November 2009: This month on World Streets Sustainable transportation on the run-up to Copenhagen.

Another busy month on World Streets — with 10,468 visitors (roughly the average for the last several months) dropping in to pick up and at least scan a total of 20 new articles, touching on such exotic topics as politicians who can’t count, heavy car lobbying by the divine Veronica Moss, lessons on how to honk to drive people off of the street, and above all a series of ideas and reports to see how we all might find a way to put COP15 to work for sustainable transport, sustainable cities, and sustainable lives (the other half of the Copenhagen coin admittedly, the people side). World Streets is there are making the voices of sustainable transportation heard. Join us and support World Streets, one of a kind.

One full month of World Streets in one click:

* Click here to directly address on-line November postings

* And here for the PDF covering the full month.

Who is reading Streets these days?

And here you can see where the last eighty visitors came from. Our typical pattern, with those huge white swaths in Africa and the former Soviet Union counties. That said, things are heating up nicely in China, Taiwan, and much of South-east Asia. Stay tuned.

Join in: Do your bit for our cities and our planet
Would you like to propose an article , topic or author for the November edition? If so, don’t hesitate to contact our editor. And oh yes, we answer out mail.

Paying our bills:

We have not yet found the sponsorship needed to keep the journal afloat in 2010. The situation is very tough, so if you would like help us brainstorm on this or otherwise help us, please get in touch. I am sure that with energetic collaboration we will solve this problem and go on to do better yet in 2010. I kind of think the planet needs us. And I hope you agree. Don’t be shy now. Get in touch. Lend a hand, this thing is heavy. And after all, it’s your planet.

Eric Britton, Editor
* * Tel: +331 4326 1323 *Skype: newmobility.<

1. 2. 3. World Streets quick search update: Making the universe just a bit smaller and more manageable

It’s a huge world out there and when you are looking for something that relates to the interests that bring us together here, Google is a wonderful tool. However even with careful use of key words, it often can be a source of confusion, given the very large number of things that it inevitably dredges up. With this in mind, we have set up three levels of more defined search that you may find of interest.

But first a quick intro: What is this?

The following is perhaps more understandable if we take a moment to put it into its broader context. Let’s try:

World Streets tries hard to serve four important, rather different functions as a motor, all for, as we incessantly say, sustainable transport, sustainable cities, and sustainable lives. They include:

1. Journal: Daily source of information, stimulation and perspective

2. Resource: A world wide resource on sustainable transport and all that relates to it.

3. Collaborator. Ready and able to put people and expertise together to support projects and programs setting out to be the best.

4. Lobby: A driving force for the sustainable transport renaissance that our cities and planet so critically need and deserve.

The following is an example of how we try to serve that Resource responsibility.

The Three Search Engines:

1. Search World Streets content:
This first and most tightly defined search engine – looking specifically and uniquely at the content of World Streets since its first edition on 2 March 2009. You will find it just to your left (scroll down a bit), and if you pop in your search term it will call up the result in the main frame right here. Very handy.

2. World Streets: Key Sources, Links and Blogs:
This is second and considerably more inclusive search engine starts with your key words and then scans the full content of the growing list of carefully selected specialized programs, sources and blogs with whom World Streets has created working links. There are presently (as of 30 Nov. 2009) something like 176 such linked sources, and you can then with a single click scan their entire content from the second search box to your left.

3. New Mobility Knowledge Environment (Knoogle): This is more ambitious yet and is the result of a joint research project with a group at the University of Michigan, in which we created a new combined search engine that presently scans (at last count) 937 carefully selected sources. (A bit more on Knoogle will be found below. For the full story go to

If you are planning a trip or starting out on a new topic for research or a media piece, this can be a handy way to get started.

More on Knoogle New Mobility
The origins of the Knoogle project (KNOwledge + goOGLE) was a concern that while there are a growing number of capable programs and organizations working on the same important problems of transport, environment and climate that concern us here, we were seeing quite a bit of “silo-ing” of information and effort. Perhaps to be expected given the natural tendency of human beings and groups to be attached to and protective of what they see as their “turf”, however in the present dire circumstances a very real threat to both better understanding of the challenges and of our ability to get together to create strong and informed consensuses for change.

Knoogle New Mobility 1.2 is the second iteration of a power search engine under development by the New Mobility Agenda in cooperation with the SMART program of the University of Michigan, and specifically tailored to help policy makers, local government, researchers, NGOs, activists, consultants, concerned citizens and the media keep up efficiently with the work and activities of the leading international groups, programs and sources leading the field of sustainable transport and sustainable cities worldwide.

We invite you to test Knoogle to view the results of a quick unified scan based on your selected key words, combing through more than one thousand carefully selected institutions, programs and sources that we view as leading the way in their work and competence in our heavily challenged sector world-wide. (And if you want to reach beyond your initial Knoogle datadump, you are only a keystroke away from a full database search.)

Knoogle developed as part of a project is getting underway in which we are looking into ways to create tighter linkages and better coordination between the fast expanding number of programs and agencies that are concerned with issues of sustainable transportation, climate, environment, etc. For full background on this project in process click to And if you wish to get involved or contribute in any way please get in touch.

Map: Who is reading World Streets where today?

* * Click map for higher definition version * *

The above map reports the last eighty locations checking into World Streets on the indicated date.

The last time we looked at the records we saw that World Streets was being picked up by readers in: Abu Dhabi, Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria,Canada, Cape Verde,  Chile, China, Colombia, Congo- Republic of (Brazzaville), Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dubai, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, Finland, France, French Polynesia, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Grenada, Greece, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Jersey, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Korea (South), Kuwait, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia,Maldives, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia,  Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russian Federation, Solomon Islands, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania,Thailand, Tunisia,Turkey, Turks and Caicos Islands, Uganda, Ukraine, Uruguay,  United Kingdom, United States of America, Uzbekistan,Vietnam, Zambia,  Zimbabwe.


But just in case we are suffering from a bad dose of hubris, here is a list of the places in which, to the best of our knowledge, World Streets had NOT yet been read or at least downloaded from here:

American Samoa, Andorra, Anguilla, Antarctica,  Armenia, Aruba, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brunei Darussalam,  Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon,  Cayman Islands, Central African Republic, Chad, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Comoros,  Cook Islands, Cyprus, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, East Timor Timor-Leste, Egypt,,  Eritrea, Ethiopia, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, Fiji,  Gambia, Georgia, Gibraltar, Greenland,  Guadeloupe, Guam, Guatemala, Guernsey, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Heard and Mc Donald Islands, Holy See, Isle of Man, Ivory Coast,  Jordan, Kiribati, Korea- Democratic People’s Rep. (North Korea),  Kyrgyzstan, Libya,  Macau, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Martinique, Mauritania, Mayotte, Micronesia, Montenegro, Montserrat, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Burma, Nauru, Netherlands Antilles,  Niger, Niue, Norfolk Island, Northern Mariana Islands, Oman, Palau, Palestinian National Authority, Panama, Papua New Guinea,  Pitcairn Island, Qatar, Reunion Island, Romania, Rwanda, Saint Helena, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Príncipe, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone,  Somalia, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, Sri Lanka, St. Pierre and Miquelon,Suriname, Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands, Swaziland, Syria, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan,  Tibet, Timor-Leste (East Timor), Togo, Tokelau, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago,  Turkmenistan,  Tuvalu, U.S. Minor Outlying Islands,  Vanuatu, Vatican City State (Holy See), Venezuela, Virgin Islands (British), Virgin Islands (U.S.), Wallis and Futuna Islands, Western Sahara, Yemen, Zaire,

Hmm, a round 131 countries. To us this serves as an eloquent reminder of all the work that needs still to be done.

And what do they read about when they come here:
Bicycles. Bicycle sharing. Behavior. Bike/Transit Integration. Bus Rapid Transit. Buses. Car diets. Car free days. Car Free Planning. Car rental. Carpooling. Carsharing. Community Buses. Convergence. Demand Responsive Transit. Democracy. Digital Hitchhiking. DRT. Dynamic ridesharing. Enforcement. Flextime. Free Public Transport. Fuels. Full cost pricing. Gender. General Theory. Green driving. Green parking. Governance. Hail & Ride. Hitchhiking. HOV Strategies. HUBs. Infrastructure, Integrated Fare Systems. Jitneys. Job creation. Land Use. Lane diets. Leadership.  Leading by example. Level playing field tax/write-off policies. Light rail. Low-carbon. Media. Mediation. Mini/Midi Bus. Mixed Use. Multi-modal strategies. New Mobility Agenda,  Paratransit. Politics, Public Bicycle Systems. Public spaces. Renewables. Ride Sharing. Road architecture. Road diets. Road pricing. School projects. Safety, Security. Share taxis. Sharing. Shuttle Services. Slowth. Slugging. Small Bus Systems. Soft measures. SOV Strategies. Space sharing. Speed Reductions. Srop-and-Start. Street Codes. Street Reclaiming. Street sharing. Tax policy. Taxis. Telecommuting. Telework. TDM. TOD. Traffic calming. Transit Encouragement. Transit malls. Transit Priorities. Universal design. Value Capture. Vanpooling. Vehicles. Virtual HOV,Use Restrictions. Walk to School. Walking. Women. Workplace sharing. xCars. xTransit. Zoning.

But when you boil it down at the end of the day, this all comes to SHARING in transport: gets us there best and fastest, great for our pocket book, good for neighborliness, and a lease on life for our poor planet.

Check it out at World Share/Transport Forum at .

# # #

PS. Your editor is updating the above as reader reminders come in.

About the editor:

Eric Britton
13, rue Pasteur. Courbevoie 92400 France

Bio: Founding editor of World Streets (1988), Eric Britton is an American political scientist, teacher, occasional consultant, and sustainability activist who has observed, learned, taught and worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. In the autumn of 2019, he committed his remaining life work to the challenges of aggressively countering climate change and specifically greenhouse gas emissions emanating from the mobility sector. He is not worried about running out of work. Further background and updates: @ericbritton | | #fekbritton | | and | Contact: | +336 508 80787 (Also WhatApp) | Skype: newmobility.)

View complete profile


The Transportation Majority. Can’t politicians count?

Public transport? Cycling? Walking? Car pooling? Car sharing? Stuck at home? Elderly? Handicapped? Spend my hard-earned money for them? Bah! Who needs it? Why bother if it’s just for a few marginal people? Let’s concentrate on the big problems, those of the majority of people. Us drivers and our cars. We are the transportation majority.

In the world of human mobility there is, as it turns out, no one “big problem”. And hence no big solutions. There is, for better or worse, just an ever-changing confluence of a very large number of different problems, different people, different desires, different daily life realities, different needs, different constraints, different priorities, different possibilities, and different decisions. And different actions. And different consequences.

The old mobility vision of society is essentially one of striding workers, with secure jobs, fixed hours, well defined trips, leaping into their car and then buckling up for “safe driving”. Very nice.

All of whom well served by our “normal transportation arrangements”, that is the huge and hugely expansive infrastructure that we continue to build and repair to support automotive transportation (and those largely empty cars).

Something like eighty percent of the local transportation funding in most cities of the world goes for that car-supporting infrastructure: roads, bridges, cloverleafs, tunnels, supporting elections, policing, accident prevention, and the long list goes on. Life is sweet.

Then there are “the rest”, among them: the old, disabled, poor, rural, etc., etc. And of course the poor old disabled rural.

They too of course need to be catered to as well. Fair enough. Let’s give them a bit here and a bit there too. But most of our hard-earned tax money is still going to be spent on providing high quality mobility arrangements for “normal people”. That’s right, isn’t it?

Sorry but no, it’s not at all right. It is in fact 100% wrong. It is wrong because it is grossly unfair and uncivil. And beyond that, it is also based on a false precept. Why?

Because that splendid vision of society with thee and me at the wheel with the wind blowing through our golden hair, simply does not jibe with reality. It never did in the past, and as our societies age it increasingly is absurdly contrary to reality. Here is the surprise, the kicker:

The “transportation majority” is not what most people think, transportation planners and policy makers among them.

The transportation majority are all those of us who increasingly are poorly served by the mainline, no-choice, car-based truncated service arrangements that eat up most of our taxpayer money and take away our choices. And each year, as our populations age this majority grows in numbers.

Here is a generic short-list of the people who make up this till-now all too silent majority:

1. Everyone in your city, country or electorate who does not have a car

2. Everyone who cannot drive

3. Everyone who cannot afford to own and operate a car of their own (And remember that costs a lot of after-tax money)

4. Everyone who should not drive (for reasons of a variety of impediments such as limitations associated with age, psychological state , , , ,)

5. Everyone who lives in a large city and for reasons of density, public health and quality of city life needs to have access to a non-car mobility system

6. Everyone who would in fact prefer to get around by walking, cycling or some form of shared transport who cannot safely or readily do so, because all the money is being spent on the car-based system which is fundamentally, and financially, incompatible with these “softer” and more healthy ways of getting around

7. Everyone who suffers from some form of impairment that makes driving or even access to traditional public transit difficult or impossible

8. Everyone who cannot responsibly take the wheel at any given time (fatigue, distraction, nervousness, some form of intoxication. . . )

9. All those who are today isolated and unable to participate in the life of our communities fully because they simply do not have a decent way to get around.

10. And — don’t lose sight of this! – in a few years you!

How do we work our way out of this? Simple, get out there and vote!

Vote for mayors, counselors and legislators who are ready to work for the transportation majority.

Vote for mayors, counselors and legislators who are ready to join the transportation majority and get to work and around their city by public transport, walking, bicycle, carpool, or carsharing. Or better yet some combination all of the above.

And don’t vote for the other guys.

They will get your message.

# # #

Editor’s note:

Several of our readers have pointed out that while this may be interesting, the only way to make the point is to put numbers to it. Exactly! But this has to be done on a place by place basis, so one can hope that this will be done and that we shall be seeing the results of this important metric here and in many other places.

Who is minding the store? Activity at the leading edge of climate/transport nexus

To ensure the maintenance of a first class reference base for World Streets, it is important to ensure we are able to track the main sources of ideas and initiatives in the domains what are our concerns here – the challenging nexus of climate, environment, transport, cities, etc. Just below you have the current listing of groups and sources currently tracked here. Would you mind having a look and seeing if we are missing anything that should be included in our shared database?

I should mention that all of these sites are covered by several of our search engines, which you can see on the menu, Thus if you click our combined search engine here — – you will find that your keywords are directed to scan the content of all of these sites. A handy way to follow progress and concerns at the leading edge.

Thank you for letting us know if there are programs, sources and sites that need to be added to this listing. It is for us all.

1. Active Transportation Alliance
2. African Community Access Programme (AFCAP)
3. Alliance for Biking & Walking
4. Association for European Transport
5. Bakfiets Cycle News
6. Better Transport (UK)
7. Bicycle Design
8. Bicycle Fixation
9. Bicycle Partnership Program
10. Bike-sharing Blog
11. Brazilian Pedestrian Association
12. Brookings Institute – Metro
13. C40 – Large Cities Climate Leadership
14. California Center for Innovative Transportation
15. Campaign for Better Transport
16. Carsharing US
17. Center for Neighborhood Technology
18. Centre for Science and Environment
19. China Dialogue
20. Cities for Mobility
21. CitiesACT (Asia)
22. Citistates Group
23. City CarShare
24. City Fix
25. City Mayors
26. CityRyde (USA)
27. Ciudad Viva
29. Clean Air Initiative (CAI)
30. Climate Alliance of European Cities
31. Climate ark
32. Clinton Climate Initiative
33. Community Transportation Association of America
35. CROW – Technology Platform for Transport & Public space
37. ELTIS case studies
38. Embarq – Center for Sustainable Transport
39. Embarq – WRI
40. Energie-Cités
41. Energy Foundation
42. EPOMM – European Platform on Mobility Management
43. EUROCITIES mobility
44. European Federation for Transport & Environmen
45. Feet First.
47. Forum for the future
48. Friends of the Earth (Transport)
49. Frixo traffic reporting
50. Gehl architects.
51. Global Alliance for EcoMobility
52. Global Environment & Technology Foundation
53. global Transport Knowledge Partnership
54. Go For Green
55. Google maps bike there
56. Gotham Gazette
57. Green 2009
58. Green car congress.
59. Greenstreet Sweden
60. Grist
61. GTZ
62. Guardian-Transport/Environment
63. I Bike T.O.
64. I Walk to School
65. IBSR – L’Institut Belge pour la Sécurité Routière
66. IEEE
68. INRETS (France)
69. International Downtown Association
70. International Federation of Pedestrians (IFP)
71. International Transport Forum
72. International Walk to School
73. ITDP – China (photo library)
74. ITDP – Institute for Transportation & Development Policy –
75. Japan for Sustainability (JFS)
76. Key NewMob definitions
77. Knoogle combined search of all following blogs and sources
78. KonSULT
79. Land Transport Authority – Singapore
80. Livable City
81. Livable Streets Network
83. Mobility Magazine (South Africa)
84. Network Musings
85. New Economics Foundation
86. News from Amsterdam
87. Next American City
88. One Street
89. Oxford Transport Network
90. Pan Africa Bicycle Information Network
91. Parisar (India)
92. Partners for Public Spaces (PPS) i
93. Perils for Pedestrians
94. Planetizen
95. Polis
96. Practical cyclist Blog
97. Prevention Institute
98. Reconnecting America
99. Regional Community Development News
100. Reinventing Transport
101. Safe Kids
102. Safe Routes to School
103. Shared Space.Institute
104. Shrinking Cities
105. Sightline Institute
106. SMART – Inspire Mobility
107. Smart growth america
108. Smart Growth Online
109. Social Data
111. STPP
112. Street-Films
113. Streets Alive
114. Streetsblog (NYC)
115. Sustainable Cities Net
116. Sustainable Connections
117. Sustainable Development Gateway
118. Sustainable Energy Africa
119. Sustainable Urban Transport Project
120. Sustran – Global South Forum
121. The Commons
122. The Idea Factory
123. The Nation – Transportation
124. The PEP – Transport, Health & Environmen
125. the transport politic
126. Tne Infrastructurist
127. Transaid
128. Transition Towns
129. Transport Research Knowledge Centre
130. Transportation Alternatives
131. Transumo
132. Treehugger-transportation
133. UITP
134. UN Division for Sustainable Development (DSD)
135. Urbamet
136. Urban Buzz
137. Urban Design
138. Urban Design and Planning
139. Urban Land Institute
140. Urban places and spaces
141. Urban Transport Issues Asia
142. Urban Trransportation Monitor
143. Value Capture News
144. Velo Mondial
145. Victoria Transport Policy Institute
146. Virginia Tech Transportation Institute
147. Walk & Bike for Life
148. Walk to School (UK)
149. Walking School Bus
150. Wash Cycle
151. Where
152. WHO – Transport and Health
153. Wiki on Sustainable Transportation
154. Wikipedia entry (for comment)
155. WiserEarth (WE)
156. World Business Council for Sustainable Development
157. World Changing
158. World Resources Forum
159. World Resources Institute
160. Worldwatch Institute
161. Wuppertal Institute

One of our respected colleagues who had a look at this listing over the weekend, suggested that it might do well to be pared down a bit. What we are looking for is not every sits on the block that is looking into these matters for their specific local or limited purposes, but rather the programs that are reaching out to find information an clues that will be valuable to researchers, activists ,and policy makers wishing to stay on top of the key developments and trends world wide.

Our Personal Choices — and (un)Sustainable Lives

I don’t think we can buy the argument anymore that we deserve special dispensation just because we think what we are doing is worthwhile. *

airplane takeoff pollutionLet’s see. At last count there were already more than seven billion of us sharing this suddenly very small planet. And let’s say, just to get a crude handle on this, that each of us, whether in Mali or Malibu, makes something like a hundred “personal planet action choices” each day, leading to specific actions which when we had them all up have quite a potential impact on our earth.

Choices like turning a water tap on or off tight, leaving something electric on when we are no longer using it, buying more stuff that locks us into using them perhaps somehow excessively, hopping into the car to go to the gym, perhaps getting on a plane to take the wife and kids for a long week-end in Maui, voting for public officials who persistently invest in what is clearly unsustainable infrastructure for vehicles and not sustainable mobility for us ordinary people — you know, the long list of all those often very small things we do, usually without thinking about it at the time, and certainly not considering what happens when we add it all up.

When it comes to our personal mobility behavior the number of choices we make is only part of this greater whole, but if you do your own calculus about trips taken, including those by foot, you will quickly see that if you take us all together there are at least many tens of billions of “personal planet-defining mobility choices” that taken together determine our collective footprint on our small planet.

Now that’s a pretty big number and an awful lot of people spread out over the world map to somehow re-orchestrate into a more sustainable mobility mode for all. Daunting task. Where to start?

What about this? One way to start to get a handle on the issues is this . . . . . . when in doubt look into the mirror.

 * The original posting of this text and personal CO2 reduction strategy appeared in these pages in November 2004.


  • Why bother even trying?
  • How am I doing? (Oops!)
  • Personal air travel/CO2 minimization strategy
  • References
  • Ten practical suggestions


Why bother even trying?

“I am a very busy person and my work is highly important. I have to fly a great deal to do my job and make my contribution to the economy and a better world. Anyway, I am only one person. The problem is not measured in such small personal doses. Is it? So please, leave me alone and let me get on with my important work.”

It’s quite a challenge here in the turmoiled 21st century to live a sustainable life when technology, our unexamined habits and for some of us sheer abundance– the many agreeable ‘acquis’ of the rich and profligate North of our time — invariably have us more or less operating on auto- pilot, opting for daily life choices, small and large, inconsequential and egregious, which together add up to pretty unsustainable lives. Even for those among us who are deeply concerned about the issues of sustainable development for the planet as a whole. But that whole is made up of each of us, one by one — and no less important many of the “us’s” working on these issues are people with potential high public exposure. Thus our very visible examples count double.

So if I, to take a concrete example, decide I “need” to travel from Paris to, say, Shanghai for an assignment to advance the sustainability agenda in concrete ways — if I use the Climate Care or some other workable CO2 calculator I can see without a doubt that in the process through my personal actions I will cause some four tons of CO2 to be spewed into the atmosphere.

Hmm. How many time a year can I permit myself to do that in good faith? Is there a more efficient way to get that particular job done? Or at least if I do make the trip, how can I make sure that I am responsible in my choice? I better do a lot and work hard and smart while I am there, or our gasping planet will be the loser.

This page introduces a selection of the growing collection of web-based devices that can help us to get a better grip on the impact of our choices, of our actual actions. And perhaps with this knowledge, we may modify our choices. Some of us? At least perhaps some of our choices? In any event the sheer knowledge of what we are making happen should be a step in the right direction.

I end this piece with a bit on my own travel philosophy and personal choices in the face of these important challenges. (And how am I doing? Well to be perfectly honest, not so great. But I’m working on it. In fact I have something of a strategy. Have a look and tell me how to do better.)


How am I (eric britton) doing?

How can a man, riding on an ox, looking for an ox, ever find an ox?

Aaaargh! Don’t ask. I guess the answer to that is not too horribly badly for a dullish, somewhat over-schooled, hence exaggeratedly privileged middle class male with international work pretensions . . but given the scale and urgency of the problems here in the opening years of this new and environmentally threatened century, not nearly enough. Yet.

In daily life, like most of you I am sure, I try to be pretty energy frugal. I live in a well insulated apartment, turn off lights when I leave the room, am careful about water, no air conditioning, enjoy cool rooms in the winter, sort my garbage, am pretty frugal about buying stuff and certainly am not a new clotheshorse, etc. The usual.

When it comes to getting around in the city, most of my trips are by foot and bike. And our world-level transit system that most cities would die for. The missing piece of my personal new mobility puzzle for now is convenient carsharing and a taxi subscription, which is not quite yet here. I did manage, finally, to get rid of my magnificent if twenty year old Honda station wagon (sob!), and am now trying to learn to live without it. Not easy. Better get on to the carshare folks to work out a new routine. Hmm. This one is going to take some effort. 

But here is my most serious challenge – Air travel. 


Personal choices and practices: Air travel/GHG minimization strategy

From the vantage of supply, since 1993 many of my collaborators and I have been assiduous users in our daily work of videoconferencing and IP group work tools as a travel substitute. . . but really and above all as a work enhancer. We use this not only for the usual one-on-one sessions and exchanges, but also for group meetings and even on quite regular occasions to permit my full participation in conferences held in distance locations. (Click here in case you are not aware of the current state of play in our use of these handy low cost technologies.) Where I think I do fairly well by comparison with many of my esteemed peers is in my systematic avoidance of what I consider to be unnecessary air travel. I have two ways of accomplishing this: think of them as supply and demand management.

On the demand side, my strategies are two. First, I refuse to go to any distant location just for a one or two day conference or whatever. If I am going to go to Bogotá, Bangkok or Bangor, it will not be for just a quick in and out you go visit. I insist that once there, I must stay, work at least one full day on that place’s sustainability agenda, for each hour I spend in an airplane getting there. So ten hours of uncomfortable jet travel to LA, means ten days of work on LA specific problems in areas of my expertise. The advantage of this is that it serves as more TDM, and at the same time permits me to be more useful in my work with colleagues and groups in that place.

But there is another huge advantage from my own personal work and knowledge perspective, and that is when I have a chance to work closely with the people in each of these places, I simply learn a great deal. And I would like to think communicate a lot to them as well. In any event for me it’s a no-brainer and that’s the way it is. (Believe me dear colleagues, it’s the only way to live! You learn so much.)

To reinforce my travel minimization philosophy (and this does not hurt) I request business class travel and first class lodging accommodations when I travel. (If you look at the fare tables to check out these prices you will see how this can be quite effective as a TDM measure all by itself. I always suggest to my clients that they sit down before getting their travel agent’s quote on this.)

How does this work out? Well, when I run my annual Ecological Footprint drill for myself my results suggest that if everyone on the planet behaved as I do, we would need at least another half a planet to serve all of us. Ouch! On the other hand, were I living in say Los Angeles with a life style that goes with the place, we’d need closer to eight planets. Bottom line: slight satisfaction but clearly I can and should do better.



Some Emissions Calculators to test yourself with

  • Climate Care Calculator are a fast growing number of these around now. Here are some of the ones that we have found most useful. Clean up your CO2 emissions quickly and efficiently, just by using one or more of our Carbon Calculators.
  • For all your daily emissions, click through to our Car & Home Calculator. There you can repair your impact on global warming, by offsetting the CO2 you produce driving your car(s) and heating and lighting your home.
  • A return trip from London to New York for one individual, generates more CO2 than driving a family car for 3 months. Air travel is climate-costly, so offset your aviation today using our Air Travel Calculator. Too busy to calculate your offsets? Then just go straight to our new Fixed Offset Options where you’ll find an offset to fit every pocket.
  • Ecological Footprint
    Sustainability means achieving satisfying lives for all within the means of nature – now and in the future. The extent to which we’re using more than nature can provide can be measured with the Ecological Footprint. This information points us to actions that can address fundamental sustainability concerns, and it gives us a way to measure our progress. Check it out and see how you are doing. Happy?
  • Global Footprint
    supports a sustainable economy by promoting the Ecological Footprint, a tool that makes sustainability measurable. We coordinate research and develop methodological standards so that decision makers have robust resource accounts to ensure that we live within the Earth’s budget.



“Getting real”: How to offset your emissions when you have to do it

Some existing Offset Programs you can start to use today:There are two major points we would like to make here. The first is to bring to your attention a handful of websites and programs that you can already use easily to offset your emissions (sins?) when you absolutely have to climb onto that plane. Then, an idea that we should like to explore with you in the weeks ahead about how we might both do this and at the same time use the resources that it brings in to back specific actions, programs and groups that in our view are worthy of support. Let’s start with those already offering off-set arrangements that you can start to use today:

  • The Climate Trust is a leading non-profit organization dedicated to providing solutions to stabilize our rapidly changing climate The Climate Trust Offset Program invests funds received from power plants, businesses, and individuals into projects that offset their GHG emissions>. The Program is aimed at “Large Emitters” (power plants and the like), the “Donate-to-Offset Organizations program” and a parallel program for employees of cooperating organizations .
    Climate Trust is a US based non-profit, and the income received from the various offers is invested into their project portfolio which includes: energy efficiency, renewable energy, cogeneration, transportation efficiency, and reforestation projects.
  • “Sustainable Travel International now offers MyClimate™, “a service that reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Through the MyClimate™ program, travelers, corporations, travel service providers, and academic institutions can take concrete action to fight climate change by investing in WWF-certified carbon offset projects that help to neutralize the negative impacts of their air and ground travel.” They also have a ” Travelers’ Philanthropy” program. Otherwise they have their own carbon calculator for estimating the necessary offsets, and a choice of WWF approved projects for your money.
  • The CarbonNeutral Company maintains a number of carbon offset and forestry projects, and has its own range ofCarbon Calculators to work out your personal emissions. They also have a simple CarbonNeutral Citizen’s program which gives you an opportunity to make an annual donation that will go at least part way to compensate for your life style choices. In their cases the money received for charitable donations has been directed, for the past three years, towards Transparency International’s Forestry Integrity Network, which campaigns against bribery and corruption in management and exploitation of the world’s natural resources.
  • Climate Care offers organizations and individuals a way to reduce their impact on global warming. It sells carbon offsets on the one hand while funding and managing projects on the other. They also have an ingenious Fixed Offsets program which allows you to pay by credit card for your calculated life style emissions.

So let’s see how this last one might guide me for that round trip flight from Paris to Sydney. I first turn to their Air Travel Calculator, which informs me that my round trip is going to generate close to five tons of CO2, for which my “offset” costs according to their calculation is on the order of 31 Pounds Sterling (roughly $55). Okay. I then click to make a secure payment through the credit card and currency of my choice — and bingo I have paid for my latest eco-sin.

Of course, if we possibly can, the best is simply not to take that next flight without giving it serious thought, and otherwise be reasonably carbon-modest with all that entails. But if you for some reason are caught this time, then please consider making a contribution to the offset program of your choice. You can be sure that this extra amount of awareness is in time going to pay off. So you are already making an important first step.

Note: All of these programs offer certificates or other forms of recognition for your good civic behavior. Good on you but is that enough? According to my back of the envelop calculations, far from it. To be “sustainable” we would have to multiply that by some very large number indeed. Try it. It will have some interesting effects.


Ten Practical Suggestions for Limiting Your Carbon Emissions – Travel & Transport *

  1. Calculate your own carbon dioxide emissions: find out how much you are contributing to global warming. In order to obtain a fairly reliable figure, use a carbon calculator (see below).
  2. Drastically reduce or stop flying: it is the most damaging means of travel per kilometre and is associated with long-distance journeys.
  3. Get rid of your car if you can calculate how much money you would save.
  4. Buy the most fuel efficient car if you have to have one, but use it sparingly. Get a gas-powered car (or convert your car to gas): it is cheaper to run and emits less carbon dioxide. You may be able to get a government grant to do so.
  5. Change your driving habits: restrict your speed (driving at 70 mph uses 30% more energy than at 50 mph), use higher gears as soon as traffic conditions allow, and don’t run your engine when stationary. Service your car regularly and keep tyre pressures up. If you have air conditioning, limit its use.
  6. Move closer to your work or choose a job closer to your home, and work from home, whenever possible
  7. Change your other travel patterns: cycle or walk for local trips. (It will also improve your health and fitness.) Use local shops and services, select local schools, take holidays close to home, and use the bus rather than drive.
  8. Get your local schools, colleges and public services to produce green travel plans to discourage long-distance commuting, to promote cycling, walking and bus use, and to car pool and share a ride whenever possible
  9. Spread the word: tell people what you are doing to prevent climate change and why you are doing it, and encourage them to do likewise.
  10. Join an environmental pressure group with a good track record in influencing politicians on critical issues such as taking steps to restrict fuel use dramatically.

*.Adapted with permission from Mayer Hillman (with Tina Fawcett) How we can save the planet, Penguin Books, 2004


# # #

Eric Britton
13, rue Pasteur. Courbevoie 92400 France

Bio: Founding editor of World Streets (1988), Eric Britton is an American political scientist, teacher, occasional consultant, and sustainability activist who has observed, learned, taught and worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. In the autumn of 2019, he committed his remaining life work to the challenges of aggressively countering climate change and specifically greenhouse gas emissions emanating from the mobility sector. He is not worried about running out of work. Further background and updates: @ericbritton | | #fekbritton | | and | Contact: | +336 508 80787 (Also WhatApp) | Skype: newmobility.)

View complete profile


It was there all the time: Putting shared transport to work. * Share Transport 2010 – Conference in Kaohsiung, ROC *

The all but invisible (unless you were looking for it) trend behind true sustainability in the transport sector is . . . sharing. We now know that the only way to significantly reduce the CO2 load of our transportation arrangements is through corresponding reductions in motorized traffic (VMT/VKT). Which means efficiently getting more people and goods in those vehicles still plying the road. And to do this well, we need to learn a lot more about sharing.

Kaohsiung 2010 Conference plan in brief

The objective of this International Conference – the first of its kind — is to examine the concept of shared transport (as opposed to individual ownership) from a multi-disciplinary perspective, with a strong international and Chinese-speaking contingent. The goal of this event is to bring together leading thinkers and sharing transport practitioners from around Taiwan, Asia and the world, and to provide them with a high profile opportunity to share experience, perspectives, ideas, and recommendations on this important trend.

The concept of shared transport is at once old and new, formal and informal, and one that is growing very fast. However to now attention has focused on the technical details of each project and approach — as opposed to stepping back first to gain a broader understanding of the basic human, societal, and economic trends and realities behind this kind of behavior more generally.

But something important is clearly going on, and the Kaohsiung event will be looking at this carefully, in the hope of providing a broader strategic base for advancing not just the individual shared modes, but the sustainable transport agenda more broadly

Background: Sharing in the 21st century – Will it shape our cities?

After many decades of a single dominant city-shaping transportation pattern – i.e., for those who could afford it: owning and driving our own cars, trucks, motorcycles and bicycles, getting into taxis by ourselves, riding in streets that are designed for cars and not much else — there is considerable evidence accumulating that we have already entered into a world of new mobility practices that are changing the transportation landscape in many ways. It has to do with sharing, as opposed to outright ownership. But strange to say, this trend seems to have escaped the attention of the policymakers in many of the institutions directly concerned.

Largely ignored by the transport policy establishment perhaps but transport sharing is an important trend, one that is already starting to reshape at least parts of some of our cities. It is a movement at the leading edge of our most successful (and wealthiest and livable) cities — not just a watered down or second-rate transport option for the poor.

With this in view, we are setting out to come together to examine not just the qualities (and limitations) of individual shared mobility modes, but also to put this in the broader context of why people share. And why they do not. And in the process to stretch our minds to consider what is needed to move toward a new environment in which people often share rather than necessarily only doing things on their own when it comes to moving around in our cities worldwide.

As a contribution to international understanding in this fast emerging but largely unexplored field, the city of Kaohsiung is organizing, together with an international team from the Chinese Institute of Transport (CIT), the Global New Mobility Project, Megatrans Taiwan, and National Taiwan University, a three-day international conference and brainstorming session to take place from 16 – 18 September 2010, in which a number of people working at the leading edge of these matters will come together, first to examine together the general concept of sharing in the 21st century. And then, once this broader frame and understanding has been established, go on to consider how sharing as an organizational principle is working out in each of the individual mobility modes which are rapidly gaining force in cities around the world.

Sharing in Transport (Quick introduction)

Below is our latest list of the shared transport modes to be considered by the conference. (This list to be prioritized, pruned and consolidated as useful for the conference. Only selected topics will be covered by the formal sessions.)

1. Bikesharing
2. Carsharing (includes both formal and informal arrangements
3. Fleetsharing
4. Ridesharing (carpools, van pools, hitchhiking – organized and informal).
5. Taxi sharing
6. Shared Parking
7. Truck/van sharing (combined delivery, other)
8. Streetsharing 1 (example: BRT streets shared between buses, cyclists, taxis, emergency vehicles)
9. Streetsharing 2 (streets used by others for other (non-transport) reasons as well.)
10. Public space sharing
11. Work place sharing (neighborhood telework centers; virtual offices; co-workplace; hoteling)
12. Sharing SVS (small vehicle systems: DRT, shuttles, community buses, etc.)
13. Cost sharing
14. Time sharing
15. Successful integration of public transport within a shared transport city? Including bus and rail
16. Team sharing
17. Knowledge-sharing (including this conference)

Initial conference details (to be finalized)

Event: Three day international conference and planning workshops

Dates: 16-18 September 2010.

Theme: “It was there all the time: Putting shared transport to work in our cities”

Location: City of Kaohsiung, Taiwan, ROC

Hosts: City of Kaohsiung, with support of the Chinese Institute of Transport and National Taiwan University

• Presenting the leading edge of thinking, policy and practice in this fast emerging field.
• Panel of distinguished international speakers will be joined by Taiwanese and Chinese leaders

• Researchers, city administration, activists, NGOs, students, media, and suppliers to the sector
• From Taiwan, China, South-East Asia and all other interested

Participant questionnaire:
Each participant is invited to fill out a short questionnaire prior to registration, to help the organizers structure the conference and in particular the breakout sessions on the various share modes to serve the needs of the group better. Comments and suggestions are also welcomed, and the organizers commit to answering your communications and questions.

Call for papers: (To follow.)

Poster sessions invitations: (To follow.)

Other events in planning stages:
There are several other closely related events that are to be integrated into the program. While final details are not yet available, but here are several of the events that are presently under discussion:

1. Integrating the meeting with the 2010 Kaohsiung Car Free Day (the seventh in their series since 2003)
2. Ditto for a New Mobility Week presently under discussions.
3. A possible New Mobility Master Class (again focusing on Kaohsiung)
4. Working links to the Taipei Low Carbon Cities program
5. Kids Sharing Channel (Open school project)
6. University Media project:
7. A guided tour program for visitors taking them to key sharing and new mobility projects and cities in both Taiwan and the PRC.

Language: Chinese/English. Full translation of all sessions

Sponsors: Under discussion. Both private and public sector partners being invited to participate.

Conference venue: Garden Villa Kaohsiung –

Media: The program will be media rich, all the way through from using the latest Web, internet, videoconferencing and virtual presence technologies, to extensive use of film and videos to provide a higher impact and more rapid understanding of the principles. Goal is to share conference freely and broadly.

For further information: Contact details just below.

Why Kaohsiung?

The city of Kaohsiung is taking this initiative because it realizes that most of our cities need new thinking and new approaches to resolving the insufficiencies of our present transportation arrangements, theirs included. The city is putting new ideas and real resources into their transport challenges. They have has already introduced one of the first shared bike projects in Asia, are looking into taxi-sharing, have been celebrating Car Free Days since 2003, and are building cycling infrastructure at a steady pace. Carsharing is a new idea for Kaohsiung and visitors will be able to see how they are approaching it as one more shared transport option.

The city has a spanking new metro, but the transport means of choice for about two thirds of all trips is the South Asian special, motorized two wheelers. There is something about “seeing the future” as you observe this striking pattern on the street, and it pushes the mind to consider how to come to grips wiht this new and largely unmapped phenomenon.

So when you come to Kaohsiung for the conference in September, you will also be able to take advantage of a two day new mobility tour of the city’s transportation arrangements, challenges and plans for the future. Planners and policy makers from cities around the world are going to recognize a lot of what they see in Kaohsiung.

The conference materials pack will contain extensive background on and leads to further information on each of these topic areas. To be made available before the meeting convenes.

The conference address is

For more, contact:

For Chinese media, participation, sponsor and administrative contacts:
Susan Lin, Project Leader
Mega Trans International Corporation
Hansheng East Road
Banciao City Taipei County 22066 Taiwan Tel. +886 922 661 235

For meeting logistics, overall organization and UK contacts:
Rory McMullan, Project Manager
PTRC Education and Research Services Ltd.
1 Vernon Mews, Vernon Street,
W14 0RL United Kingdom Tel. +44 (0) 20 7348 1970 Skype: roryer

For matters relating to content, ACOST, speakers, jury and moderating
Eric Britton, Program Chair:
New Mobility Partnerships
The Commons/EcoPlan international
Le Frêne, 8/10 rue Joseph Bara. 75006 Paris, France Tel. +331 4326 1323 Skype: newmobility

Guest editorial: What to do when public transportation fails

Recently the city of Philadelphia, experienced a six day long strike by the local transit authority, SEPTA. Subways and buses stopped operating only hours before the Monday morning rush hour leaving workers scrambling for alternative modes of transportation to get to the office.

– Submitted by Timothy Ericson, CityRyde, Philidelphia, PA USA

The strike also left many school aged children stranded and unable to attend classes. Even non-transit riders were frustrated with huge increases in vehicular traffic on all of the city’s roads and hiways. During the strike period, bicycle ridership skyrocketed in Philadelphia as it was the only option for many commuters to reach their destinations. The strike forced many residents to view the bicycle as a primary form of transportation.

Continue reading

Honk! Ms. Veronica Moss loves cars more than people. (And she is not afraid to say so.)

In the interest of fairness, now that you have heard from a high source about how best to deal with all those common people getting in your way in India’s crowded streets, you now have a chance to spend a few minutes with Ms. Veronica Moss, who has some points to make about the dangers of ceding valuable public space to ordinary people in the middle of New York City.

Just in today from our friends at StreetFilms in New York. In their words:

Veronica Moss Visits Times Square

by Clarence Eckerson, Jr. on November 16, 2009 |

Continue reading

Honk! Quite incredible they would fall for this. (More on anti-social advertising in old mobility)

It is a rare day when anyone gets the matters which concern us all here quite as wrong as our friends from Bosch have it here. (One of a series of particularly egregious advertising abuses on the part of certain old mobility purveyors who just do not seem to be able to resist the temptation.)
Continue reading

World leaders in Singapore back off from COP15 targets. Now what?

This is at least a double tragedy: a tragedy for our planet, and a tragedy for our ability to govern ourselves wisely. And in all this, the concept of sustainable transport is also a victim — because the linkage of transportation system reform to climate considerations is just about the most powerful argument for rapid change we have.

Singapore, Nov. 15 (UPI) — World leaders in Singapore backed off Saturday from a goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by roughly half by 2050.

Instead, leaders at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting approved a preliminary climate-change document that eliminated targets for emissions cuts.

A first draft of the document had called for a 50 percent drop from 1990 levels of greenhouse emissions by 2050, The Times of London said.

But that language was removed and the document was revised to say “we believe that global emissions will need to peak over the next few years, and be substantially reduced by 2050, recognizing that the time frame for peaking will be longer in developing economies.


# # #

Now what?

Well, no one can say that we here at World Streets are really surprised. We have over the last months — as the record amply shows here: — persistently and perhaps at times irritatingly warned of just this, and tried to do what we can to spark this debate and tighten the transport/climate link. Which is after all a very real one, and one which we can do something about.

Look, you and I know a couple of important truths in all this: The transport sector represents something like twenty percent of the GHG problem. And beyond that, the reality is – if you are prepared to dig deep — that ours is the sector that is probably most amenable to mnassive rapid change. Because we know exactly what we need to do – drive down the quantum of mechanized travel (VMT/VKT) with impacting negatively on either quality of life or the economy.

And that is a challenge of the politics of transportation and behind that leadership and communication. That’s all there is to it. How complicated can that be?

Our goal, our primary objective here at World Streets is to see if we can do our bit to develop and support a strong consensus for at least talking about such an approach. But so far so bad.

Until now we continue to be smothered by a combination of inertia and indifference on the one hand, and the fact that those powerful lobbies that are doing pretty well in a no-change or slow-change scenario are continuing to dominate pubic policy and the media. They are extremely cagey and advance theri cause with huge budgets and excellent communications skills (and I am sorry to say most effectively thus far).

But that’s not the worst of it. Even, if you look carefully, many of our best environmental organizations and others in power, who should be rejecting the facility and the vacuity of this approach, you will see that their agenda, at the end of the day, accepts this go slow approach.

Now that’s a real problem because: “Go slow” equals “give up”.

How are we going to make our voices heard? We have to be more ambitious, more confident, and more effective. Think about it. This may be our only shot.

What about this? One city, one project, one person, one step at a time. That we can do.

Eric Britton

Editor, World Streets, Paris

Archives: Sonnet for the Neighborhood Democratic Caucus. In Honor of Kenneth Ewart Boulding

Paris. Nov. 1994: Kenneth Boulding, 1909-1993, was one of the magisterial figures in the field of social science of the second half of the twentieth century. In the last two years of his life, he took to writing sonnets, 216 in all between 1981 and 1993. We have taken one of these to sound the theme for our collaborative knowledge-building enterprise here on World Streets: “how to turn a heterogeneous caucus into a choir, singing the same good song, So, to democracy all should be turning When it is not just voting, but group learning.”

Sonnet for the Neighborhood Democratic Caucus

They come — a somewhat miscellaneous group
Of people gathered from the neighborhood.
Some may be naive — some are fairly good
At jumping through the somewhat twisted hoop
Of politics — not getting in the soup
Of disagreement, finding where they stood
On touchy issues that might mean they could
Lose the election; learning when to stoop,

And when to stand against a blatant wrong,
When to be quiet, when a little raucous,
And how to turn a heterogeneous caucus
Into a choir, singing the same good song,

So, to democracy all should be turning
When it is not just voting, but group learning.

– Kenneth Boulding, Boulder, Colorado, 14 April 1992

Who was Kenneth Boulding?

Professor Boulding was internationally known for his innovative and sensitive work in the field of economics, Along with the presidency of five other major scholarly societies, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science ,he was elected as president of the American Economics Association. He taught at universities on three continents, wrote more than thirty significant books and hundreds of articles, pamphlets and papers, and was awarded numerous honors for his work not only as an economist pushing the forefront of his profession, but also as a humanist, futures thinker and major activist in the field of peace and conflict resolution.

Ken Boulding was a profoundly democratic man, a Quaker (the Society of Friends), a loving and diligent work partner with his wife, the eminent Norwegian-born sociologist Dr. Elise Boulding, and both a worrier (about our ability to survive the challenges of the modern world) and an optimist (he decided to dedicate his life to doing something about it anyway).

Books in Print by Kenneth Boulding

The following lists the available titles of books by Ken Boulding from Books in Print. They can be ordered through your local book dealer which is what I am sure he would have preferred) or of course any of the booksellers that ply the net.

• The Future: Images & Processes
• The Future: Images & Prophecies
• National Images & International Systems
• Structure Of A Modern Economy
• There Is A Spirit: The Nayless Sonnets $4.50
• Toward A New Economics
• Three Faces Of Power
• Conflict And Defense
• Economics As A Science
• Meaning Of The 20th Century
• Beyond The Bomb
• Mending The World: Quaker insights on the social order
• Economics Of Human Betterment
• The World As A Total System
• The Organizational Revolution: A Study In The Ethics Of Economic Organization
• Preface To Grants Economics
• Evolutionary Economics
• Disarmament And The Economy
• Ecodynamics: A New Theory Of Societal Evolution
• Redistribution Through The Financial System
• Stable Peace
• Economics Of Peace
• Peace And The War Industry
• Mayer Boulding Dialogue On Peace Research
• The Evolutionary Potential Of Quakerism
• The Image: Knowledge In Life And Society
• New Nations For Old
• Collected Papers Of Kenneth E. Boulding
– – – – –
# # #

Editor – Late night thoughts:

Late last night as I was tossing, turning and thinking about how we are going to be able to find a way to continue World Streets, my thoughts turned to Ken Boulding, who in his latter years also had his active mind at times keeping him up in the middle of the night. What he did often on those occasions was to click on the bedside lamp, pick up a pen and quietly write notes — but also from time to time one more of his several hundred sonnets, including the one you can see here. (His dear wife, Elise Boulding, told me about this when I called to ask her permission concerning the following.)

It was back in late 1994, one year after Professor Boulding’s death, when we were just cranking up the first iteration of our collaborative web presence (see, that I decided to seek permission to dedicate the first year of our new worldwide group learning enterprise and “somewhat miscellaneous group” in honor of Professor Boulding, whose work had marked me deeply back in the days when I was something of an economist stretching for new ideas and clues about why people do the things they do. I contacted his wife, Mrs. Elise Boulding, who kindly gave me permission to do just that.

Today, fifteen full years later and at a time when competence in matters of world peace and conflict resolution have rarely been so important, his poem, his work and his example come to mind. “To democracy all should be turning. When it is not just voting, but group learning.”

That sounds to me much like what you, dear reader, and we are trying to do here. And you will I am sre agree: we have to try a lot harder. This is a challenge we should not fail.

Eric Britton, Paris

Cycling your brain (It really could use a bit of fresh air)

Have you noticed? Just about all of the planning and decision making in our underperforming, all too often dysfunctional sector is terribly familiar. Priorities are set, terms of references written up, responsibilities defined, teams created, schedules posted, instructions issued, tools identified and applied, observations made, meetings arranged, reports written, recommendations communicated and the whole process grinds ahead to its inevitable destination – more often than not, bingo: old mobility! But if you look closely, the very mechanism, the process, is pretty much the same we were seeing back in the middle of the last century when we were planning and implementing many of the messes we now find ourselves in. Hmm.

So the moral of the story is that we need to take some very different approaches to identifying and then to starting to resolve the most pressing of our problems.

There are some out there, fortunately, and here is one you might wish to spend at least a few minutes with. They call it the NewMasterdam Bike Slam, and back in mid August as it was forming up we announced it here .

Well the Slam has been run, and the ocean spanning organizers have just completed a small illustrated booklet that sets out some of the process, as well as some of the recommendations they came up with. Here is more on that, together with the link so that you can review their results.

Their announcement, just in today:

Booklet on the New Amsterdam Bike Slam
While the Bike Slam teams were hard at work, leading experts from urban planning and design, transportation policy, cultural anthropology, and advocacy gathered on September 11 at the Center for Architecture to discuss “Global Trends in Sustainable Transportation Policy,” especially as they pertain to New York City.

Throughout the day, the primarily American audience was treated to perspectives from a multitude of exceptional speakers who offered opinions wide and varied, including how Dutch cities integrate economic benefits with the planning of space; population groups who are harbingers for significant mode shift (women and elderly); and the strong connections between growing cycling and lowering carbon emissions. Perhaps most inspiring is the consistent theme that benchmarks are not indications for achievement and mark the end of the project, but are markers for improvements and going further.

Special guests of the day included Christopher Ward, Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and Janette Sadik- Khan, New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner.

# # #

Download the booklet here. –

Keep on peddling. It will only do you good.

Sixteen practical things you can start to do today to combat climate change, get around in style & meet some nice people

After many decades of a single dominant city-shaping transportation pattern (i.e., old mobility) — there is considerable evidence accumulating that we have already entered into a world of new mobility practices that are changing the transportation landscape in many ways. It has to do with sharing, as opposed to outright ownership. An important pattern that is thus far escaping notice at the top.

“On the whole, you find wealth more in use than in ownership.”
– Aristotle. ca. 350 BC

Sharing in the 21st century. Will it shape our cities?

After many decades of a single dominant city-shaping transportation pattern – i.e., for those who could afford it: owning and driving our own cars, trucks, motorcycles and bicycles, getting into taxis by ourselves, riding in streets that are designed for cars and not much else (i.e., old mobility) — there is considerable evidence accumulating that we have already entered into a world of new mobility practices that are changing the transportation landscape in many ways. It has to do with sharing, as opposed to outright ownership. But strange to say, this trend seems to have escaped the attention of the policymakers in many of the places and institutions directly concerned.

However transport sharing is an important trend, one that is already starting to reshape at least parts of some of our cities. It is a movement at the leading edge of our most successful (and often wealthiest and most livable) cities — not just a watered down or second-rate transport option for the poor. With this in view, we are setting out to examine not just the qualities (and limitations) of individual shared mobility modes, but also to put this in the broader context of why people share. And why they do not. And in the process to stretch our minds to consider what is needed to move toward a new environment in which people often share rather than necessarily only doing things on their own when it comes to moving around in our cities worldwide.

Sixteen sharing options you may wish to give some thought to:

1. Bikesharing

2. Carsharing (formal and informal)

3. Fleetsharing

4. Ridesharing (carpools, van pools, hitchhiking, slugging – organized and informal).

5. School share (Walking school bus, walk/bike to school)

6. Taxi sharing

7. Shared Parking

8. Truck/van sharing (combined delivery, other)

9. Streetsharing (example: BRT streets shared between buses, cyclists, taxis, emergency vehicles)

10. Activity sharing (streets used by others for other (non-transport) reasons as well.)

11. Public space sharing

12. Workplace sharing (neighborhood telework centers; virtual offices; co-workplace; hoteling)

13. Sharing SVS (small vehicle systems: DRT, shuttles, community buses, etc.)

14. Time sharing

15. Successful integration of public transport within a shared transport city (Including bus and rail)

16. Knowledge-sharing (including via World Streets)

For more:

1. Lyon Conference: If you want to learn more about this, consider going to Lyon France for their conference on transport sharing later this month (30 November, in French) –
And while you are there, you can do worse to spend some time to see how they are progressing on the sharing front themselves: bikesharing and carsharing are both in place and doing well. And if you keep your eyes open you will see more.

2. Kaohsiung Conference: Or next September think about coming to Kaohsiung Taiwan for their first International Conference on Sharing Transport – see . Again, a city that is already into bike sharing and looking hard at taxi sharing, among others.

3. You: And tell the world about your events, papers, media, accomplishments, problems and your ideas.

4. Us: And stay tuned to World Streets. We do sharing.

5. And now a few words from our sponsor. (30 seconds)

Pedal Power Doc on Sharing: Quick interview with Eric Britton
from Cogent Benger on Vimeo.

Cars like cigarettes? NoAuto calls for immediate limitations on car advertising in Italy

World Streets is by no means an anti-car paper. However if you follow us you may have noticed that we have some pretty developed ideas as to fewer cars, slower cars, and, when we have them on the road, with more people in each of them. But above all, more choices for all. At the same time we keep an eye on friends like NoAuto in Italy, who are pushing for tighter controls on automobile advertisements. (And who in their right mind can argue with that?)

The following text represents a loose translation of the introduction to an article which appeared in our sister publication, Nuova Mobilità – – on Tuesday. After this short introduction you will be able to click to the original posting in Italian or to a machine translation in English.

From NoAuto:

Over the years we have become accustomed to seeing television and other public advertisements showing cars in situations that are at least improbable, often dangerous, and certainly not appropriate for a sane and responsible society.

But can advertising policy and practices be redefined so as not to be misleading and frankly dangerous?

Yes it can. There are already limitations on advertising for other unsafe products such as cigarettes, dictated by the importance of protecting public health. Why not introduce similar limitations for publicity for cars?

Certainly when it comes to talking publicly and commercially about what is perceived as the most “common” means of transport, at least in the minds of many people in the Western world, we will do well to learn some of the lessons from the various campaign around the world which over the last decade have created significant constraints on advertising for (and public use of) cigarettes and other noxious tobacco products.

The benefits resulting in a decrease in cigarette consumption are widely recognized and now after years of work on the part of medical and public health interests accepted –while those arising from a change of travel behavior are in the collective imagination, at least thus far, counterbalanced by an alleged decline in the quality of life. This of course is sheer nonsense.

For this reason the non-profit Italian public interest group NoAuto, Association for Alternative Urban Mobility, is announcing a campaign to introduce specific limits on car advertising . It is hope that this could at the same time to boost publicity and reflection on more responsible products, services and strategies relating to the field of New Mobility.

The following is the statement of NoAuto’s call for creation of a firm public policy concerning responsible advertising of cars.

* For the original Italian text, please click to

* For a quick machine translation into English –

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NoAuto is an Italian public interest association promoting a system of mobility alternatives to the car: MORE public transport, safety for walking and cycling, decreased congestion and pollution, reconquest of urban space, healthier lives, are among the objectives. Their weekly paper hosts a regular feature of the association.


Transportation, Sharing and Sustainable Development : Conference in Lyon, France. 30 Nov. 2009

Our entire and often disputatious new mobility family members agree on some things, less on others. But one important, even central point that we keep coming back to is the growing importance of sharing in transportation – as opposed to necessarily having to own everything you move around in. But it is one thing to do it, and quite another to know what you are doing. Which is what the Lyon meeting is all about.

On November 30th a consortium of French university and transport groups and agencies are organizing a one day meeting in Lyon under the title “Modes partagés et mobilité durable” which is bringing together experts from Canada, Switzerland, the US and France reporting on carsharing, bikesharing and ridesharing.

* For full conference details (in French) click to

Here is our loose translation of the opening statement:

The concerns of sustainable development continue to grow. And there is not a day that the transport sector is not singled out as a critical contributor to the mounting problems of pollution, consumption of nonrenewable resources, public health or safety.

At the same time different approaches are emerging to contribute to the achievement of more sustainable transport, including the development of alternatives to the more typical transportation arrangements long favored by planners and policy makers in the past. Shared modes such as carsharing (car clubs), ridesharing (car and van pools) and self-service shared bicycles (PBS or public bicycle systems) are among these emerging alternatives, and are opening up new ways to travel, new ownership arrangements, and new modal choices.

Although shared transport modes are increasingly present on the street and in political discourse aimed at promoting more sustainable transport behavior, there are as yet few tools to allow us to properly assess their contribution. Almost everywhere, carsharing schemes, shared bicycles or preferential measures to favor ridesharing are being implanted, but more often than not without having well structured understanding of their market potential, the condition necessary to favor their success, or an objective assessment of their role in the global transportation system of an agglomeration.

The November 30 meeting in Lyon will be looking at these issues with presentations by scientific experts, operators and politicians. Full information is available on the meeting here (in French).

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World Streets, the New Mobility Agenda and many of our partners and colleagues worldwide are highly interested in the concept and the reality of sharing, and you will continue to see extensive coverage of projects, programs, and events which can help us better understand this important sustainable transport tool. Stay tuned.

A COP15 Reader and Resource

If you have a morning to spend researching the state of the art and opinion on the forthcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009 in Copenhagen (COP15), you may wish to have a look at the collection of 170 key resources called up by our Knoogle (KNOwledge + goOGLE) combined search engine.

If you click here to you will see the results.

For the record, Knoogle New Mobility 1.1 is the first iteration of a power search engine developed by the New Mobility Agenda in cooperation with the SMART program of the University of Michigan, and specifically tailored to help policy makers, local government, researchers, NGOs, activists, consultants, concerned citizens and the media keep up efficiently with the work and activities of the leading international groups, programs and sources leading the field of sustainable transport and sustainable cities worldwide.

Knoogle is being developed as part of a project in which we are looking into ways to create tighter linkages and better coordination between the fast expanding number of programs and agencies that are concerned with issues of sustainable transportation, climate, environment, etc. For full background on this project in process click to And if you wish to get involved or contribute in any way please get in touch.

The current version of Knoogle (1.2) searches a total of 618 carefully selected sites and sources that have been carefully chosen to provide leading edge coverage of developments and news in the specific area of sustainable transport and new mobility. (For the record, full Google search for COP14 calls up more than 167,000 sources. A bit more than a morning’s work.)

You can also review World Streets complete coverage of COP15 b clicking to

"Boys will be boys." And why it is important to change this now

Editorial: In the triple nexus that is the defining concern of World Streets – namely, mobility, land use and climate – we have to be ready to take stock and face up to the reality that most of the problems we face today in each of these areas are the result of the domination of an “old order”, a certain way of seeing and doing things. What have we got wrong? What can we do about it? And what might this mean to COP15 and beyond? Continue reading

COP15? One thing that can change the debate right now!

To make a significant difference in COP15 . . . what is the ONE BASIC THING we could do right now to change the game, the rules, so that our planet has a reasonable chance. Something deep and fundamental. Something that upsets the old order that has failed us for so long. Continue reading

Lester Brown: "International agreements take too long. We only have months, not years, to save civilisation"

World Streets is not the only one deeply apprehensive about the outcome of COP15. Lester Brown, Founder and President of the Earth Policy Institute, and a friend and colleague of many years, was interviewed by the Guardian yesterday, and since he cuts so close to the chase on the climate emergency issues which provide the metric for our high concern about immediate-term transportation reform, we reproduce it here in full.

Source: Countdown to Copenhagen. The Guardian. 3 Nov. 2009

We only have months, not years, to save civilisation from climate change

International agreements take too long, we need a swift mobilisation not seen since the second world war

For those concerned about global warming, all eyes are on December’s UN climate change conference in Copenhagen. The stakes could not be higher. Almost every new report shows that the climate is changing even faster than the most dire projections of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in their 2007 report.

Yet from my vantage point, internationally negotiated climate agreements are fast becoming obsolete for two reasons. First, since no government wants to concede too much compared with other governments, the negotiated goals for cutting carbon emissions will almost certainly be minimalist, not remotely approaching the bold cuts that are needed.

And second, since it takes years to negotiate and ratify these agreements, we may simply run out of time. This is not to say that we should not participate in the negotiations and work hard to get the best possible result. But we should not rely on these agreements to save civilisation.

Saving civilisation is going to require an enormous effort to cut carbon emissions. The good news is that we can do this with current technologies, which I detail in my book, Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization.

Plan B aims to stabilise climate, stabilise population, eradicate poverty, and restore the economy’s natural support systems. It prescribes a worldwide cut in net carbon emissions of 80% by 2020, thus keeping atmospheric CO2 concentrations from exceeding 400 parts per million (ppm) in an attempt to hold temperature rise to a minimum. The eventual plan would be to return concentrations to 350 ppm, as agreed by the top US climate scientist at Nasa, James Hansen, and Rajendra Pachauri, head of the IPCC.

In setting this goal we did not ask what would be politically popular, but rather what it would take to have a decent shot at saving the Greenland ice sheet and at least the larger glaciers in the mountains of Asia. By default, this is a question of food security for us all.

Fortunately for us, renewable energy is expanding at a rate and on a scale that we could not have imagined even a year ago. In the United States, a powerful grassroots movement opposing new coal-fired power plants has led to a de facto moratorium on their construction. This movement was not directly concerned with international negotiations. At no point did the leaders of this movement say that they wanted to ban new coal-fired power plants only if Europe does, if China does, or if the rest of the world does. They moved ahead unilaterally knowing that if the United States does not quickly cut carbon emissions, the world will be in trouble.

For clean and abundant wind power, the US state of Texas (long the country’s leading oil producer) now has 8,000MW of wind generating capacity in operation, 1,000MW under construction, and a huge amount in development that together will give it more than 50,000MWof wind generating capacity (think 50 coal-fired power plants). This will more than satisfy the residential needs of the state’s 24 million people.

And though many are quick to point a finger at China for building a new coal-fired power plant every week or so, it is working on six wind farm mega-complexes with a total generating capacity of 105,000 megawatts. This is in addition to the many average-sized wind farms already in operation and under construction.

Solar is now the fastest growing source of energy. A consortium of European corporations and investment banks has announced a proposal to develop a massive amount of solar thermal generating capacity in north Africa, much of it for export to Europe. In total, it could economically supply half of Europe’s electricity.

We could cite many more examples. The main point is that the energy transition from fossil fuels to renewables is moving much faster than most people realise, and it can be accelerated.

The challenge is how to do it quickly. The answer is a wartime mobilisation, not unlike the US effort on the country’s entry into the second world war, when it restructured its industrial economy not in a matter of decades or years, but in a matter of months. We don’t know exactly how much time remains for such an effort, but we do know that time is running out. Nature is the timekeeper but we cannot see the clock.

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You may find some interest in the comments which follow his piece which you can call up at the end of the Guardian pieces at

Lester R Brown is president of Earth Policy Institute and author of Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization. He can be contacted at

Editor’s note:

While the focus and approach of World Streets and the New Mobility/Climate Emergency Project behind it, is quite different from the views set out above, we certainly do share Mr. Brown’s sense of high urgency. And some considerable despondence concerning what is likely to come out of Copenhagen.

Not that there are not going to be many people and groups working very hard to secure come kind of reasonable outcomes, but as we tried to point out in our editorial on this of 26 October, “Winning the World Climate Game: Brainwork challenge“, this is clearly a situation in which the ball (that is our planetary problem) is bigger than the court (our problem-solving mechanism, frame). So somebody better get out there and start to redraw the lines. (Stay tuned.)