What are the World Transport Archives and how do they work?

Dear Readers,

work in progressWe have been hard at it supporting and contributing to the Journal of World Transport Policy and Practice under the leadership of John Whitelegg since 1995. We are now in the 19th year of publication with seventy editions already in circulation, offering close to three hundred original articles by contributors from every continent on the planet. An extremely valuable and unique resource.

But a book or journal is not only a valuable source of information, but to an extent it also works as a kind of prison. This may not be immediately self-evident. But if you look closely you will see that once something gets published and a few years pass, the individual articles tend, no matter how brilliant and insightful, all too often to get lost in the rush of time.  And particularly of course if we are talking about a collection. And that is what this project is all about. (And if you think “Free Willy” you actually do have a point.)

The WTPP Archives are intended to serve anyone who may have missed these articles the first time around, and in particular younger researchers, academics, activists and people working with transportation/environment/cities groups and agencies in cities and countries on all continents.  At the same time this site and its several social media extensions provides an opportunity for comment and discussion.

 * To access Archives click to http://worldtransportarchives.wordpress.com/

* To receive updates, see upper right Subscribe button.

But before we get into this, let’s take a step back to remember the original purpose and mission of the journal as set out at its founding.

Journal of World Transport Policy and Practice: At the starting line

World Transport Policy & Practice is a quarterly journal which provides a high quality medium for original and creative work in world transport.

WTPP has a philosophy based on the equal importance of academic rigour and a strong commitment to ideas, policies and practical initiatives that will bring about a reduction in global dependency on cars, lorries and aircraft.

WTPP has a commitment to sustainable transport which embraces the urgent need to cut global emissions of carbon dioxide, to reduce the amount of new infrastructure of all kinds and to highlight the importance of future generations, the poor, those who live in degraded environments and those deprived of human rights by planning systems that put a higher importance on economic objectives than on the environment and social justice.

The Journal embraces a different approach to science and through science to publishing. This view is based on an honest evaluation of the track record of transport planning, engineering and economics. All too often, these interrelated disciplines have embraced quantitative, elitist or mechanistic views of society, space and infrastructure and have eliminated people from the analysis.

Many of the issues raised within the transport debate do not fit into the narrow and stultifying disciplinary compartments that characterize science and Society in the developed world. This journal is topic and issue-based and will encourage as many contributions as possible from as many perspectives as possible.

Many of the issues raised will be controversial and this journal will publicize material from all sides of the debate. There is a solution to our global environment and local environmental problems, and there is such a thing as a sustainable city sustainable region and a sustainable community.

Solutions are more likely to emerge from vigorous debate, dissent and replies than they are from set pieces on transport economics, transport geography, transport engineering or traffic science.

To help it to reach a wide readership, encompassing advocates and activists as well as academics and advisers, WTPP is available free of charge as PDF files on the internet.

Vol. 1, No. 1. November 1995

The Journal first hit the street in November 1995 with Vol. 1, No. 1, offering a first collection of articles vigorously contesting mainstream thinking in the sector.  It included “The well travelled yoghurt pot” by Stefanie Böge, “The end of the urban freeway” by Peter Newman, “Urban transport policy paradoxes in Australia” by Paul Mees, “How Amsterdam plans to reduce car traffic” by Leo Lemmers, “New roads generate new traffic” by Rudolf H.H. Pfleiderer and Martin Dieterich, “Violence and the car” by Helmut Holzapfel, and “Living without a car” by Michael Glotz-Richter.

* To see how they stand the test of time, happily all you have to do is click http://wp.me/p2PF75-38

 Where do the Archives come in?

The Archives, like the Journal itself, are freely available and provided and supported by volunteers who believe in the power of Open Systems and collaborative problem-solving.

The first step in the creation of the Archives is to transfer the exiting PDF files to searchable form. This is a rather fussy process which is underway and for which, if you are a volunteer, we can always  use your help.

Then, cone when we bring the entire contents “live” here, the next step is to provide a set of search engines, which permit the reader to search the entire content of the archives: by key word, exact date, category/topic and year/month. You can see these search tools just to the right of the opening page of the Archives site. We also are working with a special Combined Search Engine which you will find there and which, though still needing additional work, gives the reader one more useful way to find what they are looking for.

Looking ahead:

It is now 2013 and looking back this has been an exciting, encouraging and often very challenging association. Over this time the Journal and its advocates have gradually moved from being very much a voice in the wilderness and now are stepping right into the critical mainstream of policy, practice and thinking in the sector. Which is exactly where we belong today.

It is our hope that the archives will serve to open up and reinforce the messages and the values  that have been set out by more than one hundred leading thinkers and authorities within these virtual covers now and in the years ahead.

Eric Britton,
Founding partner and member of the Editorial Advisory Board

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about the editor- 28feb13 - WHITE-2

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