A first look at carsharing in Croatia: World Streets Annual Country Reviews

Carsharing, a different way of owning and using a car — wherever you find it certainly got started one day with a stray thought, a dream even, often as not in the head of one person. Someone stuck in a car or sitting in a sidewalk café, looking at the traffic and letting their mind wander, and who then starts to talk about the idea. Then all you have to do is come back a year or two later and, if we are all very lucky, you may see that this idle thought has taken a few steps toward reality. Let us have a look at how the concept is just starting to unfold in Croatia, a country under attack from rapid, aggressive and utterly unthought-out automobilization. Carsharing. . . ?
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Victoria Transport Policy Institute Winter 2010 Newsletter

This carefully compiled seasonal report from Todd Litman of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute is a fine tool and up to date source guide for researchers and policy makers worldwide. We are pleased to present it in its entirety here, together with references you will find handy to take these entries further. Thanks for your continuing fine work Todd.


News from the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, Winter 2010 Vol. 13, No. 1

The Victoria Transport Policy Institute is an independent research organization dedicated to developing innovative solutions to transportation problems. The VTPI website (http://www.vtpi.org) has many resources addressing a wide range of transport planning and policy issues.
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Editor’s note:
All of the content of the extensive VTPI site including their extremely useful Online TDM Encyclopedia — http://www.vtpi.org/tdm/index.php — can be conveniently searched using the special New Mobility Knoogle Combined Search Engine that you will find in the left column here, which scans the content of the close to two hundred carefully selected Key Sources, Links and Blogs. You can also access it here direct by clicking http://tinyurl.com/knoogle-WS-key-sources

New Documents
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“Raise My Taxes, Please! Evaluating Household Savings From High Quality Public Transit” ( http://www.vtpi.org/raisetaxes.pdf )
High quality public transit consists of service sufficiently convenient and comfortable to attract travel that would otherwise be by automobile. This paper uses data from U.S. cities to investigate the incremental costs and benefits of high quality transit service. The analysis indicates that high quality public transit typically requires about $268 annually per capita in additional tax subsidy and $104 in additional fares, but provides vehicle, parking and road cost savings averaging $1,040 per capita, plus other benefits including congestion reductions, increased traffic safety, pollution reductions, improved mobility for non-drivers, improved fitness and health. This indicates that residents should rationally support tax increases if needed to create high quality public transit systems in their communities. Current planning practices tend to overlook or undervalue many of these savings and benefits and so result in underinvestment in transit quality improvements.

“Parking Pricing Implementation Guidelines: How More Efficient Pricing Can Help Solve Parking Problems, Increase Revenue, And Achieve Other Planning Objectives” ( http://www.vtpi.org/parkpricing.pdf )
Efficient parking pricing can provide numerous benefits including increased turnover and therefore improved user convenience, parking facility cost savings, reduced traffic problems, and increased revenues. This report provides guidance on parking pricing implementation. It describes parking pricing benefits and costs, ways to overcome common obstacles and objections, and examples of successful parking pricing programs. Parking pricing is best implemented as part of an integrated parking management program. Current trends are increasing the benefits of efficient parking pricing. Legitimate objections to parking pricing can be addressed with appropriate policies and strategies.

Updated Documents
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“Where We Want To Be: Home Location Preferences And Their Implications For Smart Growth” ( http://www.vtpi.org/sgcp.pdf )

“The Future Isn’t What It Used To Be” (http://www.vtpi.org/future.pdf

“Evaluating Public Transit Benefits and Costs” ( http://www.vtpi.org/tranben.pdf )

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Published Elsewhere
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“Evaluating Carbon Taxes As An Energy Conservation And Emission Reduction Strategy,” Transportation Research Record 2139, Transportation Research Board (www.trb.org), pp. 125-132; at http://www.vtpi.org/carbontax.pdf
Carbon taxes are based on fossil fuel carbon content, and therefore tax carbon dioxide emissions. This paper evaluates British Columbia’s carbon tax, introduced in 2008. It reflects key carbon tax principles: it is broad, gradual, predictable, and structured to assist low-income people. Revenues are returned to residents and businesses in ways that protect the lowest income households. It supports economic development by encouraging energy conservation which keeps money circulating within the regional economy.

“Transportation Policy and Injury Control” Injury Prevention, Vol. 15, Issue 6, 2009. ( http://injuryprevention.bmj.com/content/15/6/362.full )
This short article describes a paradigm shift occurring in the field of transport planning, and its implications for traffic safety. The old paradigm assumed that “transportation” means automobile travel. The new paradigm recognizes a wider range of options and planning objectives.

“The VMT Reduction Target Debate: Will This Get Us Where We Want to Go?” TRB Annual Meeting session video recording ( http://www.bethereglobal.com/trb_2010/shop/index.php?searchstring=litman&showresult=true&exp=0&resultpage=&categories=off&msg=&search=index.php&shop=1 ).

“Complete Streets” (EIP-25), Planners Advisory Service Essential Information Packets ( http://www.planning.org/pas/infopackets/#25 ), American Planning Association ($30)
Complete streets accommodate all users. Over the past several years, communities across the country have embraced a complete streets approach to the planning, design, construction, and operation of new transportation facilities. In this Essential Info Packet, PAS compiled a variety of articles, reports, and other resources detailing best practices for planning and building complete streets, including the VTPI “Introduction to Multi-Modal Transportation Planning: Principles and Practices.”

Recent Planetizen Blogs ( http://www.planetizen.com/blog/2394 ):
* “Raise My Taxes, Please! Financing High Quality Public Transit Service Saves Me Money Overall”
* “Carfree Design Manual”
* “Accessibility, Mobility and Automobile Dependency”
“Report from TRB”
“Fun With Research: Higher Fuel Prices Increase Economic Productivity”

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Current Projects
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Canadian Tax Exempt Transit and Cycling Benefits
“Cost Estimate of Proposed Amendments to the Income Tax Act to Exempt Certain Employer-Provided Transportation Benefits from Taxable Income” ( http://www2.parl.gc.ca/Sites/PBO-DPB/documents/Costing_C-466_EN.pdf ).
Proposed Canadian legislation C-466 would exempt from income taxes employer-provided commuter benefits up to $1,800 annually for transit and park-and-ride expenses, and $250 for cycling expenses. This study evaluated the fiscal impacts of this legislation. It concluded that net tax revenue foregone would be negligible overall, and the reduced vehicle traffic should provide economic benefits leading to increased productivity and therefore tax revenues.

To support this legislation send letters to:
Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance
21st Floor, 110 O’Connor Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0G5
A model letter is available at http://www.vtpi.org/files/C466.doc .

Drive Less, Pay Less: Pay-As-You-Drive Auto Insurance Performance Standard ( http://www.ceres.org/Page.aspx?pid=1157 )
VTPI is working with a coalition of transportation and environmental organizations to develop a Pay-As-You-Drive (PAYD) vehicle insurance performance standard to help regulators, insurers and consumers identify truly effective PAYD policies. This standard defines specific requirements for policies to achieve Bronze, Silver and Gold ratings. For more information see http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mindy-s-lubber/drive-less-pay-less-win-w_b_391373.html .

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Upcoming Events
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“Multi-modal Transportation Economic Evaluation: Cut Costs and Improve Mobility” at the Urban Transportation Summit, Toronto 3 March 2010 ( http://www.strategyinstitute.com/030210_uts8/dsp.php )

“Parking Innovation Workshop” at the American Planning Association Annual Meeting, New Orleans, 11 April 2010 ( http://www.planning.org/conference/program/search/activity.htm?ActivityID=138154 ).

“Smart Driving: Evaluating Mobility Management” at the Edmonton International Conference on Urban Traffic Safety, 28 April 2010 ( http://www.trafficsafetyconference.com ).

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Useful Resources
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“Preventive Medicine; Special Supplement on Active Communities for Youth and Families: Using Research to Create Momentum for Change,” Vol. 50, Supplement 1, January 2010; at ( http://www.activelivingresearch.org/resourcesearch/journalspecialissues ). This special, free journal issue contains articles describing new research on the relationships between land use policy, urban design, travel activity (walking, cycling, transit and vehicle travel), body weight and health outcomes.

“Bicycling and Walking in the U.S.: 2010 Benchmarking Report” (www.peoplepoweredmovement.org/site/index.php/site/memberservices/C529.
This comprehensive study by the Alliance for Biking & Walking reveals that in almost every state and major U.S. city, bicyclists and pedestrians are at a disproportionate risk of being killed, and receive less than their fair share of transportation dollars. While 10% of U.S. trips are by bike or foot, and 13% of traffic fatalities are bicyclists and pedestrians, yet biking and walking receive less than 2% of federal transportation dollars. The report indicates that states with the lowest levels of biking and walking have, on average, the highest rates of obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. International comparisons indicate that the U.S. investments less in biking and walking and has less biking and walking activity than its peers.

“Integrating Bicycling and Public Transport in North America” by John Pucher and Ralph Buehler, Journal of Public Transportation, Vol. 12, No. 3, 2009, pp. 79-104; at http://www.nctr.usf.edu/jpt/pdf/JPT12-3Pucher.pdf.

“Child and Youth Friendly Land Use and Transport Planning: Guidelines and Literature Review” ( http://www.kidsonthemove.ca ) is developing guidelines for municipal transportation and land-use planners as tools to create communities that meet the needs of children and youth – and everyone else.

“Abu Dhabi Urban Street Design Manual” ( http://nelsonnygaard.com/Documents/Reports/Abu-Dhabi-StreetDesignManual.pdf )
This innovative Manual provides guidance to planners and designers on ways to create more walkable communities. It introduces the concept of the pedestrian realm as an integral part of the overall street composition. It uses extensive illustrations, examples and instructions to help designers, planners and decision-makers implement a new vision of urban development. It responds to the needs of a rapidly-growing city that desires to preserve cultural traditions and design features, provide natural comfort in a hot climate, accommodate diverse populations, and achieve sustainability objectives.

“Who Owns The Roads? How Motorised Traffic Discourages Walking And Bicycling,” by Peter L. Jacobsen, F. Racioppi and H. Rutter, Injury Prevention, Vol. 15, Issue 6, pp. 369-373; ( http://injuryprevention.bmj.com/content/15/6/369.full.html ).
This article examines the impact of vehicle traffic on walking and bicycling activity. It indicates that real and perceived danger and discomfort imposed by traffic discourages walking and bicycling, and interventions to reduce traffic speed and volume can improve public health by increasing walking and bicycling activity.

“A Study on the Impact of the Green Transport Mode on Public Health Improvement,” KOTI World-Brief, Vol. 1, No. 1, Korea Transport Institute, May 2009, pp. 6-8 ( http://english.koti.re.kr/upload/eng_publication_regular/world-brief01.pdf ).
This study found that commuters who switch from automobile to walking or cycling for eight weeks experienced significantly reduced lower blood pressure, improved lung capacity and improved cholesterol counts. It estimated that commuters who use active modes achieve annual health and fitness benefits worth an average of 2.2 million Korean Won (about $2,000). They found that incorporating these values into transportation policy and project evaluation significantly affected outcomes, resulting in higher values for policies and projects that increase active transportation among people who otherwise achieve less than 150 weekly minutes of physical activity.

“Transitway Impacts Research Program” ( http://www.cts.umn.edu/Research/Featured/Transitways ) investigates how high quality urban transit systems affect travel activity and land use development.

“Analysis Finds Shifting Trends in Highway Funding: User Fees Make Up Decreasing Share” (http://www.subsidyscope.com/transportation/highways/funding )
This analysis of Federal Highway Statistics found the portion of U.S. highway funding paid by motor vehicle user fees has declined significantly. In 2007, 51% of highway construction and maintenance expenditures were generated through user fees (fuel taxes, vehicle registration fees and tolls) down from 61% a decade earlier. The rest came from other sources, including income, sales and property taxes.

“Estimates of the External Costs of Transport in 2007” KOTI World-Brief, Vol. 1, No. 3, Korea Transport Institute (www.koti.re.kr), July, pp. 8-10; at http://english.koti.re.kr/upload/eng_publication_regular/World-Brief03.pdf .
This study estimates that during 2007, South Korean household expenditures on transportation totaled 11.4% of GDP, and external transportation costs (congestion delays, accident damages and pollution emissions) totaled 5.4% of GDP. The study compares South Korea’s transport costs with other countries and indicates changes over time.

“Transport: External Cost of Transport In Switzerland” ( http://www.are.admin.ch/themen/verkehr/00252/00472/index.html?lang=en ). This comprehensive research program by the Swiss government provides detailed estimates of various transportation costs, including infrastructure, accidents and pollutants.

“International Fuel Prices 2009” ( http://www.gtz.de/fuelprices)
The 2009 International Fuel Prices report provides an overview of the retail prices of gasoline and diesel in more than 170 countries, discusses pricing policies, presents case studies on the impact of high and volatile fuel prices in 2007/2008 in developing countries and provides access to numerous additional resources.

“Rethinking Transport and Climate Change” ( http://www.transport2012.org/bridging/ressources/files/1/96,Rethinking_Transport_and_Climate_Chan.pdf ) and “Changing Course: A New Paradigm for Sustainable Urban Transport” ( http://www.adb.org/Documents/Books/Paradigm-Sustainable-Urban-Transport/new-paradigm-transport.pdf ).
These two new reports by the Asian Development Bank conclude that current transportation planning practices are unsustainable and discuss policy and planning changes needed to create more efficient and equitable transport systems.

“Transit Benefit Ordinance” ( http://www.transitbenefitordinance.com). This new website provides specific information on how municipal governments can encourage or require larger employers to offer transit benefits.

“Carfree Design Manual” by Joel Crawford, International Books ( http://www.carfree.com/cdm ). This comprehensive and attractive book, featuring hundreds of photographs and drawings, describes the theory and practice of carfree (and car-light) urban planning.

“How Free Is Your Parking?” ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_O6dR7YfvM&feature=player_embedded )

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About the author:

Todd Litman is founder and executive director of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, an independent research organization dedicated to developing innovative solutions to transport problems. His work helps to expand the range of impacts and options considered in transportation decision-making, improve evaluation techniques, and make specialized technical concepts accessible to a larger audience. He can be reached at: 1250 Rudlin Street, Victoria, BC, V8V 3R7, Canada. Email: litman@vtpi.org. Phone & Fax: +1 250-360-1560

"Should car advertising be more heavily regulated, etc., etc." More on, this time from Canada

Yesterday’s feature article under this title generated a number of immediate comments and responses from readers in Australia, Canada and Germany, including the following announced “Canadian Code of Advertising Standards re Motor Vehicle Advertising”, a “stakeholder approach” to dealing with these thorny issues. We produce it here in its essentials together with URLs for further information. But does it actually do the job?

Richard Campbell from Vancouver Canada wrote in this morning as follows: “There are similar standards in Canada that just came into effect. http://www.adstandards.com/en/MediaAndEvents/newInterpretationGuideline.aspx. The Guideline was developed to help ensure that motor vehicle advertisements are created to comply with the spirit of Canadian road safety laws.

It includes eight broad principles, in the form of questions, which will provide guidance to motor vehicle manufacturers and their advertising agencies in the production of advertising that is creative and effective, while respecting road safety concerns and conforming to the Code. The Guideline encompasses such issues as speeding, aggressive and unsafe behaviour, and depictions of races or competitions. Here is the complaint procedure: http://www.adstandards.com/en/ConsumerComplaints/theConsumerComplaintsProcess.aspx

Canadian Code of Advertising Standards re Motor Vehicle Advertising

Advertising Standards Canada (ASC) maintains the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards (Code), the principal instrument of advertising self-regulation in Canada. The Code sets the standards for acceptable advertising and forms the basis for receipt and review of consumers’ complaints about Canadian advertising. The Code is augmented by Interpretation Guidelines that are designed to enhance industry and public understanding of the interpretation and application of the clauses of the Code.

On September 24, 2009, ASC published and implemented Interpretation Guideline #4 – Alleged Infractions of Clauses #10 or #14: Motor Vehicle Advertising. The Guideline was developed to help ensure that motor vehicle advertisements are created to comply with the spirit of Canadian road safety laws. It includes eight broad principles, in the form of questions, which will provide guidance to motor vehicle manufacturers and their advertising agencies in the production of advertising that is creative and effective, while respecting road safety concerns and conforming to the Code. The Guideline encompasses such issues as speeding, aggressive and unsafe behaviour, and depictions of races or competitions.

Developed by a working group, the motor vehicle advertising guideline initiative was led by the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ), in conjunction with ASC, the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators, the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association, the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers of Canada, the Association of Canadian Advertisers and the Association des agences de publicité du Québec.

The working group was convened following the adoption of legislative provisions obligating the SAAQ to “in collaboration with automobile manufacturers, advertising agencies and highway safety stakeholders …establish guidelines aimed at prohibiting any advertisement that portrays a road vehicle and conveys a careless attitude with respect to road safety by presenting situations that encourage reckless, dangerous or prohibited practices or behaviour.” The auto advertising issue was of interest to other Canadian jurisdictions, several of whom joined the working group (Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon and Transport Canada.) The working group’s adoption of the Guideline was supported by all Canadian jurisdictions.

The positive cooperation from the other stakeholders meant that the guidelines could be built on the existing self-regulatory structure, thereby avoiding the need to adopt more binding measures. (Our emphasis.)

* Click here for the new Guideline: http://www.adstandards.com/en/MediaAndEvents/newInterpretationGuideline.aspx

Interpretation Guideline #4 – Alleged Infractions of Clauses 10 or 14: Motor Vehicle Advertising1

(Editor’s note: These are the “eight questions” referred to above.)

4.1 When evaluating complaints about advertising involving depictions of motorized vehicles that allegedly contravene Clause 10 (Safety), Council will take into account the following questions:

a. Does the depiction of the performance, power or acceleration of the vehicle convey the impression that it is acceptable to exceed speed limits?

b. Does the depiction of a vehicle’s handling ability involve potentially unsafe actions such as cutting in and out of traffic, excessively aggressive driving, or car chases in a residential setting?

c. Does the depiction appear realistic or does it appear to be unreal, as in a fantasy-like scenario that is unlikely to be copied or emulated in real life?

d. Would it be reasonable to interpret the depicted situation as condoning or encouraging unsafe driving practices?

4.2 When evaluating complaints involving depictions in automobile advertising that allegedly contravene Clause 10 (Safety) or Clause 14 (Unacceptable Depictions and Portrayals), Council also will take into account the following questions developed and endorsed by the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers of Canada and the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers Association:

a. Is the vehicle operated in violation of applicable laws or beyond reasonable speed under the circumstances taking into account the portrayed road, weather, traffic and surrounding conditions (e.g. children in the area,) or over usual speed limits in Canada?

b. Does the depiction of the performance, power or acceleration and braking of the vehicle, taking into consideration the advertisement as a whole including visual (both images and text) and audio messages convey the impression that it is acceptable to exceed speed limits or to otherwise operate a vehicle unsafely or illegally?

c. Does the depiction of racing and rallies, and of other competition environments, taking into consideration the advertisement as a whole including visual (both images and text) and audio messages, convey the impression that production vehicles could be driven like racing or competition vehicles on a public roadway?

d. Is the advertisement encouraging or endorsing vehicle use that is aggressive, violent or injurious toward other road users, or that denigrates or disparages cautious behaviour when using a vehicle?

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Editor’s commentary:

This proposal strikes these eyes as a possible step in the right direction; however we fear that calls for “reasonable behavior” will be about as well accepted by the main actors involved in this sector as it would be in the more aggressive edge of the financial community.

Let’s not kid ourselves. Self-regulation? Getting agreement from the “main stakeholders”? Whoa. You or I can say anything but the only thing that counts is what we do.

We do not see that anything of worth can be achieved in this domain unless there are real teeth to it. Where are the teeth? Where is the responsibility? Where is the good governance needed as a framework for working democracy, healthy entrepreneurship and society?

I don’t think that we can responsibly run away from this one.

Eric Britton,
Editor, World Streets

Question: Should car advertizing be more heavily regulated? Or taxed? Or mandate compensatory advertizing? Or or . . . ?

Our sustainable colleagues over at Nuova Mobilità, our Italian-language sister publication, have shown more consistent aggressiveness concerning debating the issues of car advertising then we (which points out the advantages of diversity) — but from time to time we too consider that it is useful to give this some thought and dialogue. N/M picked up the following quite contentious article on the subject today from the Guardian, which we are also pleased to share with you for your information and comment. (Ours appear at the end of this article).

Want to promote cycling? Cut back car adverts now

– Tom Bogdanowicz, guardian.co.uk. London. Wednesday, 17 February 2010.

The UK spends £500m a year on car ads and fetishises auto-ownership – no wonder cycling is stuck in the slow lane

Step out of your home and what do you see? There is a subliminal and overt message on the streets and in the media to buy cars and use them. You’ll find it on TV, on your computer, in the newspapers you read. It makes the promotion of any other form or transport, such as cycling, an uphill struggle regardless of how convenient, healthy and sustainable it may be.

The advertising spend on the promotion of motor vehicles in the UK exceeds £500m a year. And, by and large, it works: car ownership has grown steadily since the 1940s and, after the current economic crisis abates, it will likely continue to do so.

In sharp contrast, the promotion of cycling and walking is almost non-existent. When Transport for London ran a TV ad promoting cycling it was a unique occasion. The number of cyclists on UK roads has dropped sharply since the 1940s, and London stands out as a rare example of a city where cycling has doubled in six years.

While the government encourages us to walk, ride bikes and use public transport, it knows that car advertising is persuading us to do the exact opposite. Instead of sharing one car, households buy two or three so that everyone can express their own personality through their vehicle. If you believe the advertising, your car will make you more attractive, more popular and more successful. How many car ads show the reality of being stuck in traffic or the frustration of searching for a parking space?

Cycling gets the occasional media boost when team GB sweeps the Olympic medals or cycling in London soars, as more people realise it’s faster around town than driving. But very few companies pay big money for bike ads, so newspapers don’t have cycling sections – with notable exceptions, such as this blog – and there is no cycling equivalent of Top Gear.

The outcome of all that PR for cars is more sales as well as more congestion, more pollution and a greater demand for scarce parking spaces. There would have been no need for the congestion charge in London if not for the success of the auto industry’s publicity machine and the popularity of motoring programmes.

Reversing the trend of ever-increasing car ownership and use is not as difficult as it seems. If governments were to limit car advertising, as they did with alcohol and tobacco when the health impacts were recognised, people would take decisions about their mode of transport based on common sense rather than the promise of open highways, high speeds and glamorous locations. Common sense might well encourage cycling or walking for more journeys.

The survival of cycling as a transport mode and its growth in London is a tribute to its convenience and simplicity. Surveys show that one-in-five of us would like to cycle. If the barriers to cycling were removed – such as perceived danger and a lack of cycling infrastructure – cycle journeys in the UK might increase tenfold to the levels seen in Holland or Denmark. The benefits are obvious: more cycling and walking would help prevent health problems as well as climate change.

Holland is lucky to have invested in cycling before car-oriented planning created a road system that discourages cycle use. The UK, unfortunately, has seen several decades of car-centred planning. But, as London shows, the UK can still join the virtuous circle. Local traffic management schemes can be redesigned to allow cyclists through them and urban gyratories can be removed.

If reduced auto promotion stemmed the growth in car ownership as well, we could see more people cycling and drivers might discover that the roads were less busy and parking spaces easier to come by. In fact, there is little choice; Britain’s urban population continues to grow – unless we enable people to cycle and walk more, and stop persuading them to use cars, we face gridlock.

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About the author:
• Tom Bogdanowicz is campaigns and development officer for the London Cycle Campaign

* Source: guardian.co.uk. http://tinyurl.com/yb7ssh9

* Reader comments here: http://tinyurl.com/yznghcu


From the editor: A Personal Reflection:

It is not exactly that recourse to the law is the last refuge of a scoundrel, but it – that is the crude hammer of the law – is certainly the last refuge of citizens and political leaders who are not able to come up with a better and softer path to get the job done. Which is to say that we approach matters like this with a heavy heart, but then are ready to hear the arguments from both sides, all while not forgetting what sustainability and social justice are all about.

The bottom line: As an essentially naïve person, I always tend to confound or confuse (or wish hopefully about) advertising as having primarily an information function. Of course when any of us has a point we wish to make, there is also a human tendency to try to make that point in a way which renders it agreeable for the public you are trying to get on your side. At one point of course this can become a matter of more even than simple cajoling , namely attempting behavior modification, and this brings us in front of an ethical choice, or maybe better a dilemma.

I, and I am almost certain you also, have reached the conclusion that advertising in public places and the media can be extremely useful in matters in which society is having a problem or two: smoking too much, speeding too fast, drug dependency, various forms of unfair discrimination, the long list goes on. No reasonable person can deplore the intelligent and in a surprising number of cases pretty effective advertising/information campaigns that have been run over the last several decades in order to modify behavior of large numbers of people and create really a better and safer society for all. Moreover I, and once again I bet you too, want to see more of this done wisely and effectively.

Now back to our topic, namely the at least highly dubious habits of the automobile industry advertising practices. And here I have to put my cards on the table and state that I am not an anti-car guy. I have had quite a range of cars over the years which by and large I greatly appreciated and I think have used wisely. On the other hand, we are all increasingly aware that as things stand today there are many situations in which “own-cars” are not always necessarily the best way to get around every day (particularly in cities of course). Anyway, we shall soon enough have a billion of them raring to go all over the planet, so it is our job as citizen-guardians of the concept of sustainable transportation to provide perspective and, if we can manage it, wise counsel as to what exactly is going to be their proper place in society. After all, that is what governance is all about.

For starters, anyone would have to be blind or soft in the head not to see the pernicious qualities of much of the car advertising that we presently have in our various print and electronic media. Much of this goes well beyond giving us simple information about their products, and with the help of very sophisticated media specialists and experts in behavioral psychology often combine to create pattern and attitudes which are far from being in the public interest.

The fixation with speed, the subtle ways of manipulating and implying speed as a personal (to some) if not a social value — and hey! everybody knows that speed kills — gives us a great place to start. Some of the rest is more puzzling and is going to be more difficult, so until we can sort this out, speed gives us a good training ground to get going and figure out how to handle the rest.

My position on this today then is that I feel there is every reason for the vigorous public debate in as many fora and places as can be reached. Tom Bogdanowicz’s points are worthy of reflection, and it is good to see him looking at all of this from the perspective of cyclists. And if you click here – http://tinyurl.com/yznghcu – you will be taken to the extremely lively commentary that his article has excited, and which also might find it useful to spend the time with.

I wish I could tell you that I have a way to wrap this up so that you can put it all behind you and move on to other things. But I cannot and so as resourceful citizens we have to keep thinking about it, talking about it, and pretty soon doing something about it.

Eric Britton
Editor, World Streets

Profile: Robin Carlisle in South Africa. "A helluva lot of people don’t have cars. I have to look after them"

To move from the unfair and hopelessly inefficient deadlock that is old mobility toward sustainable transport and sustainable cities, we need concepts, dialogues, demonstrations, projects and programs. But none of this is going to happen if we don’t have the people: the warm, surely fallible but somehow thoughtful, daring and courageous human beings who are needed to bring all this about.We need more heroes, wouldn’t you agree? Our Profiles here on World Streets are intended to remind the world that whenever something good happens, it is because there are real live people behind it. Let’s take Robin Carlisle who is working for change in Capetown South Africa for example. Continue reading

Green Drinks: From Beer to Eternity? (Or more than a pretty web page)

When we first set up shop here in Paris some years ago, we thought a lot about creating lively and inviting environments for all kinds of people to get together and exchange ideas and learn from each other in our areas of common interest. But for the most part this took the form of the familiar mix of workshops, conferences, and of our various virtual get-togethers on the web. Then one day in 2007 we learned of Green Drinks, and thought to give it a go in Paris.

Introduction: Our goal back then was to create here in this big and busy city an inviting environment which would encourage serendipitous encounters which cut across the usual professional and disciplinary lines. For us it was important that participation be easy and open, and that it bring in young people and as many women as possible. And a wide range of different kinds of backgrounds and views. As luck would have it, a group of young Parisian professionals agreed to take over the actual running of the project, which they continue to do successfully to this day.

So on the occasion of your next trip to Paris if you want to take the temperature of the green agenda here in all its varieties be sure you check out the webpage at http://www.greendrinks.org//Paris. On the last Monday or each month, the action starts at 19h30 at the Café Epicerie, 38 rue Sambre et Meuse 75010 Paris. you can also check out the organizers blog at www.greendrinks-paris.org.

And oh yes, why don’t you give some thought to creating a Green Drinks in your own city. You just may surprise yourself? There are more people and more brains thinking about and working on these issues than most of us would ever guess. Try it and let us know how it works out.

Now let’s hear what Edwin Datschefski who was there at birth and is the International Coordinator of Green Drinks has to tell us about how all this came to be.

Green Drinks: From Beer to Eternity?

A bunch of us who work in the environmental field used to meet up for a beer in London once a month. It was a nice gathering, and we always encouraged people to invite others, so you never knew who would be there and they were always interesting people and great connections were made and cool ideas were had. We started in 1990 and called it Green Drinks.

We used to call round the week before and tell people the date and venue, and for a while we tried mass faxing, but it was quite hard work and this was of course just in our spare time and “borrowing” office resources etc. so we were very pleased when email finally became widespread and we could set up an email list to send out reminders.

We also set up a fixed date (second Tuesday of the month) and venue so people could easily remember the rule and also put it in their diaries ahead of time.

In 2000 I set up a website greendrinks.org as an easy-to-remember URL and soon after that we realised a few friends from Oxford were having their own Green Drinks too so we listed them on the website. Soon there were quite a few listed on the website so I handed over organisation of the London Green Drinks to Paul Scott, who still runs it, in order to concentrate on the now-international website. When I say ‘concentrate’ bear in mind this is all stuff in my spare time, the odd hour here and there.

New York City joined as the first US GD in 2002 and as Green Drinkers travelled the world and relocated jobs, more sprung up. Today in 2010 there are 600 Green Drinks in 62 countries.

I specifically used biological thinking in the design of Green Drinks. I wrote the Green Drinks Code (http://www.greendrinks.org/Start) as a code of practice but also as a genetic code, the DNA of the organism.

Green Drinks is biological in that it is:

Distributed — there is no central organisation, each city organiser can do what they like and maintains their own list of members.

Viral — member-get-member is the basic principle — a simple concept spread by word of mouth.

Adaptive — each Green Drinks city has its own logo and traits, the ones that work best for its location — some are a little formal, some rather random, some have speakers to break the ice (like in Scandinvia and some US cities), most are just freeform. The freeform nature of most of the mingling is the key, and this can be enhanced by good hosting and introduction-making on the night.

I think the strangest thing about Green Drinks is that the goals are so vague and the benefits hard to quantify — but they are undoubtedly there. Sometimes people say we should get some charitable or government funding, but then others will insist that independence is far more important. Of course it’s not much of a proposal in conventional terms — ‘We need this funding so me and my mates can go have a few beers together’ …

I’ve upgraded the website a few times in recent years, and we are flirting with on-line social networking via Facebook, Ning, Twitter etc but there are countless online environmental networks, and Green Drinks is fundamentally about face to face interaction in a room.

I have never made any predictions or even plans about Green Drinks, but I would guess we will continue to expand though this may well slow as of course sometimes cities drop out and that has to be matched with new cities joining up.

I think Green Drinks has some good lessons for other types of organisation who want to grow, and staying informal and ad hoc is a key one of them. Go along to a Green Drinks near you to see how it works, or drop me a line if you think I can help with any ideas on your organisation design.

# # #

Edwin Datschefski is the International Coordinator of Green Drinks, www.greendrinks.org . Edwin’s latest book, The Total Beauty of Sustainable Products, is proving to be a contemporary classic, introducing everyone from students to CEOs to the delights and nuances of sustainable product development.

World Carshare Consortium 2010 Operations Plan: Coming to a bend in the road

Since 1998 we have actively supported the development of carsharing projects and programs in cities and countries around the world. Over that time the concept of sharing a car has grown from a largely unknown transport option, to the extent where today there are more than one thousand cities in the world where you can find a shared car this morning. The main instrument of our collaboration has been something we called the World Carshare Consortium. But as you will see here are a few changes in store for the way in which we run this part of our sustainable transportation initiative.


Short introduction:
The World Carshare Consortium which you can handily access at www.worldcarshare.org has been run on an open and free basis, much like World Streets, over all these years. However for reasons of hard economic realities we are now constrained to start to change that formula, which is the purpose of this posting. This may interest you, since it is relevant to how all of us can go about combining our knowledge, energies, and resources to advancing good sustainable transportation ideas. And good carsharing is certainly one of the best.

If you have any questions or require further background, a great starting point is the world carshare site itself, and in addition you can address them to the editor here at World Streets.

New Mobility Partnerships, Paris. 18 February 2010

Dear members and supporters of World Carshare,

After twelve years of long and faithful service to the concept of carsharing as a great and even noble way of getting around in our day-to-day lives, today is the day in which I am obliged to change the rules of the game for World Carshare. As most of you know, after more than a decade running this as a wide open shared enterprise, I do this with no little regret. But as the Chinese philosopher Lao Tze reminded us so long ago: after ten years of notoriety even the greatest poet in China should change his village and change his name. So in this Year of the Tiger and with his good counsel in mind, I will keep my name but today is the day we make a few changes in our village.

The new rules of the game: Rather than being free and open to all, from this day on our World Carshare will be run along, let us say, more “commercial” lines. No not commercial really, but nonetheless as I have indicated in an earlier note on the subject, for reasons of necessity we now have to get better at sharing the load. You understand of course that world carsharing simply cannot be a one-man job.

Now while my earlier calls for support have gone pretty much ignored by the great majority of the close to five hundred people currently signed in to this forum, happily several handfuls of you have stepped forward to help share the burden: something like two dozen individuals, a total of one carshare supplier, and as of yesterday a generous grant from one of our national partners who shares our belief that carsharing is something that is really worth supporting. These are good steps forward to help us make this work, but until all this work is fully and fairly supported, we now have to move to our new and somewhat more austere rules set. It works like this:

As of this morning, all standing subscriptions of our close to five hundred members are being canceled. In exact parallel with this, I am sending out letters of invitation to those people and groups who have recently been in touch either with individual (subscriptions) or collective support — or as volunteers indicated that they will continue to be ready to share with us their information and insights on the sector. In addition to this, we will continue to maintain free access to anyone coming in from the developing countries, unfunded local environmenal and similar public interest groups, and of course students and others of limited means and high interest.

Several of our number have indicated their willingness to work with us to identify and eventually secure more substantial support from public agencies in their country who share our interests. This would be extremely important to guarantee our future viability, and I hope that others of you will now get in touch so that we can discuss how we might work together to tailor and put this approach to work in your country. If we can get a handful of committed public sector partners behind this, we will be able to return to our former wide open working context, which to my mind is far the best way to get the job done.

The months ahead are going to be extremely active ones in our slice of the sustainable transportation puzzle. This work is going to be led by the communications within and collaboration from members of the consortium. I very much hope that you will be among us to take part in this process of building knowledge and consensus on a literally worldwide basis, and in an area in which both are much needed.

So there you have it World Carshare friends. 2010 is the Year of the Tiger and if we are going to make sustainable development work in our cities and daily lives, it will not be because we are docile little pussies. I hope to hear from you and that you will join us as part of the solution. I promise you, the world needs us.

Best from Paris — a city incidentally where when World Carshare just getting underway there were zero carshare operators and zero understanding of the part of the city as to what their role in this might be. And where today there are a handful of highly competitive firms offering more cars, more rides, to more people every day, and all that under the benevolent eye of city authorities who have got the message and have shown themselves ready to do their bit to bring these great services to more and more people everyday. And you can take my word for it, that was no accident.

Eric Britton

———————————-
Attachment:

Some final words of background and a few reminders just in case it may have escaped your attention:

1. The World CarShare Consortium (1997 text):
“This free, cooperative, independent, international communications program supports carsharing projects and programs, worldwide. Since 1997 it offers a convenient place on the web to gather and share information and independent views on projects and approaches, past, present and planned future, freely and easily available to all comers.”

2. Why we support carsharing (1998 text):
“Why does The Commons support a concept that may to some appear to be so off-beat and marginal as carsharing? Simple! We think it’s a great, sustainable, practical mobility idea whose time has come and whose potential impact is quite simply huge. Carsharing: the missing link in your city’s sustainable transport system.”

3. Comments and accolades from readers of World Carsharewww.acknowledgments.worldcarshare.com

4. Ditto from one hundred and one readers of World Streets http://tinyurl.com/ws-101

5. Entries over last year on World Streets concerning carsharingClick here.

6. Who came into World Carshare today:

Carsharing: The last nail in the coffin of old mobility.

I rest my case.

Eric Britton
Editor, World Streets

Op-Ed. Kaid Benfield on Vancouver’s Carfree Olympic Village

The first and most important new mobility option is: to get what it is you want or need, without climbing into carbon transport. And while we here at World Streets tend to spend most of our time looking at sustainable transport modes and good ways of combining them to create superior mobility packages, we also follow car-free (or car-freer) environments and programs around the world. The city of Vancouver has just taken a giant step in this direction as part of their Winter Olympics package, so let us give the word to Kaid Benfield, Director of the Smart Growth Program of the NRDC in Washington, DC for his views on this. Continue reading

World Streets Collaborative Program – 2010 Contribute, subscribe, support, get invovled

World Streets is an open collaborative program, and is entirely dependent on the support of readers, subscribers and others who share our deep concerns about sustainable transportation, sustainable development and social justice. Subscription is free for all who cannot afford it, and as a matter policy we do not accept advertising. We count on your counsel and support to be able to continue to do our part.

_________________________________________________________
World Streets has one job: to inform and support sustainable transportation projects and groups around the world. After a first year of proving its worth, edition after edition, five days a week, bringing hundreds of carefully selected news items, expert views, questions, comments, inspirations, and leads to the desks of more than one hundred thousand visitors from more than seventy countries on all continents (that was our “business plan”), World Streets is now reaching out to get active sponsorship and support for 2010. We need your help to continue. Here is how it works:

Contents:
1. Individual subscriptions
2. Institutional subscription/partnerships
3. Foundations
4. Personal gifts, donations
5. How to make your contribution
6. Seven reasons why this is a good idea

Individual subscriptions

World Streets is a public interest publication which, as a matter of policy, we make freely available to all who are looking to understand, support, and contribute to the sustainability agenda anywhere in the world. We firmly believe that there should be no barriers, and especially not commercial ones, to the free circulation of news, tools, counsel and peer exchanges when it comes to important issues of sustainable development and social justice.

Subscribers have full access to the members-only World Streets Forum, Library and Archives – Click here for details. For those who use it and can afford it, we ask that you step up to do your part. (For payment procedures, click here. And

* Suggested contribution: EUR 29.00 (USD 39.00)

Students, people working in the developing countries, volunteer organizations, unfunded local or public interest groups and others of limited means are invited to come in and enjoy the benefits of the journal without payment. To receive your free subscription, we would ask you to email a short note to editor@worldstreets.org with your name, institutional affiliation if any, city, country and URL if any. And, please, a few words about your work and interests in this area.

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Public agencies, ministries and funded NGOs and associations
At the state, national, regional or international level, these key institutions with broad responsibilities to guide policy, education, communications and investments in the fields of transportation, environment, cities, energy, or climate can provide valuable support for all concerned by making Streets available to their members, staff and associates. Subscribers have full paid-in access for their staffs and other associated agencies, groups and personnel within their country or region, to all deliverables and services of the subscription program as follows:

1. The Journal
Subscription provides full access to the world’s only sustainable transportation daily, and includes daily updates and references which are automatically channeled to the subscriber and their team in daily digest form, complete with easy one-click links to the full text and media content of all articles and commentaries.
– – > Summary overview at http://tinyurl.com/ws-sum

2. World Streets/Monthly Report
Developed to serve the busy reader. Reserved for subscribers and presented in a form suitable for their in-house and other distribution. Each reference is directly clickable to the original article or commentary. Some subscribers prefer to work with World Streets team to prepare the monthly edition in their working language.
– – > Click for sample edition in English– http://tinyurl.com/ws-feb2010
– – > And here for Italian monthly report– http://tinyurl.com/nm-feb2010

3. World Streets Forum
Reserved for subscribers, active collaborators and correspondents. For subscribers, participation is extended to all nominated individuals, agencies and groups within the country or region served — giving each forum member full access to the journal, daily updates, monthly reports, peer discussion, shared library, shared library, and databases. The Forum is also an excellent place to ask questions or launch discussions of current topics to get different points of view based on experience in other places.
– – > More: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WorldStreets

4. New Mobility Agenda: Working groups/peer programs
Subscribers have full access to the peer networks and focus groups set up under the New Mobility Agenda over the last two decades. These include the World Transport Journal, World Carshare Consortium, Global South Forum, City Bicycle Forum, World Car-Free Days, Value Capture/Taxation Forum, Share/Transport Forum, New Mobility Kids, etc. Each forum serves an international expert community working in the given area for collaborative exchanges of information and views. Participants receive regular updates on events, discussions, and issues in their active topic areas.
– – > More: www.program.newmobility.org.

5. Supporting subscriber services/Outreach program
The principal challenge in this collaborative project is that of finding a way to efficiently channel the considerable content of World Streets in a form in which all concerned can quickly scan, select, access and make good use of it in a time-efficient manner. The target group for national sponsors often includes not only their own staff but other agencies and organizations in the country whom they choose to keep informed. We refer to this as the “last kilometer” component of the subscription.
– – > More: http://tinyurl.com/ws-2010sub-support.

* Suggested subscription: EUR 5.000/10,000 (USD 7,000/14,000)

– ->Click here for program details – http://tinyurl.com/ws-2010sub

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Cities, Local government.
Local government are the ones closest to the issues and who make the decisions that count. Via the daily journal and the monthly edition we supply them with a carefully selected, easy to digest, steady flow of exception information, insight, clues and feedback from world experts that would cost them many times more than the annual subscription to develop on their own. It also gives them a chance to make their voice heard on a worldwide forum. Depending on size of city and available resources . . .

* Suggested subscription: EUR 2,000 (USD 2,800)

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Public transport operators, other service providers and management groups
World Streets provides an efficient way for their officers and staff or these groups to stay on top of the issues, challenges, and accomplishments at the leading edge and from an international perspective. Again depending on size and resources . . .

* Suggested subscription: EUR 3,000 (USD4,200)

Private sector suppliers to the sector (goods and services)
This is more delicate, but this form of open public support is appropriate for companies and organizations who are firmly committed to the sustainable transport agenda. Suppliers of goods and services in such areas as insurance, non-motorized transport, carsharing, liftsharing, strategic parking, logistics, buses, delivery services, locational systems, integrated multi-modal ticket/access systems, transport logistics, spatial planning, and specialized consultancy, management and research groups are appropriate. Depending on size of enterprise . . .

* Suggested contribution: EUR 500/5,000 (USD 700/7000)

Universities and research institutions
World Streets offers a good fit and tool for university teaching and research programs at all levels. Various forms of collaboration and mutual support are possible. Get in touch so that we can discuss.

Incidentally, we have been told that the most efficient way to get universities support for this is to handle it as a standard subscription to a scientific or technical journal. In addition and if your time permits it, we would be grateful if university subscribers would toward the end of the academic year drop us a couple of lines telling how they have used these materials and what kind of reaction they may have gotten from professors as well as students. Also this would be a good occasion for you to give us suggestions for future extensions and improvements.

* Suggested subscription: EUR 700 (USD 1,000)

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3. Foundations
Until such time that we have developed the necessary firm base of support for our continuing operation, once-off gifts and donations will go a long way to help us fund our early operational and start-up costs in these crucial first phases. We are particularly hopeful for the support of foundations, groups with such budgets, and well-to-do individuals who share our sense of mission. If you are among them, please contact us for more information. And if you have a lead or know someone we should contact for discussions, please let us know.

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4. Private donors, personal contributions, gifts
We hope to get support from individuals and families of means who share our concerns, and who are ready to reach into their pockets to give proof that the struggle for sustainable cities must engage us all.

World Streets is going to need significant financial support if it is to continue through 2010. Despite the many volunteers pitching in with ideas, articles and encouragement, our programs are still costly to run and require an annual budget on the order of EUR 100,000 to get the job done. (There is a lot going on here, the iceberg under the tip, which is needed to get the journal out each day and which of course you never see, including management and oversight of all that goes into maintaining the New Mobility Agenda focus programs and sites – see www.program.newmobility.org to get an idea on that.)

This level of funding normally can come only from foundations, public agencies, or well-to-do individuals. But there is plenty of scope for smaller, more strategic donations as well, and here is maybe where you will have some ideas. Your counsel and initiative will be helpful in several ways.

• By making a contribution – large or small – you are sending us a strong signal that what we are doing has value.

• Your contributions will help us to fund the diversity of our existing programs at the quality level and frequency you are used to.

• An active contributor base helps us equally to turn to the foundations, agencies, and individuals that can make more sizable contributions to help us make-up a budget shortfall.

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5. How to transfer funds:

Make immediate payment via Paypal or credit card:
Payment by Paypal is simple and fast:

(1) Click www.paypal.com.
(2) Enter your account (or set one up quickly (and safely) as indicated).
(3) Click “send money”.
(4) Address: association@ecoplan.org.
(5) Amount.
(6) Click “Personal”.
(7) Click “Gift”.
(8) Thank you for helping World Streets to continue in 2010.

PayPal also has provision for paying by credit card. It is fairly well explained on the site.

To make direct bank wire transfers:

Account Holder: Association EcoPlan International
Account no. 00010465401
Crédit Industriel et Commercial de Paris
Succursale BR (Montparnasse)
202 Blvd. Raspail / 75014 Paris, France
SWIFT: CMCIFRPP
IBAN : FR76 3006 6106 2100 0104 6540 105

If you prefer to send a check direct our mailing address is:

Association EcoPlan International
8/10, rue Joseph Bara
F75006 Paris, France

Kindly make your check payable to “Association EcoPlan International”.

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6. Seven reasons why you should pitch in and help us guarantee 2010:

1. Your vote for the future: Because if you are a parent or active citizen it is the right thing to do for your children, for your city, for your nation, and yes, for the planet. (And it is simple and cheap.)

2.Act now: Getting behind World Streets and the New Mobility Agenda demonstrates publicly that you give high importance to the critical climate/transportation link and the need for acting now — and not waiting about for some kind of long term deus ex machina that may or may not solve your and the planet’s problems.

3. Worldwide focus: It gives you an efficient way to track some of the things going on at the leading edge not only in your own country or regional grouping. Its genuine worldwide focus — North/South, East/West (and South/North) — reporting from source, brings to your attention projects, ideas and clues which otherwise you are just about certain to miss.

4. Re-defining the mainstream: By stepping forward you provide proof that you are part of the growing movement that is in the process of transforming sustainable transportation from a marginal activity, into the defining mainstream of 21st century transportation policy and practice at the leading edge.

5. Share with others: By doing your bit, you are helping make these ideas and materials available to cities, researchers, activists, and others all over the world, including many others who otherwise cannot even afford it on their own.

6. Make your voice heard: As a colleague and supporter, you and your team are in a position to work with the editorial staff from time to time to let the world know about your leading projects and accomplishments.

7. Step forward: And finally, if you do not step forward to do this, if we do not step forward to do this . . . who will?

For the rest, thank you in advance for your contributions, your counsel and your support. And if you wish to talk about any of this, here is how you can get in touch. Believe me, we will not be able to do this without you!

Eric Britton
Editor, World Streets
Tel. +331 7550 3788 • Skype newmobility
eric.britton@newmobility.org or fekbritton@gmail.org

PS. Have a look at who visited World Streets today. They have to be coming here for a reason.


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Putting World Streets to work in other languages. Example: Nuova Mobilità, Sustainable Transport in Italy

From the outset in late 2008, we were aware that the reach of World Streets into the field was going to be constrained by the problem of language. For if in countries in which English is not a main working language there are always a certain number of people who are comfortable dealing with text in English, this is not the case for the greater number of those who work at the local level with the issues. So we knew we were going to need another approach to reach these people. Our first test case to show how it is possible to work competently in another language was Italy, leading to a global/local partnership and the creation of a new journal covering sustainable transport in Italian: Nuova Mobilità.

Summary: Working with machine translations:

How to use, limitations, work-arounds: To make the contents of World Streets more broadly accessible to friends and colleagues who work primarily in other language groups, we have linked the site to the increasingly well-performing Google machine translation engines that you will now find here. In each case all you have to do is click the language in which you wish to see the rough translation, and it will quickly appear on your monitor.

If you read the translation in parallel with the English-language original in front of you, you will in almost all cases be able to arrive at a pretty fair understanding of the thrust and main content of that particular article or announcement. The result is not literature; it is a rough and ready working tool for someone who needs to know. It works better in some languages than others. In any event it is not a substitute for a professional translation, but by contrast it can be in your hands in seconds, and can be extremely helpful for those who are ready to make an effort to use it with judgment. Some people will use it when they need it, others will complain and set it aside. That is for you to choose. (We use it and use it every day. And always with caution.)

Start here: What’s wrong with English for World Streets?
Actually working in English gives us a great start — various statistics indicate that it is the first language of going on to four hundred million people, and if you include second language speakers the number moves up to something on the order of half a billion. That is five hundred million people who can, one would hope, pick up and read daily articles in World Streets with ease. That is a big number.

On the other hand it leaves out on the order of six billion people organize their daily lives around other languages, and since it is our chosen mission to create and reinforce networks of people at various levels of government and participation in public life around the world in matters of sustainable transport, we would be remiss in our function if we neglected this important fact. With this in mind, we have from the beginning of publication continuously brainstormed with anyone who cared to join us on the matter of how to get the contents of World Streets, and with it the leading edge of worldwide developments and thinking in the field of sustainable transportation, into the hands of the people who are working in countries in cities around the world where working language is other than English.

As a result of these exchanges we decided not to continue to chat and plan, but rather to start with full scale real time public demonstration showing how it is possible to create an Italian-language edition carefully adapted to the needs and interests of Italian readers working with or following developments in this area. It took more than three months to plan, but by 1 July 2009 the first issue of Nuova Mobilità was ready to go on line on.

What happened? “Executive summary in two quick images”:
Thinking that your time might be short today, let’s start at the end, showing you what happened in one country, Italy, when we developed a collaborative version of World Streets with skilled and committed local partners. Two pictures will serve for a thousand words.

The first of these is a map from our files showing the last eighty people to come into World Streets in late June, a few days before we started publication of the first number of Nuova Mobilità. You will note that despite the impressive worldwide coverage (extending to more than seventy countries on all continents), there were on that day zero entries coming in from Italian cities. Zero!

Before: World Streets reader map of 26 June 2009:

And now, half a year after start-up if we next look at the map showing the last eighty entries into Nuova Mobilità in the last 24 hours, an entirely different picture emerges.

After: Nuova Mobilità reader map of 13 February 2009:

Listing of Italian cities checking in
This listing of cities will be of more interest to our Italian readers than most of us surely, but what may interest them about it is that these 74 cities are listed in the order of the frequency with which readers have some into N/M.

Rome, Milan, Turin, Palermo, Cocquio Trevisago, Molfetta, Bologna, Verona, Padova, Azzano Decimo, Crotone, Ferrara, Potenza, Bergamo, Brescia, Torino, Pesaro, Genoa, Naples, Cagliari, Trieste, Novara, Catania, Piacenza, Treviso, Caserta, San Vero Milis, Manduria, Parma, Modena, San Martino Siccomario, Corato, Teramo, Favaro Veneto, Monserrato, Grùmolo, San Cesario Di Lecce, Giugliano In Campania, Montichiari, Solaro, Bresso, Ciserano, Lecce, Bari, Florence, Quartucciu, Castelnuovo, Rosarno, Brivio, Pisa, Santeramo In Colle, Pontinia, Cormano, Pescara, Catanzaro, Sannicandro Di Bari, San Donato Milanese, Trebaseleghe, San Severino Marche, Abano Terme, Nocera Inferiore, Medole, Varese, Galliera Veneta, Quartu Sant’elena, Leghorn, Limbiate, Capodrise, Turriaco, Cesena, Origgio, Incisa, Monza, Stezzano.

What is the expression: build it and they will come? Apparently this holds for more than building more roads. We need to do more of this kind of building.

Implications for other countries and other language editions
The lessons of this successful joint are perfectly clear. What we have seen works in a country like Italy can also be at least tested and most probably would, with the right kind of collaboration, work in other parts of the world as well. In fact we think this is extremely important and intend to make this one of the strong collaborative development pushes of World Streets over 2010.

We are at this time in early discussion with colleagues in a handful of countries with a view to examining this template and seeing how it might be put to work to provide high-quality coverage in other countries and language groups. Here are our priority targets:

* Chinese
* French
* Spanish
* Portuguese
* Arabic
* German
* Turkish

We have yet to define a working agreement and operations plan with any of these eventual future partners, but as soon as we do please be sure that our readers will be the first to be informed. If you wish to have a more detailed idea as to the process and the reasoning behind these collaborative projects, we invite you to read on to see how all this was handled in the case of Italy and” Nuova Mobilità – Il Diario Italiano del Trasporto Sostenibile”.

Building Nuova Mobilità.
The reasons for giving this collaborative Italian project early priority were three-fold:

(a) Potential: Its potential to fill a gap as a trusted neutral Italian language source with one-click links to information and perspective on the full range of leading new mobility developments worldwide.

(b) Partners: Our good fortune in finding an Italian team willing to work with us on a volunteer basis for the half year or so it is going to take to get it off the ground.

(c) Prof of concept: And finally the way in which we hoped that, in time and with work, the Italian project would develop into a first-cut technical and organizational template ready to aid other language/country versions to follow in 2010 and beyond.

1. “New Mobility” for Italian readers

Italy provides an interesting and in many ways quite typical example of how the diverse strands that we call sustainable transport or new mobility are (or are not) being woven together to create better transport and better cities within a country or language area. Now as you can see in the pages of N/M, the new mobility concept is in fact gradually taking hold in Italy, but it is still very much in a minority position, and when implemented for the most part occurs on a project by project basis — and only here and there with a broader unifying strategy. On this last score there is still plenty of room for progress. (But to be perfectly frank, there are few places in the world which have thus far really started to put all the pieces together.)

Italy had a strong claim for immediate treatment on the grounds that we had the good fortune to have already collaborated there successfully with Italian colleagues led by Enrico Bonfatti who showed up fully bilingual, understanding the underlying concepts and ready to get to work on them. Over the two months-plus we have worked with them day by day to lay a base for our collaborative project, we communicated by phone, email, Skype and videoconference on almost a daily basis, and often multiple times each day. (And this was certainly a low-carbon approach since at no time did any of us actually get on a plane or train to get the job done. Today’s technologies were and are fully up to the job. And we suggest that this lesson can also usefully inform future collaborative projects.

The first World Streets’ spin-off, Nuova Mobilità, which you can now visit, work with and profit from is online at http://nuovamobilita.org/

2. Nuova Mobilità has two functions within Italy:

Window on sustainable transport in the world:
First, to provide a window on the world of new mobility for those Italian readers who are more comfortable working in their own language. To do this, the editorial team selects daily articles from World Streets and other sources which they feel will be of particular interest to the Italian reader. They then both translate and adapt them for the Italian context, with adjustments and contextual information to make them more informative for the Italian reader in search of new ideas, leads and approaches.

Window on sustainable transport in Italy:
But Nuova Mobilità also has an important “internal” function within Italy as well, namely that of providing a central information and exchange point for outstanding projects and programs, and problems and barriers inhibiting change, that are going on in various cities and parts of the peninsula. There are a number of programs and web sites already active in the sector in various places, but most of these focus on a specific problem or approach — for example cycling, public transport, carsharing, school transport, climate issues, environmental concerns more generally, for specific cities, etc.– Nuova Mobilità can serve as a valuable clearing house function, with its global/local orientation.

Editorial independence:
Like World Streets, Nuova Mobilità retains complete independence in terms of editorial content and the views expressed. Moreover, the program is informed by a consistent set of guiding principles which you will find spelled out in the Mission Statement.

3. Nuova Mobilità: Template for future country/language editions:

One of the main potential contributions of Nuova Mobilità is that it is put before you not as a plan or a promise, but as an operational working entity already in place and there to serve as a pioneer and concrete example for other country/language editions. Of course it can be improved in many ways, including technically, and that is part of the task of both the Italian team and the collaborators at World Streets. But Nuova Mobilità exists, it is there, it works, and it is already in place to perform valuable functions.

It is our view that despite the enormous reach of the internet and the availability of ever-better (and free) machine translation services, native language coverage is needed by many people in many places. The reality is that it is not all that easy reading every day in a second or third language. Most of us do best working in our mother tongue. The task of full and rapid comprehension of a fair body of materials that come in day after day, already difficult enough for most topics, becomes even more challenging in a new area such as this which continuously brings in many new, less familiar concepts, and along with them a new and fast-evolving vocabulary, thus adding yet another level of complexity to the challenge of understanding what is really going on.

Thus it is our firm intention to find other language/country partners to work with them to build on the Italian example which can be exported in its entirety to serve as a sort of first-stage template for future language/country editions.

To this end, we are already in preliminary discussion with eventual Chinese, Portuguese, Spanish, French and German language partners the possibility of building on this example with new dedicated websites and supporting programs in the months ahead. But the list of countries and languages of course need not end there. Nor should it.

# # #

Working with machine translations: How to use, limitations, work-arounds
To make the contents of World Streets more broadly accessible to friends and colleagues who work primarily in other language groups, we have linked the site to the increasingly well-performing Google machine translation engines that you will now find here. In each case all you have to do is click the language in which you wish to see the rough translation, and it will quickly appear on your monitor.

If you read the translation in parallel with the English-language original in front of you, you will in almost all cases be able to arrive at a pretty fair understanding of the thrust and main content of that particular article or announcement. It is of course not a substitute for a professional translation, but it can be extremely helpful for those who are ready to make an effort to use it with judgment.

# # #

For more information on Nuova Mobilità:

Contact: Enrico Bonfatti, Editor. editore@nuovamobilita.org
Nuova Mobilità is at http://nuovamobilita.org
Skype: nuova.mobilita
Click here to read Nuova Mobilità in English (machine translation)

Editorial: Do monorail projects deserve fair treatment? Part II Dragging them into the cold light of day.

It is our position here at World Streets that the challenges of sustainable transportation are so many and so important that we need to ensure we maintain focus on concepts and policies that are going to be up to the task and the priorities at stake. The following just in from Brazil summarizes the author’s expert views on this particular mode. We have left it in his colorful language, making this a lively as well as informative read. Again, our objective here is to make sure that no one, particularly no one in the developing world, wastes any more time with approaches that are very clearly inappropriate. We need to keep focus.

We invite the reader to have a close look at the author’s views of Malaysian monorail projects and dreams, where he shares some pointed  remarks which need to be borne in mind for any city having first thoughts about all the great things that monoriails do for people, and for cities.

Now, from our archives:

Dragging monorail projects and propositions into the cold light of day Continue reading

Archives: A Six Thousand Kilometer Non-CO2 Conference

airplane takeoff pollution.-2A recent discussion has come up in the context of our work program concerning your editor’s long-standing unwillingness to hop on a plane, travel great distances to make a “cameo appearance”, and then scurry back to his burrow in Paris. Since 1995 we have tried hard to maintain a consistent policy about this kind of travel, which you can find here at “Our Personal Choices — and Our (un)Sustainable Lives“.  However this does not mean that it is impossible to have some form of lively, “hot” presentation and interaction on topics of high mutual interest without that dreaded trip to the airport. With a bit of preparation and at low cost, we can do an excellent job at creating a lively and engaging interactive low-carbon environment. Let’s have look. Continue reading

"We need faster horses."

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses”. – Henry Ford

Hmm, sounds quite good but, well, I am not quite sure how I feel about this — but anyway those are Henry Ford’s famous words, as quoted by German Federal President Horst Köhler in a challenging speech on January 14th of this year to ADAC, Germany’s and Europe’s largest automobile club – a speech widely ignored by the German media.

He then added this: “In other words, mobility has to be thought ahead. You, leading representatives of the car industry, be ahead of your customers! The phrase “that’s what the customers wanted” is not set in stone for all eternity. As leaders you have a responsibility to lead. And part of that is to recognize shifts in the tide – on the markets and in society – and to react promptly and get new products ready for the market.”

The fact that he then segues into the importance of a massive move into electric cars troubles; it repeats one bad old habit of some parts of the political and administrative establishment in many places, which is to assume that they somehow can make wise determinations about technology. They cannot. That’s not their competence, that’s not their job. What we expect of wise governance is to set ambitious, but achievable performance parameters, standards if you will, that lead us toward better, cleaner, safer and fairer mobility. But not to tell us which technology is best suited to do the job. They, quit frankly, do not and can not know.

And in any event if you ask me, what we need is slower horses. It’s at least a start. Someone please tell that to whoever it is in Germany who continue to resist setting speed limits on the autobahn.

You can read the full text of his talk which touches on matters of mobility, technology, entrepreneurship and governance here: http://www.bundespraesident.de/en/Speeches-,11165.661675/Speech-by-Federal-President-Ho.htm?global.back=/en/-%2c11165%2c0/Speeches.htm%3flink%3dbpr_liste.

Thanks to Markus Heller of Autofrei Wohnen in Berlin and Pascal van den Noort of VeloMondial in Amsterdam for the heads-up.

The Walkmobile approach to understanding transport

One of the major challenges we face when it comes to sustainable transportation is not so much to identify useful policies, projects and approaches but rather, once we have done this, to find a way to sell them to the public. Images and stories are part of this process. And if we are to win the war of sustainable transportation it will be because we are not only technically strong but also that we have these critical didactic and communications skills. Here is a sweet example with Hermann Knoflacher’s memorable “Gehzeug” or “walkmobile”

“We are increasingly retreating into enclosed environments, more or less
out of our own choice, while isolating ourselves from an outside
world subjected to noise, pollution and dust created by cars”
– Knoflacher in Die Zeit-Interview of 13 September 2007

The “walkmobile” approach to understanding transport

The “walkmobile” is a high technology reflection project was invented by Hermann Knoflacher, Professor at the Institute of Transportation at Vienna University of Technology. It is a simple frame made of wood and has the size of a car. A belt makes it easy to walk around with this frame.

The idea of the “walkmobile” is to show how much space a car needs and how much city space we are willing to cut from public space and give it away to the group of car drivers. This results in streets where the whole width is reserved for cars and motorbikes, leaving almost no space to pedestrians – as seen on many streets in Pune. If all the pedestrians would walk around with a “walkmobile” occupying the same space as a car, our footpaths will be very fast as congested as streets are today.

This clearly demonstrates that a car oriented traffic policy will lead to nothing but a collapse of mobility in the city. There have been many visualization projects on space consumption of different traffic participants, like pedestrians, cyclists, bus users and car drivers. The result was everywhere the same: non-motorized traffic and public traffic manages with much less space than individual motorized traffic.

If traffic policy continues to concentrate mainly on car drivers, we would essentially lose the space for living and the city would only consist of streets and parking places to satisfy the needs of car drivers. To create a city with good living quality traffic policy has to focus on human beings and not vehicles.

Compared to European countries, the car ownership per thousand people in India is quite low. But the number is expected to grow very fast. Cheap cars are being introduced to get the drivers of two-wheelers to shift to cars (e.g., the Tata Nano). So, it is clear that this can only lead to congestion. But how many flyovers will have to be built over flyovers until it becomes obvious to our city planners that this only worsens the problem?

Instead of making the same mistakes as the West in the last century – a century of the automobile – decision makers in India should learn from their mistakes and look for a sustainable answer. Today’s traffic policy has to find solutions how to avoid the growth of traffic. Before people rethink their use of motorbikes and cars, they need a true alternative. A good working, affordable, clean, safe, reliable and well and maintained broad network of public transport as well as pedestrian zones, parking fares, bicycle lanes and pavements have helped many other cities to solve their traffic problems.

It is as Prof. Knoflacher points out with his “walkmobile”: the cities we are living in should be made for humans not for cars. The space in cities is precious, that is a fact of urbanization. We must not give away this precious space to vehicles but convert it to places with a high amenity value.

# # #

About the Walkmobile’s inventor:
Hermann Knoflacher has completed degrees in civil engineering, geodesy, and mathematics. Since 1975 he has held the post of professor at the Vienna University of Technology. In 1985 he became head of the Institute for Transport Planning. His research focuses on spatial planning, urban planning, and transport planning. He is one of the key contributors to the sustainable transport movement (know as Sanfte Mobilität in German). Since 2004 he is the president of the Club of Vienna. He is also a member of the Club of Budapest and the global pedestrian representative of the United Nations. He has recently have published a book in German “Virus Auto”, which he is in the process of translating into English.

About the author:
Robert Obenaus studied Geography in Germany at Humboldt University Berlin and is now working for the civil society organization Parisar in Pune, India. Parisar undertakes various activities of different kinds to promote and advocate sustainable transport. For more information please visit the website http://www.parisar.org.

About Parisar:
This article first appeared in Parisar and is published here with their permission.Parisar is a Pune, India based civil society organization which focuses on sustainable development. Over the last decade or so, its main focus has been the snowballing issue of urban transport in Pune and other Indian cities, working closely with World Streets and other leading groups in the field.

A 2010 update on carsharing in Greece : World Streets Annual New Mobility Country Reviews

Carsharing, like Rome, is not built in a day. At least not formal carsharing as we are seeing it develop in many countries now at, in places, rapid and highly satisfying rate. The following short report comes from colleagues who are involved in an attempted laying the groundwork for the first formal carsharing project in Greece. This is one of the EU “momo Car-Sharing” projects to encourage carshare development throughout Europe. We invite you to have a look and to share your thoughts and comments with the authors or with our readers more generally.
Continue reading

Make World Streets happen in 2010: Subscribe, support, write, advise, get involved

World Streets is entirely dependent on the support of subscribers and others who share our deep concerns about sustainable transportation, sustainable development and social justice. Subscription is free for all who cannot afford it, and as a matter policy we do not accept advertising. We count on your support to be able to continue in 2010, and invite you to consult the following to see how you can best contribute.

Contents:
1. Individual subscription
2. Institutional subscription/partnerships
3. Foundations
4. Personal gifts, donations
5. How to transfer funds
6. The last mile
7. Seven reasons why this is a great idea

Individual subscription
World Streets is a public interest publication which, as a matter of policy, we make freely available to all who are looking to understand, support, and contribute to the sustainability agenda anywhere in the world. We firmly believe that there should be no barriers, and especially not commercial ones, to the free circulation of news, tools, counsel and peer exchanges when it comes to important issues of sustainable development and social justice. Students, people working in the developing countries, volunteer organizations, unfunded local or public interest groups and others of limited means are invited to come in and enjoy the benefits of the journal without payment. For those who use it and can afford it, we ask that they step up to do their part. (To receive a free subscription, we would ask you to email us a short note with your name, city, country. And, if you wish, somthing about your work and interests in this area. Thanks for the courtesy.))

* Suggested contribution: EUR 50.00 (USD 70.00)


Public agencies, ministries and funded NGOs and associations
At the state, national, regional or international level, these key institutions with broad responsibilities to guide policy, education, communications and investments in the fields of transportation, environment, cities, energy, or climate can provide valuable support for all concerned by making Streets available to their members, staff and associates.

Deliverables, Supporting services for subscribers and partners:

1. Subscribers have full access to all of the focus groups set up under the New Mobility Agenda (carsharing, value capture, share transport (xTransit), World Transport Journal, “low-car” strategies, PBS, etc.), each of which assembles and serves an international expert community working in the given area for collaborative exchanges of information and views. The individual fora are supported by regular, often daily, updates on events, discussions, and issues in the topic area which are available to members only. The emphasis is on “exception information” bearing in mind that our members are busy and do not have to much time to spend on scanning external information. (For more on this go to www.program.newmobility.org.)

2. In addition to having full access to both the World Streets daily and the specific program sites, subscribers and partners receive free copies of the World Streets Monthly Report for their own in-house and other distribution.

3. There is important potential for co-organizing seminars, workshops and events in support of sustainable transport projects and groups taking the lead in their area. This is been done in many cities and countries in the past, and we have full experience in how to handle this in a workmanlike manner.

4. Subscribers and partners are invited to suggest topics, events, working tools, or projects which they feel need to be more broadly known, and for which the fully independent reputation of World Streets ensures accuracy and relevance.

5. Finally subscribers and partners are invited on joining to nominate a collaborating partner group, program or city from the developing countries to benefit at no cost and fully from their subscription. Our hope is that they will chose a partner group in a country in which their own bilateral aid program is active, to get full synergy from the collaborative partnership.

These are the organizations who are in an ideal position to take a strong lead, and we want them to do so because they understand that the benefits of distributing World Streets widely to their staff and cooperating groups considerably outweigh the price of subscription. (See section below on “The last mile” for some ideas on this.) Depending on the size and means of the institution . . .

* Suggested subscription: EUR 5.000/10,000 (USD 7,000/14,000)

Cities, Local government.
Local government are the ones closest to the issues and who make the decisions that count. Via the daily journal and the monthly edition we supply them with a carefully selected, easy to digest, steady flow of exception information, insight, clues and feedback from world experts that would cost them many times more than the annual subscription to develop on their own. It also gives them a chance to make their voice heard on a worldwide forum. Depending on size of city and available resources . . .

* Suggested subscription: EUR 2,000 (USD 2,800)

Public transport operators, other service providers and management groups
World Streets provides an efficient way for their officers and staff or these groups to stay on top of the issues, challenges, and accomplishments at the leading edge and from an international perspective. Again depending on size and resources . . .

* Suggested subscription: EUR 3,000 (USD4,200)

Private sector suppliers to the sector (goods and services)
This is more delicate, but this form of open public support is appropriate for companies and organizations who are firmly committed to the sustainable transport agenda. Suppliers of goods and services in such areas as insurance, non-motorized transport, carsharing, liftsharing, strategic parking, logistics, buses, delivery services, locational systems, integrated multi-modal ticket/access systems, transport logistics, spatial planning, and specialized consultancy, management and research groups are appropriate. Depending on size of enterprise . . .

* Suggested contribution: EUR 500/5,000 (USD 700/7000)

Universities and research institutions
World Streets offers a good fit and tool for university teaching and research programs at all levels. Various forms of collaboration and mutual support are possible. Get in touch so that we can discuss.

* Suggested subscription: EUR 1,000 (USD 1,400)

3. Foundations
Until such time that we have developed the necessary firm base of support for our continuing operation, once-off gifts and donations will go a long way to help us fund our early operational and start-up costs in these crucial first phases. We are particularly hopeful for the support of foundations, groups with such budgets, and well-to-do individuals who share our sense of mission. If you are among them, please contact us for more information. And if you have a lead or know someone we should contact for discussions, please let us know.

4. Private donors, personal contributions, gifts
We hope to get support from individuals and families of means who share our concerns, and who are ready to reach into their pockets to give proof that the struggle for sustainable cities must engage us all.

World Streets is going to need significant financial support if it is to continue through 2010. Despite the many volunteers pitching in with ideas, articles and encouragement, our programs are still costly to run and require an annual budget on the order of EUR 100,000 to get the job done. (There is a lot going on here, the iceberg under the tip, which is needed to get the journal out each day and which of course you never see, including management and oversight of all that goes into maintaining the New Mobility Agenda focus programs and sites – see www.program.newmobility.org to get an idea on that.)

This level of funding normally can come only from foundations, public agencies, or well-to-do individuals. But there is plenty of scope for smaller, more strategic donations as well, and here is maybe where you will have some ideas. Your counsel and initiative will be helpful in several ways.

• By making a contribution – large or small – you are sending us a strong signal that what we are doing has value.

• Your contributions will help us to fund the diversity of our existing programs at the quality level and frequency you are used to.

• An active contributor base helps us equally to turn to the foundations, agencies, and individuals that can make more sizable contributions to help us make-up a budget shortfall.

5. How to transfer funds:

Make immediate payment via Paypal or credit card:
Payment by Paypal is simple and fast:

(1) Click www.paypal.com.
(2) Enter your account (or set one up quickly (and safely) as indicated).
(3) Click “send money”.
(4) Address: association@ecoplan.org.
(5) Amount.
(6) Click “Personal”.
(7) Click “Gift”.
(8) Thank you for helping World Streets to continue in 2010.

PayPal also has provision for paying by credit card. It is fairly well explained on the site.

To make direct bank wire transfers:

Account Holder: Association EcoPlan International
Account no. 00010465401
Crédit Industriel et Commercial de Paris
Succursale BR (Montparnasse)
202 Blvd. Raspail / 75014 Paris, France
SWIFT: CMCIFRPP
IBAN : FR76 3006 6106 2100 0104 6540 105

If you prefer to send a check direct our mailing address is:

Association EcoPlan International
8/10, rue Joseph Bara
F75006 Paris, France

Kindly make your check payable to “Association EcoPlan International”.

6. The last mile:
(The “last mile” or “last kilometre” is the final leg of delivering connectivity from a communications provider to a customer.)
It is one thing to subscribe to and support World Streets, but quite another to figure out how best to fit all that can come with it into a busy schedule. We have several thoughts on this which we would like to put briefly before you.

For individual subscribers, here are three ways to be kept efficiently informed (Other than simply bookmarking the page and referring to it as you wish):

1. RSS feeds: To activate this you will see the necessary information in the upper left column of the site. Under the heading: “Free daily delivery: RSS”. (We find Bloglines.com entirely satisfactory.)

2. World Streets Forum: Alternatively you can sign into the World Streets Yahoo group forum by sending a blank email to WorldStreets-subscribe@yahoogroups.com . There you can select receiving individual notification either of all new postings or a daily summary.

3. The World Streets Monthly Report. Let us know that you would like to receive the monthly summary, for which all we need is your request and the e-mail address to which it should be set.

For larger organizations, these options also work but the problem remains how ensure that this information gets transmitted to your busy colleagues in an efficient way. We have been told by some of our long-time collaborators that they handle this through personal networks and internal list serves; but some organizations have internal communications systems which can be put to work for these purposes.

Some of our associated groups have taken the step of integrating summary information on the latest Streets articles directly into their websites. This can be done efficiently and in different ways. One that we quite like has been developed by the Oxford Transport Network in which you can see at http://oxtran.ning.com/. There they have placed a feed in their central column which automatically provides information on the last five articles. Other groups do the same but limited either to titles only or to the title with two or three lines of summary information. (We are told that since this information is automatically updated daily, it also serves to bring traffic to their web site.)


7. Seven reasons why you should pitch in and help us guarantee 2010:

1. Your vote for the future: Because if you are a parent or active citizen it is the right thing to do for your children, for your city, for your nation, and yes, for the planet. (And it is simple and cheap.)

2.Act now: Getting behind World Streets and the New Mobility Agenda demonstrates publicly that you give high importance to the critical vital climate/transportation link and the need for acting now — and not waiting about for some kind of long term deus ex machina that may or may not solve your and the planet’s problems.

3. Worldwide focus: It gives you an efficient way to track some of the things going on at the leading edge not only in your own country or regional grouping. Its genuine worldwide focus — North/South, East/West (and South/North) — reporting from source, brings to your attention projects, ideas and clues which otherwise you are just about certain to miss.

4. Re-defining the mainstream: By stepping forward you provide proof that you are part of the growing movement that is in the process of transforming sustainable transportation from a marginal activity, into the defining mainstream of 21st century transportation policy and practice at the leading edge.

5. Share with others: By doing your bit, you are helping make these ideas and materials available to cities, researchers, activists, and others all over the world, including many others who otherwise cannot even afford it on their own.

6. Make your voice heard: As a colleague and supporter, you and your team are in a position to work with the editorial staff from time to time to let the world know about your leading projects and accomplishments.

7. Step forward: And finally, if you do not step forward to do this, if we do not step forward to do this . . . who will?

For the rest, thank you in advance for your contributions, your counsel and your support. And if you wish to talk about any of this, here is how you can get in touch. Believe me, we will not be able to do this without you!

Eric Britton
Editor, World Streets
Tel. +331 7550 3788 • Skype newmobility
eric.britton@newmobility.org or fekbritton@gmail.org

PS. Have a look at who visited World Streets today. They have to be coming here for a reason.

Bottom line: Roads are for vehicles. Streets are for people. (No matter where you are in the world.)

Your editor was on automatic pilot this early morning, reading with half an eye the International Herald Tribune/New York Times as is his habit, and behold there in the Letters to the Editor column were a series of words which at first glance he thought he had written himself. (More coffee clearly needed.) Wrong, it was Lee Schipper commenting on an earlier Times piece on “Building Cambodia’s roads”. I quote:

Building Cambodia’s roads

Regarding the article “Cambodia’s routes to riches” (Jan. 19): While rural roads connecting major population centers are important for development, Cambodians rely mostly on bicycles, small motorbikes and their feet for transportation. This majority of travelers is usually the first sacrificed for cars and trucks. New roads tend to cut through smaller villages and lead to the deaths of pedestrians and cyclists, who are rarely considered by the road-building authorities.

Striking a balance between development, auto-mobility for the minority of Cambodians with cars, and the livelihoods of the majority, ought to be more important than opening tourist centers. Is this the only way for Cambodia to develop?

Lee Schipper, Ph.D. – schipper@wri.org
Project Scientist, Global Metropolitan Studies, UC Berkeley
Senior Research Engineer, Precourt Energy Efficiency Center, Stanford Univ.

# # #

Most of us who have managed to make our way to the right side of these issues have for some time made the vital distinction between roads and streets, for which the Executive Summary is: (a) roads are for vehicles and (b) streets are for people. And once you have figured that out, all kinds of good things can follow. (And you can find quite a bit more on this here by clicking http://tinyurl.com/ws-street

Thanks Lee for reminding us once again — and as we gear up to make our collective voice heard in Haiti this is one of the key points we need to make, make early, and make in a way that our voices get heard.

Eric Britton
Editor

Plan A for Sustainable Transport : The New Mobility Agenda and the Politics of Transportation

Plan Zero – also known as “old mobility” – with its stress on supply, more vehicles and more infrastructure as the knee-jerk answer to our mobility problems, has been the favored path for decision-making and investment in the sector over the last 70 years. It is well-known and easy to see where it is leading. Responsible for something like 1/5 of all greenhouse gas emissions, costing us a bundle, draining the world’s petroleum reserves, and delivering poor quality transport for the majority . . . Plan Zero is a clear failure. Time for Plan A: The New Mobility Agenda. Continue reading

Editorial: Do monorail projects deserve fair treatment? Part I: Building knowledge and consensus via the internet

Let me be very clear as to my motives here just so there is no ambiguity on my position. I would like no less than to drive a sharp stake through the dark heart of this egregiously unsustainable transport concept once and for all, so that we can concentrate our limited resources on approaches that are capable of doing the job and meeting the sustainability challenge head on. Which is exactly not the case with monorails. Let’s have a look. – Eric Britton, Editor Continue reading

World Streets goes to the movies. What’s playing in February 2010?

A new series inaugurated on 1 February, presenting a selection of outstanding videos, to be renewed over the year on a monthly basis. The idea is to invite our readers to check in from time to time to view some very different kinds of presentations and topics, with the objective of stimulating even greater variety in their thinking and problem-solving approaches. And to propose clips and ideas of their own.

You can find the small gadget that makes this work a bit down on the left column to the site. We have tried hard to make it transparent and easy to use. Each month you will find there a set of five selected short videos or extracts from films of TV programs, each running from less than a minute to a bit more than five for the longest. You can use view them either in the small box which appears on the home page, or alternatively click the rightmost control on the bottom control panel which will bring up the video full screen.

The selection for February includes:

1. “Homage to Hans Monderman”, a video lasting barely 80 seconds, made by our old friend and colleague Robert Stussi on the occasion of a visit to the city of Groningen in the Netherlands during the course of a two-day workshop organized by and in honor of our late and much admired colleague Hans Monderman. The person whom you see surging into the foreground was someone who simply showed up to say his piece when he saw the film being made. It turned out that he is an architect and local resident, as you can tell from his remarks, a fervent admirer of what the city is doing.

2. “Contested Streets” is a documentary produced by the New York City advocacy group Transportation Alternatives, exploring the rich diversity of New York City street life before the introduction of automobiles and shows how New York can follow the example of other modern cities that have reclaimed their streets as vibrant public spaces. Central to the story is a comparison of New York to what is experienced in London, Paris and Copenhagen. Interviews and footage shot in these cities showcase how limiting automobile use in recent years has improved air quality, minimized noise pollution and enriched commercial, recreational and community interaction. London’s congestion pricing scheme, Paris’ BRT (bus rapid transit) and Copenhagen’s bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure are all examined in depth. The 57 minute film was premiered in New York City on 27 June 2006 and is presently available for purchase at cost from Transportation Alternatives.

3. Happy Birthday Vélib. A film by the excellent NYC Streetfilms program, this recent classic provides a good background statement showing how the world biggest public bicycle project works. It just may make you want to come to Paris to try it out for yourself. Streetfilms produces videos that show how cities around the world are reclaiming their streets for pedestrians, cyclists and transit riders.

4. “Well, sir, there’s nothing on earth like a genuine, bona fide, electrified six-car Monorail!” A number of us are thinking deeply about the place of monorails in the sustainable transport mix, as you can see in the pages of World Streets and several of our related discussion groups. Here you have in less than two minute a sales pitch that is worth bearing in mind. Reality is not so far behind.

5. “Thirty seconds on sharing” has the advantage of being the shortest clip at 30 seconds, with a few brief worlds the editor of World Streets as he tried to avoid falling off his bike while still telling you a bit about why sharing is a concept that is going to do more for sustainable transport in the years immediately ahead than any other (For more on that check out the new project at www.ShareTransport.org.)

Coming attractions:
Check in to see and hear some of the most effective people and projects that are leading the sustainability movement.

In the meantime you can find more media on the work of the New Mobility Agenda cooperative media program at http://www.media.newmobility.org as well as a potpourri of related films and clips at http://www.youtube.com/my_playlists?pi=0&ps=20&sf=&sa=0&dm=0&p=97C28087196CD1D0. (This presently ragtag collection to be spruced up and expanded in the month ahead.)