A Slow City is an urban development vision and quantifiable target, the first step of which is  (a) to reduce traffic accidents and their human and economic costs to zero  in the city, by (b) strategically slowing down traffic, over all the parts and the system as a whole. This gives the city a measurable target output (accident data and on-street and in-vehicle ITS feedback) for evaluation and management purposes,  and an innovative platform to link and serve other sustainable projects and programs which are consistent to the theme: reforms and improvements that are Better | Cheaper | Quicker.

But this is just a first step in a much more ambitious process. In parallel with this, a second but closely related program is  (c) to reduce stop-and-start driving through an aggressive technical program combining street architecture modifications, clear signage, smart signaling and state of the art modeling and ITS technologies.

This dual starting point sets a positive, visible base for further projects and initiatives which build on these two foundation concepts. The possibilities for expansion and variation are enormous.

The combination of slower traffic and greatly reduced start and stop driving will in turn lead to numerous benefits for all: among them, reduced GHG generation, improved fuel efficiency, reduced infrastructure and private vehicle costs, public health improvements, increased safety for pedestrians and cyclists, lower noise levels, less aggressivity on the part of drivers and others on the street, more agreeable streets, neighborliness, etc.

To meet its ambitious objectives this approach requires considerable technical virtuosity in the areas of data collection, measurement, systemic analysis, computer modeling and simulation, to ensure that all proposed measures are fully vetted and fine-tuned before being let out on the street.

The 2017 Slow City Reader brings you useful background from the pages of World Streets to lend a hand to planners,  researchers, policy makers, NGOs, students, media and other concerned with the challenges of sustainable cities in general, and in particular with those of calming traffic speeds in combination with other complementary measures. It also  contains a  five-part “transport researcher’s toolkit” to help those who are interested to dig deeper on these issues and the tools at our disposal to deploy them.

* Click here for Reader –

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About the author:

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 Association, 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, 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:

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