Op-Ed: Is Tallinn’s “free public transport” initiative doing its job?

tallinn free pubic transport 2celsius.netAs previously documented on World Streets the city of Tallinn, Estonia implemented Free Fare Public Transportation (FFPT) in January of 2013 for all registered citizens of the city. A year and a half into this policy voices from politicians, the media and academia presented an array of opinions in favour of, and refuting benefits of the policy. Thus in May of 2014 I visited Tallinn to conduct interviews with City staff, independent environmentalist consultants and academics alike for my master’s thesis in Urban and Regional Planning Studies at the London School of Economics. My research question was ‘Is Tallinn, Estonia’s free fare public transportation policy meeting its claimed motives as stated by the city’s municipal leaders?

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Op-ed: Carsharing and Travel Behavior

Netherlands - carsharing two guys

By Friso Metz, CROW KpVV

Carsharing has a great impact on the travel behavior of people. In the literature on the subject’s attention to the question of how large these effects are. There is less attention to the question of why auto so strongly intervenes on behavior. Lately, I am very active with the subject carsharing been busy. Because I am also working a lot with behavior modification, it is time to examine the relationship between these two themes. Below I do a first step. I’m curious about your response!

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Separating women from the mainstream of life

Demand for women-only public transport rising globally

A headline in The Rakyat Post, a self-proclaimed independent daily in Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur published an article under this heading. You can read the full text here.

mexico - women only metro

Editor’s note: This saddens me greatly, not only for the indignities, affronts, and dangers suffered by women in these cases, because somewhere out there must be a better solution than this.

121 years ago for the first time, and only as a long, hard and for the most part lonely fight,  did women gain the right to vote as full equals in New Zealand — and it has taken more than a century for women to be able to exercise full voting rights in all but a handful of countries in the world. It has been a long and hard battle, and one is not sure that such measures as discussed in this article are really a step in the right direction.

Complex problems in complex systems tend to resist single solutions.

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World Streets Worst Practices to star in Graz, Austria

 WS Worst Practices ostriche

– From the editor

I have been invited to give a keynote address to the Urban Futures Conference that is to take place in Graz Austria this year from 18/19 November.  As you can well imagine it is something of a big deal with power speakers pouring in from industry, academy, the consulting world and all the other solid sources on information and wisdom in our field.

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The only elephant in the world who can turn on a dime

China, we have long said, is the only elephant in the world of nations who can turn on a dime. Here’s one example.

Kandi Technologies Group (KNDI) to Launch Car-Share Program in Chengdu; Will Deliver 1,000 Vehicles Before End of 2014

 

China - Kandi carshare vehicles - large

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The Psychopathology of the Everyday Driver. Part II: Brainstorming Protective Measures

little-girl3Upon reading the World Streets article of 25 Oct. on ‘The Psychopathology of the Everyday Driver’, Dr. Mah Hui, a city councilman in George Town Malaysia, commented:

It is very interesting and promising proposition which i can agree with substantially. But suddenly you break off when you just made the point that its more effective to design the roads to slow down vehicles. Do you have section 2 to suggest what types of designs have been used and might work?

In Penang, our council is using speed tables to slow down cars with limited success partly because it’s not well designed as I see the motorists and especially motor cyclist speeding up and crossing the speed tables at over 30 kph !  Even  with better designs how do we reduce their speed over stretches without the tables?

Regards/ Mah Hui

Oops. You are so right Ma Hui. I admit I was being a bit lazy in that first blast, but as luck would have it I have given this quite a bit of attention over the years and have had a  chance to observe both better (less) and worse (more) treatments in cities around the world.  And while I am by no means a traffic engineer, what I can offer this morning is a quick shortlist as it comes off the top of my head and memory, and with more than a little help from US Institute of Transportation Engineers Traffic Calming Library (www.ite.org/traffic/), along with an article just in from Partners for Public Spaces by Jay Walljasper entitled  “How to Restore Walking as a Way of Life”.

And now, in to the answer to your query, starting with a first lot of ideas for Slow Street Architecture:

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Op-ed: The Psychopathology of the Everyday Driver

speeding car pedestrian crossingSometimes life is simple:

Question: How fast will car drivers speed on any given stretch of road or street?

Answer: As fast as they can.

Qualification: And if that is not true for every driver on the road, it is true for enough of them that if road safety is the goal, then this brutal, uncompromising reality must be taken into serious consideration.

Question 2: Now what if anything can we do about it?

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Op-ed: Political behaviour is largely non-rational

When one considers how things have gone in the last decades or thereabouts, it is not easy to believe in the survival of civilization.

brain surgeryI do not argue from this that the only thing to do is to adjure practical politics, retire to some remote place and concentrate either on individual salvation or on building up self-supporting communities against the day when the atom bombs have done their work. I think one must continue the political struggle, just as a doctor must try to save the life of a patient who is probably going to die.

But I do suggest that we shall get nowhere unless we start by recognizing that political behaviour is largely non-rational, that the world is suffering from some kind of mental disease which must be diagnosed before it can be cured.

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Why transportation?

Why in all the welter and chaos of those many issues and trends that threaten our planet have we decided to focus on the much-needed, long-overdue, massive overhaul of the transport sector as our goal?  To understand this choice made some years ago have a look at this table which appears in an article by the noted physicist and  international environment scientist  Dr.  Robert U. Ayres in the latest edition of Exernomics http://exernomics.org.

rua on exernomiics fig 3

 

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Behind transport policy and choices lurks the 800 pound gorilla of economics.

Wall Street signWhich, if you have not noticed, does not seem to be working particularly well when it comes to guiding us (decision makers but also the voters behind them) toward better policy choices, even in matters purely “economic” (money, prices, interest rates, income distribution, taxation, regulation, growth, etc.).

With this harsh truth in mind, we try to keep up on matters economic, and several of our collaborative programs have this as their aim. One, EXERNOMICS, you can follow on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Exernomics/552738241538438 . Or directly via http://exernomics.ecoplan.org

Have a look and share your thoughts with us on this

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More on carsharing in Japan: 2014 update

japan carsharing logo 2014In the spirit of World Streets long term watching brief on carsharing developments  around the world, here is some current background on the status of carsharing from the land of the sun’s origin. And we are continuing to seek further details to give you a fuller picture of where it is and where it may be going.

In the meantime for more background 0n carsharing in Japan from World Streets, click here – http://goo.gl/m6XFcx

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Invitation: A New Moment for Carsharing in the Netherlands

Netherlands Witkar - Luud drivingThis week we completed the working report for the Dutch government, under the title: Going Dutch: A New Moment for  Carsharing in the Netherlands.  Over the remainder of this month we and the organisers are holding workshops and review sessions,presenting, discussing and critiquing the complete working draft.  The English version of the draft is now available for peer review and comment, so if you wish to have a look and be part of the process, please get in touch with the principal author via eric.britton@ecoplan.org.  Here you have the full contents of the report.

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Intermezzo: Would more and better carsharing make us happier people?

We are in the process of completing a report under the sponsorship of the Dutch government under the title “Going Dutch: A New Moment for Carsharing in the Netherlands”.  The report, which is aimed to inform local and national government policies, will be announced here shortly with full details, and proposed for an international peer review over the month of November against which copies will be made immediately available to all who step forward. As you will shortly see each of the six main chapters end with a broad thinkpiece on the topics covered taking some aspect from another, more exploratory angle.  We are calling these incidental sections, “intermezzi”.  In this article we reproduce the closing intermezzo, this time with thoughts on the topic of happiness.

carshare parking

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World Transport Policy & Practice – Vol. 20, No. 4. Sept. 2014

This issue of World Transport Policy and Practice is a significant milestone in the life of the journal. It marks 20 years of publication and for anyone with a serious interest in understanding the importance of transport, the links between transport, mobility and accessibility and the links with sustainability, health and quality of life, there is more than enough material here to work on.

At the outset we chose to emphasise the word “policy” and that remains a strong focus. 20 years of publication have examined policy in detail, more often the lack of intelligent policy, but always with a keen eye on “this is what we have to do if we want to improve things”. There is now no excuse for anyone anywhere in the world to sit at his or her desk on a Monday morning and wonder how to sort things out. The answers lie in our freely available archives.

uk-bus-queue-no excuses

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Earth Policy Institute reports on Public Bicycles

USA Earth Policy Institute logo

 

EPI Bicycle Share Fact Sheet

The prevalence of bicycles in a community is an indicator of our ability to provide affordable transportation, lower traffic congestion, reduce air pollution, increase mobility, and provide exercise to the world’s growing population. Bike-sharing programs are one way to get cycles to the masses.

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Carsharing in a time of turbulence

KpVV report title page top

 

Preface to forthcoming KpVV report

This is a report about something popularly known as carsharing. And you can be sure that we are not the only ones to prepare such a report. Already in 2014 alone hundreds of reports have been bitten on this exact topic from a wide variety of points of view. Why one more? Well in this case we intend to take a slightly different approach to the topic.

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Anybody who says that Berlin is great for cycling doesn’t know what they’re talking about

uk alternative dept of transport

Cycling in Berlin *

There’s so much to cover here in Berlin;  I have to tell you about the excellent public transport system, the suffocating dominance of car parking, the superb driving conditions, the less-than-superb cycling conditions, the at times downright hostile footways, the culture and attitudes, the VC-and-helmet-loving local cycle campaign, and so much more.

So this first post is a general overview of conditions for cycling in Berlin as I’ve experienced them these past five months, and I’ll begin with this statement:

Anybody who says that Berlin is great for cycling doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

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