We have often said that new mobility is a strategy which is ultimately made up of a very large number of often very small things that together make a difference. And so it is just in this spirit that we have decided to launch a new series in which you are invited to participate. It is the 2011 World Streets Bright Awards, celebrating “great small convivial ideas that are easy on the pocket and can be multiplied by thousands and make a difference”. It’s simple and works like this.
When we run across what we consider to be a genial new mobility idea with thousands-time multiplication potential that somehow shows the way to a more sustainable city, something that can be put in place simply, quickly and cheaply, and, once when the way has been shown, replicated in many places around the world without causing some kind of popular revolt or breaking the city’s bank, we decided that we needed to find a way to pick out and share widely these great small ideas.
The first of these 2011 Bright Awards is thus being made to the City of Basel for their development of the Basel Mobility Ticket. It works like this.
City of Basel Mobility Ticket
Like all truly great ideas it could not be simpler, so much so that you will wonder why you or your city had not thought of it before. It works like this.
Every visitor who stays in a hotel in the City of Basel in Switzerland is immediately handed without charge a Basel Mobility Ticket which is valid for the length of their stay in Basel (valid for local transport up to 30 days). Some hotels are geared to send vouchers for confirmed reservations that are valid as a ticket for the transit from the airport to the hotel. It looks like this:
The ticket offers the visitor free transport on the city’s public transport system, the TNW Tarifverbund Nordwestschweiz, good for unlimited travel in the central areas on the city’s buses and tramways. It is thus a partnership between the transporter and the city, with the cooperation of the city’s tourist office and all the local hotels. The service is paid for by the general visitor’s tax which is added to all hotel bills. It is not a huge deal.
It’s interesting to us that while the great idea has been around since start-up in 1999, it is the only city we know that has so far adopted this Bright idea and stick to it ( Swiss persistence you might say). Surely there must be others, but surely too it has the makings of what should be a universal New Mobility measure, one more small step among many others in the direction of sustainable transportation, sustainable cities and sustainable lives.
The Basel ticket provides us with a clear example of what we like to think of as “learning systems”, concrete ways of breaking the mental gridlock of unsustainable transport and unsustainable lives. First, it provides a clear example for other cities around the world to do the same. Second, for visitors who come from places that do not have decent public transport, or who may have some but think of it as “poor people’s transit”, after a few days of riding around on the efficient bus or trams of that beautiful and prosperous city, they can only be struck by the fact that public transport is not a second best. It’s a great way to get around in your city too.
Now, what about a New Mobility Ticket for your city? Should you be looking into it? (Let me help you with that one. Yes you definitely should.)
And what you will find is that one Bright idea will surely lead to others. New Mobility is like that; it’s viral.
# # #
Editor’s note: Hmm, if this is an award, what is the prize? Fair question. Well at this point, or at least until we find a sponsor for it, the award is an invitation to the innovators to come to Paris and take a two hour Vélib tour with our editor, visiting some of the outstanding new mobility projects that have been put on the streets here over the last decade. And, if we can arrange it, an opportunity for you to meet some of the people behind this great city’s on-going wave of sustainable innovation.
And if you have or know of a Bright measure, project or tool that you believe might qualify for this much coveted international award, please let us hear from you. That’s firstname.lastname@example.org. T. +331 7550 3788. Skype: newmobility