Battle of Ideas: The People’s Republic of South Yorkshire

Moving cars or moving people? Through the looking glass

A bit of background on The People’s Republic (Wikipedia):

The People’s Republic of South Yorkshire or the Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire were nicknames often given to South Yorkshire under the left-wing local governments of the 1980s, especially the municipal socialist administration of Sheffield City Council led by David Blunkett, used by both detractors and supporters of the councils.[1] The councils pursued a social policy radically different from that of Margaret Thatcher‘s national government, following more closely along the lines of Militant tendency-dominated Liverpool City Council and the Greater London Council led by Ken Livingstone.[2] 

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Outreach for success: Local actors & implementation partners

Too often when it comes to new transport initiatives, the practice is to concentrate on laying the base for the project in close working relationships with people and groups who a priori are favorably disposed to your idea, basically your choir. Leaving the potential “trouble makers” aside for another day. Experience shows that’s a big mistake. We have to take a . . .
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A Think-Tank is Neither to Tarnish nor Burnish <—

Malaysia Penang Pedestrian in King crosswalk

* Civil society under attack in Penang Malaysia: This letter to the editor in response to warning issued to civil society by Penang’s Chief Minister

– By TK Chua, 8 July 2016 m.malaysiakini.com

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng is under a lot of pressure lately. However, his advice to Penang Institute, the think-tank funded by the state government, not to tarnish but burnish the image of the state government, needs some comments.

I think the purpose of a think-tank is neither to tarnish nor burnish the image of the state government. Both would be wrong.

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Mobilien: Better, Faster, Cheaper. . . than BRT (for Penang)

While Penang is thinking once again about its transportation arrangements, we are hearing a lot of late about BRT and tramways — and rightfully. Both a huge improvement over earlier proposals for a mad spaghetti mix of intrusive monorails, elevated LRT/LRV systems,  Sky Cabs hanging uselessly in the horizon, over-built road infrastructure projects  to serve and encourage yet  more car traffic, and a backbreaking  proposal for a sea tunnel that would bring yet more traffic into the island and in the process extend and multiply today’s traffic mess and associated inconveniencies

But before we make up our minds let’s also give a thought to another less well known mobility option, the Mobilien.  It may be just what you were looking for.

Paris Mobilien 1

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Brainstorming the Penang Transport Master Plan(s)

Penang MP Poster top illustrationDraft introduction: Welcome to a collaborative thinking exercise inviting  any and all who may have some questions about the focus, the vision and in the end the quality of future mobility services as being proposed and aggressively pushed by the state government of Penang. The central instrument for this group investigative process is a group of poster illustrations which combine simple images and a few telling words in order test our understanding of the Penang Transport Master Plan — all this as  prepared for the recent Gertak Sanggul Art Festival by Kin Yin and a group  of young collaborators (who will be identified shortly in the final section of this first presentation).

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Sustainable Penang: Additional “background information reports” needed to support 2016 Master Plan rethink

brain2For the working purpose of this collaborate rethinking of transport policy and planning in Penang, we have now placed on line the first six main volumes that constitute the bedrock of the 2012/13 Halcrow Consultants series – which you will now find at https://goo.gl/veBcIh.

But the reports also refer in various places to six additional documents that appear to be important and that we will need to be able to access and study in order to interpret and decide about the usefulness of specific elements of the series. These are titled as follows:

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International networking to support Sustainable Penang project

Lyon, France. 1 August 2015. The following is a working draft in progress. We post it at this time to invite our readers’ views, correction and eventual additions. It is part of our ongoing volunteer work to support the Sustainable Penang project.

International networking

flags at UNUp until the present time virtually all of the networking and exchanges under this project have taken place within Penang and Malaysia more generally. However as of mid-2015, the leader of this mission has concluded that the role and participation of international organizations and various specialized agencies is going to be critical to bringing about a better informed and more coherent transport and land use policy in Penang.

These State and other concerned local organizations have a great deal of catching up to do, and all of this will become much easier if they take advantage of international partners and sources to ensure that their policies take advantage of past experience and leading practices in other places. The problem is not so much one of money, as it is of knowledge, vision, strategy and leadership.

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SKY CAB BLUES IN PENANG

penang skycab - reversed
* See article in today’s The Star Online at Source: http://goo.gl/JmlZ1D

There are two things that are badly wrong with this proposal.

The first, and by far the easiest to deal with, is that it is a silly, amateurish and quite inappropriate mobility project, a waste of taxpayer money, unacceptably ad hoc and a waste of valuable time (in that it distracts attention and resources from the real challenges). Every international transportation professional with a serious education in the field has known that for the last two decades– other of course than those who just love this kind of technology and/or are in the hire of the eventual suppliers. So off it goes.

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Keynote : International Forum on Livable City and Eco-Mobility – Hsinchu, Taiwan. 29 January 2015

taiwan Hsinchu eb in traffic smaller long

Intersection in the central  OSK  demonstration site

The following PowerPoint slides were created to accompany a fifty minute keynote address by the editor of World Streets to the International Forum on Livable City and Eco-Mobility hosted by the Hsinchu city government in Taiwan on 29 January 2015. (A video of the address to be made shortly available.)

The presentation addresses and comments on the challenges being faced by this recently elected new administration, including in the context of his book in progress “Convergence: General Theory of Transport in Cities “, with discussion as well of sections of the recently published book of the Canadian urbanist and writer Charles Montgomery, “Happy City: Transforming Our Lives through Urban Design”.

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Fair Mobility: Can your city learn some lessons from Malta?

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 Malta  poor sidewalksthemselves 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?

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Editorial: No FFPT without SCR (Systematic Car Reductions)

This is a simple fact! Fare Free Public Transport (FFPT) has no possible justification whatsoever unless your governing officials are willing to do something about adjusting the other half of the modal mix to bring down car ownership and use in the city strategically and as quickly as possible . . . SCR – Systematic Car Reductions.

canada-vancouver-road closed - smaller

The tools for achieving these necessary adjustments in the modal split are well known, experience-proven and widely used in cities of all sizes in many parts of the world. There is no possible justification that competent public authorities not be aware of these proven tools and policies. They include most notably: Continue reading

Zero Fare Public Transport in Tallinn shows a way

The topic of “free public transport” (FPT), or better yet “zero fare public transport” (ZFPT), is one that has gotten considerable attention here in World Streets over the last several years, on the grounds that it is an extremely rich concept which is worthy of careful attention. If at first humanistic and caring glance it appears to be a great and just concept, the fact is that like much of life it is more than a little complicated. Let us have a look at a recent article which first appeared in the pages of our sister publication Citiscope, which we reproduce here with their and the author’s permission. ZFPT in Tallinn, an insider’s view
estonia tallinn bus fpt

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Brainstorm: Carsharing, and New Thinking about Transport in Cities

World  Carshare  Cities Program 2013 : Brainstorming notes of 11 April 2013

invisible car - 2

1. There are many many different ways to share cars in 2013 (far more in fact than most of even the experts talk about when they make presentations on carsharing).

2. This mix of ways of delivering these services is evolving at a speed that makes it a real challenge to keep up with the pace of developments. Even for the experts. Continue reading

Big House Equity Outreach: Bring in All Local Actors, Views & Implementation Partners

Too often when it comes to new transport initiatives, the practice is to concentrate on laying the base for the project in close working relationships with people and groups who a priori are favorably disposed to your idea, basically your choir. Leaving the potential “trouble makers” aside for another day. Experience shows that’s a big mistake. Instead from the beginning we have to take a . . .

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Program Announcement: World Carshare 2013 Policy/Strategies Program for Local Government

CS -mindmap-horiz-20feb13

Carsharing has a brilliant, in many ways surprising and certainly very different future — a future which is already well in process. Carsharing is one of the fastest growing new mobility modes, with until now almost all services occurring in the high income countries. But it is by and large new, unfamiliar and does not fit well with the more traditional planning and policy structures at the level of the city. This is a problem. And addressing this problem is the goal of this cycle of reports and events in the year ahead. Continue reading

The future of the car in the city: Vol. 1., No. 1. Carsharing Policy Guide for local government

car in fog on street-largeDear Reader,

The future of the car in the city is morphing fast and is going to be very different from the suddenly long gone 20th century. But this we here are all well aware of. After all we have been swapping information and insights on these issues and challenging each other for more than a decade on a number of New Mobility fora.

Today we want to share some information with you on a new collaborative project that is just forming up, namely to create an expert  guide for mayors and local government specifically  in the field of carsharing. Continue reading

What is the right price for “Free” Public Transport?

No Dorothy, it would be nice but there is no such thing as a free lunch. Not even in Kansas. Our cities need money to operate and maintain all the many parts of their hopefully high quality “public transport” systems”, but they also need schools, sanitation, health facilities, elderly care,  parks and public spaces, security, jobs to give everyone a chance for a full life in a peaceful community . . . and the long list goes on.  Transport, which can finance itself largely, if you have the brains to get it right, should not be poaching from these no-less critical basic needs of the community.  More,  we need our public transport systems (21st century definitions) to be both freely and extensively used (what is sadder than an empty bus!) — and at the same time build in provisions so that the system is fully equitable as well as efficient. Continue reading

What do you think the mayor is thinking about when you walk through the door this morning to talk to her about that very important transport issue?

When I or anyone else with a transportation issue burning in the front of our brain, walk into City Hall  to talk to the mayor about the important topic which bring us into her office, here is what we implicitly assume is her dominant preoccupation behind these exchanges:

If only it were so. Continue reading

On Building New Mobility Ecosystems: Madame the mayor has some questions

The Mayor speaks: I understand Professor that you are preparing a major public address on new transport ideas for our city tomorrow. My staff tells me you are calling it “On Building New Mobility Ecosystems”. Now that sounds quite intriguing, but can you tell me in a few words that you have in mind to talk to us about? Continue reading