Op-ed: John Whitelegg on Time Pollution

This out of control  bulimic spiral begins with man’s uncontrollable tool-making itch, and from there, and utterly 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. What we thought at the time was merely more convenient transportation, has snuck up on us and turned into very inconvenient and altogether unanticipated transformation — in fact one of the most intractable challenges of transport policy and practice of the 21sr centur

How to break this vicious spiral? Well in cities anyway the key is clearly significant, strategic speed reduction in combination with a phased, multi-step systemic overall as needed to create a truly optimized mobility system for all. And happily we now have the technical  tools (the technical virtuosity) to get the job done. We shall see this spelled out more clearly here over the course of the coming months, but before leaping ahead, let’s step back a bit in time and see what Contributing Editor Professor John Whitelegg had to say on this subject in the pages of the Journal of World Transport Policy and Practice, way back in 1993.

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World Transport Policy & Practice – Vol. 20, No. 4. Sept. 2014

This issue of World Transport Policy and Practice is a significant milestone in the life of the journal. It marks 20 years of publication and for anyone with a serious interest in understanding the importance of transport, the links between transport, mobility and accessibility and the links with sustainability, health and quality of life, there is more than enough material here to work on.

At the outset we chose to emphasise the word “policy” and that remains a strong focus. 20 years of publication have examined policy in detail, more often the lack of intelligent policy, but always with a keen eye on “this is what we have to do if we want to improve things”. There is now no excuse for anyone anywhere in the world to sit at his or her desk on a Monday morning and wonder how to sort things out. The answers lie in our freely available archives.

uk-bus-queue-no excuses

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World Transport Policy & Practice. Twentieth anniversary issue. Editorial by John Whitelegg, Founding Editor

f1fa6-ws-pic-whiteleggThis issue of World Transport Policy and Practice is a significant milestone in the life of the journal. It marks 20 years of publication and for anyone with a serious interest in understanding the importance of transport, the links between transport, mobility and accessibility and the links with sustainability, health and quality of life, there is more than enough material here to work on.

At the outset we chose to emphasise the word “policy” and that remains a strong focus. 20 years of publication have examined policy in detail, more often the lack of intelligent policy, but always with a keen eye on “this is what we have to do if we want to improve things”. There is now no excuse for anyone anywhere in the world to sit at his or her desk on a Monday morning and wonder how to sort things out. The answers lie in our freely available archives.

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World Transport Policy & Practice – Vol. 20, No. 2, June 2013

This is a special issue of to celebrate the life and work of our friend, colleague and inspiration, Paul Mees. Paul died at the far too early age of 52 in June 2013. He was a fierce and highly articulate advocate of the public interest. His contributions ranged over traditional academic activities including teaching, paul mees -smallerresearching and publishing but went much wider and embraced campaigning, media activity and an ability to engage with senior public figures in a way that could not be ignored and in a way that exposed the utter wrong-headedness of much Australian and State of Victoria transport policy and spending. He is greatly missed.

This special issue once again reiterates our commitment to sustainable transport, which embraces the urgent need to cut global emissions, reduce the amount of new infrastructure of all kinds, and to highlight the importance of future generations, the poor, those who live in degraded environments and those deprived of human rights by planning systems that put a higher importance on financial objectives for the few, than on the environment and social justice for all..

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World Transport Policy & Practice – Vol. 20, No. 1. January 2014

This issue of World Transport Policy and Practice opens the journal’s 20th year UK- Alan-Babit-Trmour-enhanced-red light downof  consistent commitment to sustainable transport, which embraces the urgent need to cut global emissions of carbon dioxide, to reduce the amount of new infrastructure of all kinds and to highlight the importance of future generations, the poor, those who live in degraded environments and those deprived of human rights by planning systems that put a higher importance on economic objectives than on the environment and social justice.

The lead editorial by founding editor John Whitelegg  reports on the wrong-headed intensification of the mobility paradigm which is now firmly locked into a very strong, highly destructive  infrastructure fetish.  Articles by Jeff Kenworthy (Australia) , Nguyen Thi Cat Tuong (Vietnam), John Baptist Gauci (Malta), and the team of Mary Surridge, Cathy Green, Dynes Kaluba and Victor Simfukwe (Zambia) complete this latest edition of the Journal.

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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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World Transport Policy & Practice – Vol. 19, No. 4. October 2013

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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