Bigger, Wider, Faster and More Roads for Penang . . . : Politicians, Engineers, External Costs (And you)

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What are the actual costs off building bigger, wider, fast and more roads for Penang: Let’s start by hearing two conflicting and in many ways typical opinions:

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Wrong about widening the roads? “FOLLOW THE MONEY”

politicians-and-engineers-are-wrong

Dr. Pojani in her lecture at Penang Heritage  of Friday entitled “Urban Transport Crisis in Small and Medium Size Developing Cities and the Effectiveness of Countermeasures” — at one point advises us to FOLLOW THE MONEY.  Now that’s an interesting comment and really makes me wish I had been with you. Here’s an example of how I interpret this counsel from my perspective as a strategic planner.

Thanks to Andrew we have a YouTube recording of the Dr. Pojani lecture – at https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10155333414145550&id=756525549 . Hopefully her presentation slides will be available shortly for all those of us who were not in Penang that day.

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WHAT DO I MEAN BY A “CAR FREE CITY”? 

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* Most definitely not a city without cars, but a city in which living without a car is, on the grounds of convenience, comfort and economics for many preferable to living with one.  It is not about government interference or compulsion. It is a scenario which offers more and better choices.  (Does your city offer that choice?)

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SEDUCTIVE BUT DESTRUCTIVE GOALS: Congestion-free and affordable driving

Penang. Highway construction. Source: Reuters

Penang. Highway construction. Source: reuters

Urban transport decision-makers face huge pressures to keep driving uncongested and to keep it cheap. But take a look at cities that have worked long and hard to get free-flowing traffic and affordable driving. I doubt you will like what you see. This point was a central theme of Paul Barter’s chapter “Achieving Sustainable Mobility” which appears in The State of Asian and Pacific Cities 2015 jointly published late last year by UN-ESCAP and UN-HABITAT.

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World Car Free Cities: A Progress Report

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Cities around the world are beginning to work with this ice-breaking sustainability approach. It’s not just research or theory; it is policy and practice. But this is not an easy road. Proper preparation and follow-up are critical for success.

Since 1994 New Mobility Agenda and World Streets have offered information, references, discussion space and an open forum for ideas, exchange and collaboration for people who care about sustainable mobility and sustainable cities, and aren’t afraid to work at it.

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The Mobility Complex: John Whitelegg lights a fire.

Important announcement: To celebrate European  Mobility Week (16th-22nd, www.mobilityweek.eu/) the selling price of the e-book has been slashed to 99 UK pence (£0.99, about 1.15 Euros) from today up until the 22nd.  You will have it immediately at http://tinyurl.com/zxclcz4 . (You may have to hunt for it just under the Kindle edition price slot).

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John Whitelegg, Professor John Whitelegg, is a remarkable man. He has spent his entire professional life as a scholar, teacher, critic, publisher, activist and politician, trying to make sense out of our curious world and the contradictions of transport and mobility. And in a successful attempt to bring all the threads together, what he has learned about our topic in three decades of international work spanning all continents, he has just produced for our reading and instruction a remarkable and, I truly believe, much-needed book.  His title gives away the game – Mobility: Transport Planning Philosophy for a Sustainable Future.

 

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