Speed is a fact and cars have priority in urban areas. Source: © iStockphoto.com / Sze Kit Poon.
The “Slow Cities” movement promotes the deceleration of urban life. In Spain, six urban centers are already attached to this initiative, which began in Italy in 1999
“Slow Cities” are characterized by a way of life in which their citizens slow down, traditional tradition and ways are valued, without neglecting the technological advances that help to improve the quality of life. These cities acquire a personalized style and are no longer part of a homogenized world. It is the movement “Cittaslow”, which began in Italy in October 1999 has spread throughout the world.
* Article by Rosae Martín, from Microtendencias21, Nov. 7, 2013
The construction of a well-defined, broadly accepted agenda for New Mobility until the present time has been sadly lacking. But what we and a numb er of our international colleagues have managed to develop over the last two decades is a certain number of agreed basic principles spanning many different areas and kinds of operational situations, but somehow until now we have failed to put them all together into a well-defined, convincing operational and policy package. We think of this as the move toward a new paradigm for transport in cities – and it all starts with . . . slowing down.
Today I would like to extract and comment on some of the graphics and thoughts developed by our colleague Carlosfelipe Pardo in a presentation which he entitled “The psychology of urban mobility”. I have extracted from his presentation three sets of images which I would now like to present you and comment briefly. (For the full original presentation please click here.)
Matts-Åke Belin has a job title that might sound a little foreign to an American ear, but one that’s very important in his home country of Sweden: traffic safety strategist. He holds that position with the Swedish Transport Administration, where he has been one of the key architects of the policy known as Vision Zero. Since approved by the Swedish parliament in October 1997, Vision Zero has permeated the nation’s approach to transportation, dictating that the government manage the nation’s streets and roads with the ultimate goal of preventing fatalities and serious injuries. It’s a radical vision that has made Sweden an international leader in the area of road safety.
WordPress.com stats helper prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 58,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 21 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
Click here to see the complete report.
This carefully compiled seasonal report from Todd Litman of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute is a fine tool and up to date source guide for researchers and policy makers worldwide. We are pleased to present it in its entirety here, together with references you will find handy to take these entries further. Thanks for your fine continuing work Todd.
It’s no secret that just about anywhere you go in the Netherlands is an incredible place to bicycle. And in Groningen, a northern city with a population of 190,000 and a bike mode share of 50 percent, the cycling is as comfortable as in any city on Earth. The sheer number of people riding at any one time will astound you, as will the absence of automobiles in the city center, where cars seem extinct. It is remarkable just how quiet the city is. People go about their business running errands by bike, going to work by bike, and even holding hands by bike.
Some fine people in Australia remind us today in a blog entitled Gizmodo about one of the many historic predecessors of the Car Free Day movement, more formally launched at an international conference in Toledo Spain in 1992 (see Thursday: A breakthrough strategy for reducing car dependence in cities) . We need to keep an eye on those Dutch. They seem to be on to something.
Car Free Sunday, Netherlands, 1973
Reaching new fundraising heights, Uber is now seeking to conquer the world — willingly or by force. Neither white knight nor bloodsucking scoundrel, Uber is posing tough questions to our culture of innovation in Europe
The smartphone-driven rideshare and taxi alternative service company Uber, founded in 2009 and headquartered in San Francisco, has announced for the second time in 2014, a billion dollar-plus fundraising! The company, which offers applications linking customers with drivers, now overtakes records previously held by Facebook: € 2.7 billion raised (with $ 600 million of additional potential), and a market valuation at $ 40 billion.
Yet if Uber is known to the public it is more for the controversies it is raising in its “war” against the taxis, which has in recent months turned into a crusade against all comers and for “free mobility”: against street taxis, against national governments and regulators, against local governments, and even against less controversial private hire services (in France the so-called VTC hire services have joined a lawsuit against Uber).
World Streets is today kicking off a series of invited articles by authors from different countries and backgrounds, presenting their views on the topic of “The Uber Generation: Rogue Capitalism or Critical Paradigm Shift”. It is expected that this series will continue over the months ahead. The present posting is being circulated to friends and others who have expressed interest in this particular angle of the New Mobility Agenda as an advance announcement and call for criticism, ideas and contributions.
Unburying hidden treasures from the Journal: 1995-2015
We could use a bit of help to get the following job done. It has to do with a new collaborative program about to get into full swing in 2015 — The Archives of World Transport Policy & Practice (WTPP) under development at https://worldtransportarchives.wordpress.com. The goal of this new project is to see if we can, with a little help from our friends, create a comprehensive, easy-to-use, free platform offering ready access to the full contents of the close to seventy editions of the Journal of World Transport Policy & Practice that have published under the leadership of Founding Editor John Whitelegg since 1995, but which at present technology are a bit isolated. The present article provides some first background on this project in process. If you might be interested to lend a hand, please get in touch and we can talk about it.
This illustration shows how it should be: Disabled kids in developing countries should be able to get to school using a variety of accessible transport in order to learn alongside other kids. We hope you will help us as we work with others to turn this vision into a reality.
Can your city learn some lessons from Malta when it comes to proving fair mobility for all, including those with mobility handicaps? (Lessons that they themselves are, ever so sadly, not learning. At least not thus far. ) Let me put this in other, stronger words. If your city is not giving careful attention to these equitable pedestrian issues, well you are living in a seriously underdeveloped, inequitable, third-rate city. Face it! Let us hear what Kevin Cutajar of the Gozo Federation Persons with Disability has to say on this as he goes eye to eye with government authorities on this important issue. If he does not speak up, who will?
Lyon, 23 November 2014
Dear Penang Friends and Participants in the Sustainable Penang/New Mobility Agenda program,
An end-year note from Lyon to let you know that in the year ahead my colleagues and I intend to persist in our efforts to support the efforts to bring sustainable transport to Penang. For the time being and to keep the project alive, this takes the form of (a) maintaining our Sustainable Penang/New Mobility Agenda website at https://sustainablepenang.wordpress.com (currently being kept up to date and followed by 153 people both in Penang and beyond) and the supporting Facebook site at https://www.facebook.com/SustainablePenang (117). (You can see a bit more about how these information and exchange points are working in the two maps at the end of this posting.)
After careful consideration I have come to two conclusions about the reality of the transport situation in Penang which I firmly believe are critical to your future and which I would now like to share with you. Good news, and less good news.
Just how bad are “best practices” when it comes to the streets and sidewalks of our cities?
When it comes to city streets it is truly weird what we seem to be placidly willing to accept as “normal”.
Sarah Goodyear, Atlantic Citylab: What were the main barriers that had to be overcome in initially adopting Sweden’s Vision Zero strategy?
Matts-Åke Belin, Swedish traffic safety strategist: I would say that the main problems that we had in the beginning were not really political, they were more on the expert side. The largest resistance we got to the idea about Vision Zero was from those political economists that have built their whole career on cost-benefit analysis. For them it is very difficult to buy into “zero.” Because in their economic models, you have costs and benefits, and although they might not say it explicitly, the idea is that there is an optimum number of fatalities. A price that you have to pay for transport.
The problem is the whole transport sector is quite influenced by the whole utilitarianist mindset. Now we’re bringing in the idea that it’s not acceptable to be killed or seriously injured when you’re transporting. It’s more a civil-rights thing that you bring into the policy.
The other group that had trouble with Vision Zero was our friends, our expert friends. Because most of the people in the safety community had invested in the idea that safety work is about changing human behavior. Vision Zero says instead that people make mistakes, they have a certain tolerance for external violence, let’s create a system for the humans instead of trying to adjust the humans to the system.
Vienna, Austria. 16 November 2014
Dear Worst Practitioners,
You are going to have to exercise your Polish for the finer points but 90 seconds spent strolling this new tram stop in Łódź, Poland tells an interesting story of who loves whom most in this modernizing city. 3.5 meters for the cars, 85 cm for the public transport user.
Click here for instructive video.
On 11 November, the following question was posted by James Craig Wightman, one of the leaders of Malta’s hard-pressed cycling activist program, to the World Streets Facebook site.
Not sure if this is worthy of the Worst Practices page so thought I’d ask your opinion. As of tomorrow bus lanes in Malta will be open for car pooling cars and electric vehicles as well. While it’s a laudable notion, it remains to be seen how this will effect cyclist and motorcyclist rider safety. Up to now we knew the only cars that would (or should) be passing us were Taxi’s. Motorcycles were also allowed to use the lane. We knew that other private cars were not allowed and this meant we knew who to look out for (the idiot breaking the law and dangerously trying to squeeze past). Now its not so clear, neither is it clear how this will be enforced (a big problem in Malta) and managed. So I’m deeply concerned about cyclist safety with higher traffic volumes on the bus lanes, and particularly electric cars creeping up silently on cyclists. While you need to ask why other two wheeled traffic lost out (that will now filter down files of traffic).
World Streets is intended as a convenient way to follow developments at the leading (and lagging) edge of sustainable mobility world wide, as a journal of record, and as a resource. Many of our readers for the most part keep their eye out for the latest articles, but there are also others — students, researchers, citizens looking for background on specific topics — who need to have efficient access to what the full site has to offer as a resource. Which, it turns out, is quite a lot.
This out of control bulimic spiral begins with man’s uncontrollable tool-making itch, and from there, and utterly unknown to us at the time, to tools which take on transforming lives of their own — one of which in the domain of mobility being ever-increasing speed, which in turn leads to ever-increasing distances, and which finally and in largely unnoticed fatal tandem destroys the reality and oh-so important qualities of proximity and community. What we thought at the time was merely more convenient transportation, has snuck up on us and turned into very inconvenient and altogether unanticipated transformation — in fact one of the most intractable challenges of transport policy and practice of the 21sr century
How to break this vicious spiral? Well in cities anyway the key is clearly significant, strategic speed reduction in combination with a phased, multi-step systemic overall as needed to create a truly optimized mobility system for all. And happily we now have the technical tools (the technical virtuosity) to get the job done. We shall see this spelled out more clearly here over the course of the coming months, but before leaping ahead, let’s step back a bit in time and see what Contributing Editor Professor John Whitelegg had to say on this subject in the pages of the Journal of World Transport Policy and Practice, way back in 1993.
Why is it that virtually every major transport project built in the last decades in just about any part of the world has cost a great deal more than the original engagement, and served far fewer people than originally forecast? This pattern repeats itself time and again. Since the ones who end up holding the bag every time are the hard-working and apparently infinitely gullible taxpayers, it is possible to come to a conclusion. And that has to be that, up to now at least, we are terminally stupid, we fall for the same old trick every time. Why is that, and what are its implications for the quality of mobility services in your city and metro area? We invited Dr. Colin Black who is currently working to get a handle on these issues from an overall European perspective to share his thoughts with us.