Heads-up: "Bus schools in Delhi slums

“School buses are being converted to mobile classrooms for children in Delhi slums “
From: Sudhir Gota, CAI-Asia Center
Metro Manila, Philippines
Dear all,

I found this very interesting – “In pictures: Bus schools in Delhi slums” – http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_pictures/8236636.stm

Do you know of any other city which uses “Public Transport facilities” as schools?

Co-benefits :-)

Sudhir Gota

Transport Specialist, CAI-Asia Center
Unit 3510, 35th Floor, Robinsons-Equitable Tower,
ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, Pasig City
Metro Manila, Philippines 1605
Tel: +63-2-395-2843 Fax: +63-2-395-2846
http://www.cleanairnet.org/caiasia
Skype : sudhirgota

Spending taxpayer money for transport and quality of life

On Wednesday of this week Gabrielle Herman, a researcher with ITDP-Europe posted a call for help to the Global South/Sustran working group asking for statistical information on “what current road infrastructure budget allocations look like in terms of road safety”. World Streets Sentinel Morten Lange responded from Reykjavik, challenging the project team to rethinking their approach. (And your comments on this are warmly welcome here.)

Some additional quick background to set the stage for Morten’s comments. Gabriel Hermann has been asked to prepare a section for the forthcoming UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme ) paper, “Share the Road: Minimum 10% for Safety, Sustainability, and Accessibility”, funded by the FIA Foundation for the Automobile and Society. The FIA site is at http://www.fiafoundation.org/. The UNEP site at www.unep.org . That of the ITDP Europe – http://www.itdp-europe.org/

__________________________________________________________

Reykjavik Iceland, 3 September 2009


Hi Gabrielle Hermann,

I am sorry that I cannot answer your question on specific examples of 10% spending on infrastructure for NMT. (Hmm, wait ,I have heard that Copenhagen spends a large portion of the road budget on cycling, and the same must hold true in many Dutch settings. No concrete figures or references though )

But your request did spark the following suggestion for a wholly different approach on the matter.

I think the first item on the agenda should be to do some investigation and critical thinking into different approaches to achieving improved road safety for Healthy Transport (HT), or Human Powered Transport (HPT).

It is paramount that the Global South does not copy the mistakes of the North, although some of statistics suggest that segregation and expensive infrastructure is working. At what price have they been working? Materials, huge costs, enormous land-use, and land degradation, pollution, at times long detours for cyclists and pedestrians, improved access for cars, bad health problems because of lack of exercise as part of the daily routine, blame the (HT) victims if they are run over, overdependence on very expensive and very unsustainable cars etc, etc.

Furthermore the situation in the Global South is completely different from the countries with the lowest figures for the number of deaths yearly per 100.000 inhabitants. The modal split is an ocean apart from what Sweden or the UK has, and thinking that modals splits should change in the Global South to mimic the North would be a big mistake.

Healthy Transport (HT) and Human Powered Transport (HPT) are not generally used as concepts, I think, but I suggest these concepts or something of the sort be taken up as alternatives to the term non-motorized transport NMT, or vulnerable road users, mainly because they define cycling, walking et al positively, not as something “other” than cars etc.

In evaluating the different approaches I suggest that the potential for win-win situations figure very prominently. Does the approach

– improve accessibility and efficiency for HT/HPT
– improve the competitiveness of HT/HPT
– reduce greenhouse gas emissions
– reduce other pollution to air, water, soil + noise pollution
– improve the psychological / aesthetic environment
– increase the livability and / or attractiveness
– entail flexibility and cooperation or rigid rules, with sharp edges
– use resources in a close to optimal way
– help the car, oil and tire lobby

Road safety “activists” (Is it fitting to call FIA an activist?) often overfocus on just that, and “forget” to see the whole picture. The road safety problem is one in a big set of problems that have to do with the overuse of the car, and in part the overuse or wrong use of roadgoing motorized transport.

The largest public health problem connected with transport is probably sedentary lifestyles and the resulting obesity, and a long range of life-threatening diseases. Some are associated with obesity, others not. It is estimated that in the US 40.000 die in road accidents, and 400.000 from obesity. It has been suggested that half of the 400.000 stems from sedentary lifestyles, not getting the daily gentle exercise that cyclists and walkers get. WHO has publishes a large study showing that in many major Europeans cities fumes and suspended particulate matter ( mainly from cars exhaust pipes ) kill substantially more people than road accidents.

I and many others are looking to solutions that slow down cars, and change the aesthetics of places so that they are more similar to cozy streets than the tracks for racing in computer games.

Bring down the speeds of cars. Plant trees and bushes along roads. Bring life to the streets. Some experiments in urban settings with taking the infrastructure, including signs and traffic lights away, have been successful. Motorists and HT / HPT start to interact. Accidents have been reduced.

Another approach in roughly the same vein, and then regarding cyclists specifically, is to paint bike-and-chevron markings in the streets. The markings remind both cyclists and motorists that cyclists are welcome on the streets. Very cheap, and effective in improving interactions between drivers and cyclists as well as safety. And a small piece of bicycle advocacy that is a constant reminder to all. Used in Paris, San-Francisco, recently in Reykjavik, and in many other cities. (e.g. in Australia and North America )

Rural settings and some major roads in cities can demand different solutions. There higher speeds of cars can have its merits and separation will increase the accessibility and competitiveness HT / HPT. But the lessons from urban areas should still be kept in mind. Big detours or bad designs or lousy maintenance should be avoided.

I am sorry if my style conveys that I purport some great authority on the subject. That was not my intention. I wish the proponents of segregation and expensive infrastructure would also include similar disclaimers :-)

If anyone wants references to studies that support my claims, I guess many on the list will be able to help, including myself.

Best Regards,

Morten Lange,
Reykjavik Iceland (and a former resident of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania)

Some background:
Original note of Gabrielle Hermann to the Global South/Sustran group under the title ” Road Safety Infrastructure Spending devoted NMT–project examples and figures needed!” – http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sustran-discuss/message/5535

The author:
Morten Lange describes himself as “as advocate for cycling and other health transport (in my spare time and then some)”. He lives, works and pedals in Reykjavik Iceland

Discussion:
Follows just below. Click Comment

The Year of the Woman in Transport – Part II “Don’t treat women equally”.

How to move from this fine sounding idea to concrete operational reality? For starters each of us here can take it upon ourselves as an individual commitment first to ponder and then to try to ensure full and fair representation of women in every transportation planning and decision forum we are involved in (starting with World Streets itself). But we cannot afford to stop there. Continue reading

2010: The Year of the Woman in Transport (Now, how do we get there and where do we start?)

In this piece the editor of World Streets goes out on a limb and proposes not only that the year 2010 should be formally nominated as “The Year of the Woman in Transportation” but also that something resembling gender parity be established at least as high profile examples in as many places as possible – DURING THE YEAR. (But there is plenty of room for you to express yourself on this too. Vote, comment, make your voice heard )

 

Continue reading

Op-Ed: Vision for transport in the UK to be in place by 2050

John Whitlegg, founder and editor of our sister publication, the Journal of World Transport Policy and Practice makes a frontal attack on the need for radical overhaul of our transportation arrangements to move them closer to something that is sustainable and just. He takes the European Commission to task for utterly failing to develop a viable “Vision for the future of EU transport” — and offers a vision of his own. Continue reading

Quick guide to World Streets contents: 1 2 3

The long toolbar just to your left, which many may well leap over as they check out the day’s and week’s offerings, offers a rich resource of tools, information and references which you may wish to know more about. It is organized in four main sections as follows:

Part 1: Introduction and fast start
Part 2: Organization and content
Part 3: Surfing the Internet for clues (tool kit)
Part 4: Work in progress

Part 0: IF NOTHING ELSE PLEASE READ THIS SUMMARY – Four page strategic background note introducing program and highlights at http://tinyurl.com/ws-sum

PART I: INTRODUCTION AND FAST START

Welcome: First time visitors start here – Serves as main table of contents and basic orientation of the site and its objectives. Worth a scan if you wish to get full value out of its considerable resources. There are already hundreds of articles and comments posted here covering our topic from many different angles, but if we do not have ways to locate and access them, they are just more lost luggage. Part 1 is organized in three short sections:

(1) Fast lane in. Introduces our topic, the New Mobility Agenda, and the unique strategic approach behind it. Unless these basic strategic points are fully appreciated, the journal is merely a collection of interesting stuff on our topic. But there is more to it than that. So please read on here as you come in the first time.

(2) Accessing World Streets. Shows how to access and dig into the full resource base.

(3) Supporting World Streets. How we fund all this work – and how you can help if it is to continue.

We suggest you take the time to click down this top section so as to become familiar with the available tools and information. This knowledge will transform the site from being just an interesting read into a working tool for sustainability.

PART II: ORGANIZATION AND CONTENT

Shows both how to work with and how to dig deep into the site and its vast extensions for your information and working purposes. Probably the best introduction is simply to scroll and click your way down the toolbar, but here briefly are some of the highpoints.

Search World Streets – This excellent combined search engine by Google can be put to work not only to pull up all key word references on the site, but also to reach out into the databases behind all those hundred-plus programs and sources listed under Key Links and Sources.

Free daily delivery via RSS will be straight forward to most of us. I personally tend to use Google Reader for our daily reminders, but the other choices are probably every bit as good. The idea of course is to retrieve all information about the day’s offering in Streets in a single concise line or two, and from there have a look if you are so tempted.

New Mobility Building Blocks is not particularly easy to read in this form, but it is meant as a reminder, almost subliminal, of the fact that there are a very large number of modes, approaches and choices that are available to be integrated into your full New Mobility Agenda. (More on this all over World Streets. See the Index.)

Editorial – identifies the team behind the project and offers guidelines for contributors and on our plans for extending and improving this toolset.

Supporting World Streets – How you can get involved and lend a hand for what is, after all, your problem and challenge too.

In Memorium – If you are familiar with the work of these pioneering figures, you will understand why we are here and working to build on the foundation they have so generously given us.

Sentinels – This world map identifies the first one hundred-plus people in more than thirty countries on all continents who have stepped forward with offers to share with all interested latest information and clues from their cities, good news and bad news that has perhaps lessons for others. (For more, click here – http://newmobilityagenda.blogspot.com/2009/03/world-streets-correspondents.html )

Archives – Organized by month, and then lists all postings from back to front. Clickable of course.

Correspondents – List of some of the people reporting on projects, problems, etc. in their cities in different parts of the world.

PART III: SURFING THE INTERNET FOR CLUES

This is wild and often rough. But the student of sustainable transport and sustainable cities may well find it worthwhile digging in here from time to time.

Latest Daily News from . . . World Streets is not the only source of daily information on our topic, albeit our policy focus is more tightly circumscribed than the rest (namely our dogged insistence on concentrating on all that can shape the two to four years directly ahead). You will also find here the latest from our sister publication Nuova Mobilità which covers sustainable transport developments in Italy, the first of our non-English language partner editions. The latest from CityFix (http://www.thecityfix.com/), Treehugger/Transportation (http://www.treehugger.com/cars_transportation/) and Streetsblog (http://www.streetsblog.org/ ) are also posted here as they come on line. And if you know of other dailies with international coverage, please let us know.

Key Links, Blogs and Sources:

And here for your convenient inspection is the latest list of sites and sources that our long term studies and work in the sector have shown themselves to be among the most important sources and reference points. We invite you to have a look and, if you would, to let us know about any programs and URLs you think should be on this list. This will help us all. Thank you.

World Streets New Briefs: Results of latest Google search of key categories: sustainable transport\, new mobility et al.

Video Bars: Call up four sets of YouTube videos based on related key words. Chaotic but can be worth a look.

PART IV: WORK IN PROGRESS (Can easily be ignored for now. Basically a sand box for the team to play with ideas and eventual new components.)

# # #

That’s it. A bit of labyrinthine admitted, but for the genuinely curious a useful set of leads, tools, and hints.