Honey, you gotta slow down

It is the consistent position of this journal that much of what is wrong with our current transportation arrangements in cities could be greatly alleviated if we can find ways just to slow down.  A bare five miles per hour over the speed limit on a city street, and . . .

Editor’s comment:

(If you click here to http://newmobilityagenda.blogspot.com/search/label/slower you will have before you all of the postings thus far published in our “slow it down” series.)

On slowth: And here is an entry we made some time back in Wikipedia on the concept of slowth to get the ball rolling. Have a look and if you are up to it, please improve.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Slowth is a new mobility transport planning concept, usually deployed in congested urban environments, where transport is calibrated for lower top speeds, but the result is shorter overall travel times across the entire system.[1]

The concept of slowth is sometimes compared to the story of The Tortoise and the Hare; the paradoxical notion that slowing the top speeds of transport will when properly engineered allow more people to get to their destinations more quickly. An example is that where there is sufficient traffic congestion, a bicycle may get to its destination more quickly than say a Ferrari. When a city adopts a policy of slowth, the top speeds will be lower, but congestion decreases because the slower speeds result in steadier traffic flow.[1]

This is a powerful model which urban planners and traffic engineers, with a few notable exceptions, are only recently starting to take seriously. An important new mobility concept, it is also referred to as “slow transport.”

In the report “Speed Control and Transport Policy” (Chapter 10, on speed limits in towns, Policy Studies Institute, 1996) Mayer Hillman and Stephen Plowden describe an experiment in Växjö, a Swedish town of 70,000, which showed very small time penalties arising from some fairly substantial speed reductions at 20 junctions. The Swedish researchers used the results to simulate what would happen if similar speed-reducing measures were introduced at 111 junctions throughout the town and concluded that there would probably be a small net time saving.[2]

In recent years it has gotten steadily increasing attention both in the literature but above all as part of the on-street sustainable transport strategies of a growing number of leading programs and projects around the world (See listing below).

See also (Hot links in Wikipedia article – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slowth

• Cittaslow (Slow cities movement, in English)
• Home zones
• Livable Streets
• New Mobility Agenda
• Pedestrian#edestrianisation
• Public space management
• Road traffic control
• Shared space
• Slow movement
• Street hierarchy
• Sustainable transportation
• Traffic calming
• Walkability
• Walking
• Woonerf
• World Streets

Again, please consider adding to and improving this article.

# # #

Eric Britton
9, rue Gabillot, 69003 Lyon France

Bio: Trained as a development economist, Eric Britton is a public entrepreneur specializing in the field of sustainability and social justice. Professor of Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy at the Institut Supérieur de Gestion (Paris), he is also MD of EcoPlan International, an independent advisory network providing strategic counsel for government and business on policy and decision issues involving complex systems, social-technical change and sustainable development. Founding editor of World Streets and the Journal of World Transport Policy & Practice, his latest work focuses on the subject of equity, economy and efficiency in city transport and public space, and helping governments to ask the right questions and in the process find practical solutions to urgent climate, mobility, life quality and job creation issues. More at: http://wp.me/PsKUY-2p7

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