From the New Mobility Agenda: Focus programs

“The significant problems we face cannot be solved by the same level
of thinking that created them.” — Albert Einstein

World Streets: The voice of the New Mobility Agenda

World Streets is the daily reporting arm of the New Mobility Agenda. Its content derives from adherence to a consistent set of overall program goals (mission statement), mediated by a network of collaborative relationships that have been built up over the last two decades, which bring together into cooperative fora more than one thousand collaborating expert colleagues and friends of sustainable transport worldwide.

Group problem-solving and collaborative tool development has been one of the key objectives of the New Mobility Agenda since its creation in 1988. Our thesis was and is that there are a growing number of able people and clever innovative projects around the world that are leading the way, and that it can be useful if we here at World Streets can help to better link and support them. The tools we have developed and continue to make pretty good use of are, by today’s standards, very simple, but they do work.

The New Mobility Agenda: An invisible college

Virtually all of the necessary preconditions are now in place for far-reaching, rapid, low-cost improvements in the ways that people get around in our cities. The needs are there, they are increasingly understood — and we now know what to do and how to get the job done. The challenge is to find the vision, political will, and leadership to get the job done, step by deliberate step:

But we must have a coherent, ethical, publicly announced, checkable, overarching strategy. Without it we are destined to play at the edges of the problems, and while we may be able to announce a success or improvement here or there, the overall impact that your city needs to break the old patterns will not be there. We really need that clear, consistent, omnipresent strategy.

The Agenda provides a free public platform for new thinking and open collaborative group problem solving, bringing together several hundred of the leading thinkers and actors in the field from more than fifty counties world-wide, sharing information and considering together the full range of problems and eventual solution paths that constitute the global challenge of sustainable transport in cities.

It’s time for a change

But the shift from old to new mobility is not one that turns its back on the importance of high quality mobility for the economy and for quality of life. It’s just that given the technologies that we now have at our fingertips, and in the labs, it is possible for us to redraw our transportation systems so that is less inefficient movement (the idea of one person sitting in traffic in a big car is one example, an empty bus another) and more high-efficiency high quality transportation that offers many more mobility choices than in the past, including the one that environmentalist and many others find most appealing: getting what you want without having to venture out into traffic. This is the basic nexus of new mobility.

Focus programs

The Agenda is organized into and supported by a collection of specifically targeted “focus programs”, continuing collaborative projects, each addressing one or more (but far from all) of the key building blocks of sustainable transport. More than two dozen of these focus programs have thus far been developed since the Agenda first got underway in 1988, of which you have the currently most active listed here. Each is supported by its own website and discussion forum and library.

It is not out-of-place here to repeat the strict 2-4 year results horizon and strategy that underlie all these initiatives — and of the paramount importance of rapid GHG reductions as a driver for policy, practice and reform in a sector that accounts for nearly one firth of all planetary emissions. That is the insistent hard-core of the Agenda

Active New Mobility Agenda programs and groups:

1. The New Mobility Agenda-
2. World Streets –
3. Nuova Mobilità –
4. World Share/Transport Forum 2010 –
5. World Carshare Consortium –
6. World City Bike Implementation Strategies –
7. Journal of World Transport Policy and Practice –
8. xTransit – Shared small vehicle systems –
9. World Car Free Days / New Mobility Weeks –
10. Kyoto World Cities –
11. Lots Less Cars in Cities (Idea factory) –
12. New Mobility City Dialogues –
13. Land Café: Value capture and land tax reform (Forum) –
14. Global South –
15. Gatnet: Gender, Equity and Transport Forum –
16. New Mobility Media Partnerships –
17. International Advisory Council –
18. New Mobility Knowledge Environment
19. Knoogle 1.1 –
20. Talking New Mobility (all discussion fora)–
21. World Eyes on the Streets Sentinels network –

Example of coverage and participation:

It is not without interest to reflect briefly on the message of the following map, which though it merely maps the locations of the last eighty visitors to the New Mobility Agenda site this morning nonetheless give us an idea as to where the search for new ideas and solutions is most underway. It is generally quite typical of the pattern that we observe for this project.

To close, a quick look at the map for the same period for the World Carshare Consortium discussions. This tells us where carsharing is for the most part happening today.

Which is fine, but far from enough. Our goal of course is to put it into every city and community on the planet. Carsharing is an integral part of our sustainable future.  But only one of a very large number of what we now know will be often quite small projects and tools. All of which we need for sustinable cities and sustainable lives.

Going from old to new mobility requires a lot of barn-building, collective action by engaged and competent individual citizens ready to put their minds and muscle together to build a better world (and, while they’re at it, a lot of better barns.)

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