Op-Ed. On Motorized Two-Wheelers in Taiwan (and cities around the world)

Taipei M2Ws at intersection - larger

World Streets has for some years now  pushed hard for the idea of an integrated strategic planning approach and operations plan for the better, safer use of motorized two wheelers in and around cities. This has largely been an uphill struggle.  Not to claim that there have not been innovations and improvements here and there. But for the most part, this creeping problem continues insidiously to take on ever great proportions, while those responsible continue to look elsewhere. We really need to do better than that.

Which is one of the reasons that since 2010 we have insistently solicited articles and references from different countries concerning M2Ws, which you can find here under  https://worldstreets.wordpress.com/tag/m2w/. This op-ed contribution by Dr. Wayne Gao was set off in a discussion which had as its origin a recommendation by the Britton Advisory Mission to Taiwan of 23-30 January, which you can find here 

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Op-Ed. On Motorized Two Wheelers in Taiwan

World Streets has for some years now  pushed hard for the idea of an integrated strategic planning approach and operations plan for the better, safer use of motorized two wheelers in and around cities. This has largely been an uphill struggle.  Not to claim that there have not been innovations and improvements here and there. But for the most part, this creeping problem continues insidiously to take on ever great proportions, while those responsible continue to look elsewhere. We really need to do better than that.

Which is one of the reasons that since 2010 we have insistently solicited articles and references from different countries concerning M2Ws, which you can find here under  https://worldstreets.wordpress.com/tag/m2w/. This op-ed contribution by Dr. Wayne Gao was set off in a discussion which had as its origin a recommendation by the Britton Advisory Mission to Taiwan of 23-30 January, which you can find here 

Taipei M2Ws at intersection - larger

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Taiwan Mission Recommendations : 23–30 January 2014 (Peer Review and Commentary)

taiwan - taipei - scooters at stop light

 A morning like all others in Taipei traffic

Lyon, 3 February 2015

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

It had been a year and a half since I last worked in Taiwan, the longest separation since I started collaborating with colleagues there in 2009. During much of this interval, in addition to my teaching, editorial responsibilities and advisory work, I have been working on a most challenging new book under the title “General Theory of Transport in Cities”. The book aims to set out what I believe to be a much needed, consistent base for planning, policy and investment decisions in this important and fast changing field where ad hoc decision-making by unprepared politicians and ambitious interest groups has all too often prevailed.

This last year has been a period of deep reflection on my accumulated experience in the transport and sustainable development fields in cities around the world over more than four decades. As a result of this ongoing process, I find myself this time looking at the issues in Taiwan from this broader international perspective. My keynote address to the International Forum on Livable City & Eco-Mobility in Hsinchu on 29 January was the first in a series of international “road tests”, which are giving me a precious opportunity to present some of the main arguments from the book before expert audiences to test them and seek their critical comments and views.  The lively discussions that took place in Hsinchu during the forum and my four days there proved to be most valuable.

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Happy New Year from Pune: Traffic – Just like all of the rest of us

india car traffic

This New Year’s editorial contributed by Sujit Patwardhan focuses on his home city of Pune, India’s eighth largest city with five million people densely packed into a land area of about 700 sq. km. But despite the vast dimensions of their problems, the potential solutions are basically the same as those encountered by cities around the world that are struggling with these challenges. As Sujit reminds us, the key, the crux, the indispensable thing that will do the job is to apply the strong medicine which most cities and national governments find simply impossible to swallow: namely major curtailing of car access,parking and traffic in the city. And yet, and yet  . .

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Ten Targets for Sustainable Penang: 2013/2014

The goal of this year’s Sustainable Penang Autumn project is to use the dialogues maylasia - street art childrenand other contacts in order to define a series of at least ten “transformative actions” that can be planned and carried out over the fifteen months following this first program. With an eye to then reviewing progress action by action in a second event to take place in Penang in the opening months of 2015. A sort of open progress report and collaborative reflection for next steps.

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Charina Cabrido reports on SAFA Tempos (Electric three-wheelers) in Nepal

SAFA tempos or Nepal’s version of electric three wheelers are typically seen in Kathmandu’s busy streets. Running at an average speed of 60 kilometer per hour, safa tempos serve at least 127 thousand people everyday transporting individuals to their destinations.  This is quite a challenge for a country that has been constantly confronted with power cuts that reach sixteen hours a day especially during winter season. Continue reading

Managing Two and Three-Wheelers in Asia

Drivers of two-and three-wheelers are vulnerable to road accidents and deaths, and are exposed to high levels of air pollution. Two and three-wheelers remain important modes of transport in many Asian countries and cities now and in the future, and contribute to a large share of GHG emissions, air pollution and traffic congestion.

The project aims to encourage greater inclusion of two and three-wheelers in national plans and policies for urban planning, transport and environment, to address these issues.

Activities include:
• Preparation of a report to provide policy-makers and city authorities in Asian countries and cities updated information on issues relating to the increasing use of motorized two and three wheelers, including the various policies and regulations that have been and are being implemented by various Asian countries and cities.
• Preparation of a report for the Philippines focusing on alternative technologies for replacing 2-stroke three-wheelers

Donor: PCFV, CAI-Asia Center, PCA

Duration: November 2008 – December 2010

CAI-Asia contact: Bert Fabian, bert.fabian(at)cai-asia.org

download full report here.

Promoting road safety and clean air in Kathmandu

This is the second article in a series coming in from Nepal, showing how the combination of traffic restraint and the push toward the creation of pedestrian- friendly areas is giving results in their capital city. The reader should bear in mind that the traffic situation on most of the city streets is extremely chaotic and dangerous, above all as a result of the explosion of fast-moving two wheelers. The city also suffers from major air quality problems due to a noxious combination of heavy traffic, dirty engines, thin air, natural meteorological factors and its location in the high Kathmandu Valley.

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Motorised two wheelers on bike ways? Off they go!

World Streets is not favorable to bikeways being shared with motorized vehicles of any sort. To our way of thinking the only possible exception would be very low speed (20 kph max) electrical-assisted bikes, and that carefully enforced by the police. Here is what is going on in Amsterdam, one of the bike capitals of the world, on just this topic. Time to make this clear in all our cities. It’s a no-brainer. Off they go!

Away with scooters

Source: Nieuwsuit Amsterdam, 14-10-2009

Amsterdammers seem to be fed up with scooters on bicycle paths, because they endanger cyclists and pollute the air. There are 67,000 scooters and mopeds in Amsterdam. 25,000 have blue license plates, which means that they are allowed on regular bicycle paths.

The blue licence plates have once been introduced to allow old people with motor-assisted bicycles to ride more safely, argues Scato van Opstall in a letter to the editor of Het Parool. However, police seem to do little about abuse.

“As a result, thousands of racing, small particles emitting little scooters are pushing cyclists off the bicycle path. Or they are running over our children while hooting. How safe, these separate bicycle paths. And how healthy, the dust from their two-stroke engines when they pass you.”

In a letter to a bicycle safety action group, Alderman Hans Garson acknowledges that the growth of the number of scooters is ‘remarkable’ and that their use of bicycle paths is causing problems. He says that bicycle paths should be wider, but often this is impracticable.

Council member Fjodor Molenaar (GroenLinks) has argued that scooters and mopeds should be banned from bicycle paths. Ivar Manuel (D66) is sympathetic to the idea.

Referring to the colour of the licence plates, Marjolein de Lange of cyclists’ organisation Fietsersbond speaks of a ‘blue moped plague’. The municipality wants to address air pollution by promoting electrical scooters, but this is the wrong approach, she argues in an article in Fietsersbond magazine OEK.

Instead, the national government should allow only human-powered cycles on bicycle paths. Meanwhile, the municipality should enforce speed limits for scooters on bicycle paths as well as the ban on scooters in parks.

The Zuidoost District has just released a draft policy paper that proposes to tighten rules for the use of bicycle paths by scooters, which are more lenient in Zuidoost than elsewhere. The paper further recommends a crackdown on district staff who drive their cars on bicycle paths.

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Thanks to Todd Edelman for the heads-up.