We are already close to one-seventh of the way through this very different 21st century: an era not of “order” in the older and more comfortable sense. But rather of chaos, that illusive universe that combines mystery and a certain sense of order . Chaos however is not the end; it is only a beginning. And while we are on the subject, this in from Jarrett Walker in his blog Human Transit in which he reminds us of the power and potential of informal transport. His concluding recommendation is especially interesting and to the point. The full original piece is available at http://goo.gl/TW5meY.
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 article which recently appeared in City Lab gets straight to the heart of the New Mobility Agenda as we understand it, a critical and often ignored mobility category which we have long since dubbed xTransit, Third Ways of Getting around in Cities. Just below you will find some key excerpts from the article; for the full text click to http://goo.gl/hI8VI . If you are not familiar with the Matatu, you will find additional background in the short but quite useful Wikipedia site at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matatu. For more on our xTransit work, have a look at http://worldstreets.wordpress.com/category/xtransit and eventually https://www.facebook.com/groups/xtransit .
Our 21st century cities and those of us who live and work in them have transportation requirements that have little in common with the historical patterns. Our actual service needs are closer to what we can see in successful car-based systems than the patterns associated with traditional public transport. That is to say, user requirements in this new-life system are for the most part not linear (i.e., many-to-many) , nor strictly time-cadenced.
Fortunately Penang does not have to start from the beginning and all by itself reinvent its presently troubled transportation arrangements to create a beautiful and sustainable city. There are many cities in different parts of the world who have in the past addressed these same challenges, patiently, consistently and with continuity and excellent results. So in many ways there is nothing new; it all depends on how you put it together. And it is these cities and these projects that provide examples for Penang. All of these examples taken together constitute what we call the New Mobility Agenda. Let us have a look as been learned over the last three decades in these “cities that are rethinking themselves”.
We keep reading and are repeatedly informed that for carsharing to work there must be good public transport, cycling and other mobility arrangements as indispensable complements. In other words, for carsharing to work you have to be not only in a city, but in a certain kind of city. This position has been an article of faith for many carshare observers for more than a decade, and while there is a certain logic to it, upon inspection it turns out there is a lot more to successful carsharing than that.
When one introduces shared taxis one has to guard against the danger that they take people off buses and trains (or off their feet or bikes) rather than off cars. If so they will actually increase the number of motor vehicles, and furthermore unless the system is transparent and available to casual users (i.e. one doesn’t have to live in the area, belong to a club, or book ages in advance) they may prevent the development of genuinely comprehensive mobility systems.”