Houston, we have a problem
Our cities are in crisis because they revolve around the car. It’s killing us, our communities and our economy.
Traffic congestion is one of the most significant problems and issues facing Governments, Councils and businesses around the world. In Australia, more than 80% of all trips are made by car and in New Zealander 83% of trips less than 2km are made by car. A British Social Attitudes Survey found that 71% of adults never cycle. Only 3% of Brits cycle every day or nearly every day. There are as many as 38 million empty car seats on the UK’s roads every rush hour.
“The problem is we’re all doing the same things – commuting, business trips and the school run – making the same trips by car at the same time, creating gridlock, congestion, queuing and travel delays’ says Transport Planner and Behaviour Change expert Rachel Smith.
(Relax. It’s the weekend. And nothing to do with climate change of course. Of course)
– Edgar Allan Poe (Boston, 1842)
THE “Red Death” had long devastated the country. No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its Avatar and its seal –the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains, and sudden dizziness, and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution. The scarlet stains upon the body and especially upon the face of the victim, were the pest ban which shut him out from the aid and from the sympathy of his fellow-men. And the whole seizure, progress and termination of the disease, were the incidents of half an hour.
But the Prince Prospero was happy and dauntless and sagacious. When his dominions were half depopulated, he summoned to his presence a thousand hale and light-hearted friends from among the knights and dames of his court, and with these retired to the deep seclusion of one of his castellated abbeys.
Important announcement: Mobility has been priced to move. Available in both paper and eBook form for less than USD 10.00. See http://tinyurl.com/zxclcz4
(Thank you John for thinking about students, fund-strapped NGOs and readers in developing, smaller cities with tight budgets.)
John Whitelegg, Professor John Whitelegg, is a remarkable man. He has spent his entire professional life as a scholar, teacher, critic, publisher, activist and politician, trying to make sense out of our curious world and the contradictions of transport and mobility. And in a successful attempt to bring all the threads together, what he has learned about our topic in three decades of international work spanning all continents, he has just produced for our reading and instruction a remarkable and, I truly believe, much-needed book. His title gives away the game – Mobility: Transport Planning Philosophy for a Sustainable Future.
Another day in morning traffic in Lagos
Stories of New Mobility Projects in Africa: Successes, Failures and Work in Progress
World Streets. Paris. 21 April 2018
Dear African friends and colleagues,
I’m in the process of trying to gather my thoughts on a book bringing together a collection of lively real world stories of attempted new mobility — what I like to think of as “pattern break” – projects that have been carried out in cities and rural areas in a dozen or so African countries. I want to emphasize here the choice of the word “stories” as opposed to when we hear more often in the literature, titles such as “case studies” or “best practices”. I think it is important to try to reach in and understand (Anyway, I do not believe in the concept of “best practices”, and tend to prefer the less blatant wording of better practices.)
The mobility/growth paradigm (or the mobility complex)
– By John Whitelegg, extract from his book MOBILITY. A New Urban Design and Transport Planning Philosophy for a Sustainable Future, Chapters 2 and 3. For more on the New Mobility Master Class program click here – https://goo.gl/BB2pPE
Mobility is most commonly measured, if at all, as total distance travelled per annum per capita in kilometres and/or total distance travelled per day per capita. There are other important dimensions e.g. number of trips made per day or number of destinations that can be accessed by different modes of transport in a defined unit of time but these are not generally measured in a systematic way or included in data sets. Usually mobility is not defined. It has become a rather vague concept associated with quality of life or progress and it is invoked as a “good thing” and something that should be increased. This is very clear in most national transport policies and at the European level where major transport policies and funding mechanisms are increasingly framed.
A recent EU research and development document (European Commission 2013a) begins with the main heading “Mobility for growth.” It does not define mobility. The document is an undiluted manifesto accepting and promoting the growth of mobility and advocating the importance of this growth for the success of wider economic policy objectives, asserting the unquestioned importance of endless economic growth and ignoring the voluminous literature on the impossibility of endless economic growth and of ecological and resource limits to growth (Douthwaite, 1992, Schneidewind, 2014).