Is World Streets doing its job? (The Netherlands/UK)

* We asked 100 international experts for their views.  101 have responded.

Dirk van Dijl

World Streets needs to catch on before my feet get wet.

Dirk van Dijl
Serial innovator
Founder City Car Club
Enterprise Britain
The Netherlands/UK


As climate change gathers momentum and in many areas gains acceptance as an actual problem, my business activities have taken me out of the realm of sustainable transport and back into what I might term normal, everyday transport. It turns out that this ‘real world’ has not changed much.

The love for fast cars with lots of toys is still there. The knowledge of alternatives is thin, trains are always late, full and dirty, buses are for passes and running is done in an air conditioned environment you drive to.

This has led to interesting conversations, so let me share the company car discussion. I have argued against company cars for many years, as I have found that by letting people drive personal cars for business they look at low fuel usage, they drive slower and they get smaller cars. But one of the companies I work with is looking at company cars and has ordered some Japanese pickup trucks with crew cabs. For the uninitiated these are pickup trucks with four doors and five seats, so really a car with a wheel barrow on the back.

These vehicles come with leather, sat nav, big engines, automatics, big on fuel and road space usage. However, they offer one big advantage – they are considered commercial vehicles so there is no tax on them. Now how can I argue against that?

Against that same background governments are bailing out the car manufacturers whilst thousands of other businesses are failing all around us, they are incentivising people to buy new cars (which will be used more as they are comfortable and reliable) and they are giving tax benefits to driving fuel guzzlers. Governments also back the bicycle sharing clubs – give me an example of a success here – they get involved with the car sharing clubs – give me an example of a real business success here – they encourage people to use public transport – even I cannot afford to travel by train in the UK anymore in many cases and I try hard.

The challenge is to make the alternative to the flash car as exciting and enticing as the flash car was. Simply saying it is good for the environment may catch on, but probably not before the sea levels have risen several inches.

World Streets needs to catch on before my feet get wet.

W. Dirk van Dijl
Hastings, E. Sussex UK

ws-newsstand-captionWORLD STREETS: Since 2009 creating open, generous peer networks to improve the world’s streets and public spaces. Helping in many small ways to make smart people smarter. And your city a better and fairer place. – – > More here!

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About the editor: 

Eric Britton
13, rue Pasteur. Courbevoie 92400 France

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

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