die doing nothing more than the most ordinary thing like crossing a road. I was more fortunate. Two cars stopped, strangers helped me and took me to hospital. I got treatment. I will be back fighting fit.

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World Transport Policy & Practice – Vol. 19, No. 4

This issue of WTPP returns to some earlier themes that are central to an improved understanding of how to get things right and reduce the likelihood of paul mees -smallerwrong-headedness.  Jeff Kenworthy opens 19/4 with a robust study of 42 cities and demonstrates that car use and GDP growth are decoupling.  Helmut Holzapfel looks at  German road and motorway planning and building and shows that it is totally removed from the reality of life as lived by citizens.  Editor John Whitelegg closes this latest edition of WTPP with a critical review of a compendium of articles, Transport Beyond Oil, while in his opening editorial reminding us of the work and contributions of our greatly missed colleague Paul Mees, a world-class transport researcher and policy analyst,who  died in Melbourne on 19th June 2013, aged 52. Far too young and still so much to do.

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Editorial: World Transport Archives– and how we read in 2013

We have recently set up a collaborative program entitled the World Transport Policy and Practice Archives, which you can find at http://worldtransportarchives.wordpress.com/.  The goal of this project  is to eb-cafe-lighterprepare and publish in easily readable form the content of all of the editions of the Journal of World Transport Policy and Practice  that have appeared since its founding in 1995, and which until now have been available only in hard-to-reach print or more recently PDF form.

The thesis behind this excercize is that all too often valuable information and insights that appear in book or journal from tend over time to disappear from the scene, as much as anything because they are bound between the covers of the publication. Now in many instances this may be a blessing, but there are others in which it can be a real loss. And in this particular case it is my personal position that in the case of the quality of insights contained within the seventy volumes that have been published over the last eighteen years, many of the articles are worth a second or more read. Hence the Archives project, which you can now find handily at http://worldtransportarchives.wordpress.com.

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To support the Tallinn FTP project, World Streets readers comment on Free Public Transport

In June of 2012 your editor was invited by the mayors of Tallinn to give a public talk mayor of tallinnto comment on how some of the policy concepts developed  over the last two decades under the New Mobility Consult program might be put to work to support their decision to take new approaches to transport policy challenges starting in 2013.  Subsequent to that visit we signed with the City of Tallinn a public agreement of strategic cooperation over 2013.

The first transformative event they were considering for 2013 was  the first-ever Free Public Transport project in a European capital. After careful planning their project went into service on 1 January.  In the run-up to this important event World Streets in cooperation with our readers has been developing and drawing to the city’s attention a broad repertory of expert comments on FPT, all of which you can see at http://worldstreets.wordpress.com/category/free-public-transport/. We invited contributing editor Anzir Boodoo to read through  the various comments and see if he could put them in some kind of order for our busy readers in a single article, which you can now read here. Continue reading

World Streets Reader (First edition)

Here please find a selection of articles taken from the archives of World Streets, each of which reporting briefly on a concept or event that I as editor and author consider to be worthy of the attention of our several thousand international readers. I am reviewing these for ideas, materials and clues in support of a book in progress under the title “The Third Transportation Revolution: Cities, Indolence, Complexity and the Equity Agenda”. More will be posted on this project shortly.

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Editorial: Why are we losing the sustainability wars? In transport, in cities, in our lives? Because we are . . .

Consider these irrefutable unpleasant truths:

There may be successes and improvements in this project, in this  place, in this way, but when we look at the bottom line — i.e., the aggregate impact of our transport choices and actions on the planet  — it is clear that we (that’s the collective “we” including all of us who have in some way committed to or accepted this great responsiblity, this author certainly included) are failing, big time. And if we are frank with ourselves, we can see that this is quite simply because . . . Continue reading

Dear Reader. May we rent your brain?

World Streets iwill on 1 May close down regular publication until we have managed to resolve our challenging financial situation. If you share our deeply felt goals concerning the up-hill push to sustainable transport, sustainable cities and sustainable lives, read on and consider how you could lend a hand. We need both near term and more solid longer term backing in order to be able to continue to make our contribution. And for this, your ideas and contacts can be of real help. If you like what we are doing with World Streets, let me ask you to read on. Continue reading

Whence Social Media on World Streets

If anyone knows where this whole business of balancing what just might be highly useful linking with the constraints imposed by a seriously time-challenged 24 hour day, I hope they will let the editor of this journal know. True there is a great deal that is out there, and every bit of it is in constant kaleidoscopic evolution. My first temptation is to stick to what I know works, and give the rest a pass. But another part of my brain tells me that this could be a big mistake.
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To fix Sustainable Transport: Ensure Full Gender Parity in all Decision and Investment Fora (QED)

Today is International Women’s Day. And not only that, 2011 marks the one hundredth anniversary of this great and necessary idea. So what better occasion for World Streets to announce publicly, loudly and yet once again our firm belief that the most important single thing that our society, our nations and our cities could do to increase the fairness and the effectiveness of our transportation arrangements would be to make it a matter of the law that all decisions determining how taxpayer money is invested in the sector should be decided by councils that respect full gender parity. We invite you to join us in this challenge and make it one of the major themes of sustainable transport policy worldwide in 2011. Continue reading

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

Editorial: The Seven Simple Truths of Sustainable Mobility (Come argue with me)

Sometimes in life things can be simple. Let’s look at one case.

Doubtless the most severe single problem holding us back in the hard up-hill struggle for “sustainable transport” in cities and countries around the world is that so far everyone seems to have a different definition and a different agenda.  Google offered 947,000 entries under this phrase this morning and all it takes is a quick tour of the Google News rubric to  get a quick education on the enormous range of interpretations of what the phrase means to different people, places and interests. Continue reading

We have no money gentlemen, so we shall have to think.

This is a personal call to those of you who have over the years participated in the rather numerous programs and working groups we have since 1988 carefully crafted and maintained in support of worldwide peer collaboration and exchange in our tough but important field: under the New Mobility Agenda, World Streets or one of its sister publications (see below), or who have of late plugged in to our pages on Facebook or Twitter. I feel pretty quite comfortable in doing this since you know what we are trying to do, and who better for me to turn to at a time of need. (And oh yes, for those who may not recall, that citation above was  by Nobel Prize winner Professor Ernest Rutherford, on taking over the quite broke Cavendish Laboratory in 1919, in the wake of the First World War.) Continue reading

The State of World Streets: 2010, 2011 & your imagination (Part I: Intro)

With the new year of 2011 World Streets is entering its third year of publication and we thought that you might possibly  like to have this short report on its status, outlook, and in closing a few points to which you may wish to give some thought for your own personal new mobility agenda in the year ahead. Continue reading

Ridesharing Institute II. If you will, but Public Transport on the first line please

In yesterday’s feature which was intended to inform the exchanges at this week’s TRB session concerning the eventual creation of a continuing program to support and expand ridesharing as a central sustainable transport policy, the point is made that the project should concentrate whatever resources it can stump up on ridesharing, as opposed to traditional public transport which has its own institutional and support system (for better or worse) while ridesharing from a policy and institutional perspective is still an orphan. But Simon Norton begs to differ: Continue reading

Unfair, unsafe and unwise – a major crisis abuilding for sustainable transport in Britain

Dear British Friends and Colleagues,

Forgive me if I am being naïve, but based on what I am reading and hearing it strikes me that there is a major crisis abuilding for sustainable transport in Britain in the months immediately ahead — as a result of the coalition government withdrawing funding from a lot of mainly small and local (since they really have to be small and usually local and focused if they are to succeed) sustainable transport initiatives This strikes me as a caring if distant observer as unfair, unsafe and unwise. Continue reading

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

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

Will the real British local transport policy please stand up.

About two weeks ago I sent out a red flag to a short list of my most respected British transport/environment colleagues with a cry for help in preparation for a keynote speech I had been asked to deliver to a conference scheduled to take place this Thursday, 2 December, in Liverpool, and where the speaker just before me is a respected ministerial representative of the latest British government. I confessed to my distinguished British friends that I was at best half-educated in terms of the current policy and practice debate in Britain and needed a fast tutorial before exposing myself to a critical audience. They responded fast, generously and most usefully as you will soon see here in a follow-up piece to the conference; but one of the responses opened up his perceptive comments with an amusing analogy which I thought you might enjoy this morning. Continue reading

2011 Work Plan: First we have to pay for it

Paris. Thursday, 25 November 2010

Subject: Heavy traffic on the way to sustainable cities and sustainable lives . . .

Dear friends and colleagues,

With the harvest now safely in the granary, the livestock firmly locked in the barn, the muskets loaded and plenty of wood chopped to see us through a long and surely hard winter, it is time to cook up a big meal and invite everyone within shouting distance to come to celebrate that we all have somehow made it through one more year and have at least a fair shot at the one to come.

So on this special day for Americans, wearing my hat as founding editor of World Streets I decided this morning to pick up pen and write a short note to you (and approximately one thousan d f riends and colleagues in cities and countries literally all over the world) to see if they, you that is, might have some ideas as to how this thing we call World Streets can now organize to deal with the challenges and the opportunities of the year ahead. For, as you will see in our and other pages, there are surely plenty of both. Continue reading

Editorial: World Streets Profile Guidelines for Contributors

Preparing a World Streets Profile
(Program, Project, Event, Tool)

World Streets welcomes well written articles that report in a balanced manner to our international readers on the work and accomplishments, and hopes and plans, of outstanding groups, projects and programs in various corners of the world leading the way in face of the tough challenges in our chosen sector — looking for exemplary approaches and tools that have potential for very broad, hopefully universal application. Continue reading

Antidote: Why one American liberal suggests that there are viable options to your car

In the wake of the sheer madness, no that’s too kind, outright stupidity, flagrant self-satisfaction and puerile cuteness of yesterday’s “Why Leftists want to pull you all on mass transit” piece, we offer you some brief words of respite taken directly from Paul Krugman’s 7 October piece in his “The Conscience of a Liberal” blog from the New York Times. Our bottom line: Don’t give up on America yet. We may be in the slow lane, but with a lot more hard work and hard thinking we just may get there yet. Continue reading

Kaohsiung pause

Our esteemed editor in chief (also the only editor but happily not the only contributor) is tied up for this and most of next week in Kaohsiung for the first meeting of the World Share/Transport Forum.  He has taken the entire staff of World Streets with him, so it will be a bit lights-out on this street for the next few days. Our hope is that you will miss us and in the meantime be thinking about articles, authors, programs, problems, solutions, links and useful tools  that we can all share together in these and other good pages.  In the meantime come to Kaohsiung with us via http://www.kaohsiung.sharetransport.org.   It will be well worth the trip.

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What/who keeps holding back New Mobility reform?

If you get it, New Mobility is a no-brainer. However, while newmob 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. We have a few potential sticking points here that need to be overcome first. Let’s have a quick look.

After some years of talking with cities, and working and observing in many different circumstances, here are some 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