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.
How were the leading minds in Penang looking at the challenges of sustainable transport back at the turn of the century? Did you know this? In many ways considerably better than is the case today. They were lucid, they had focus, and they stuck with the issues at hand..
To bring you into the picture (above) let’s have a look at a presentation made back in 1999 introducing a collaborative civil society program at the time, called STEP – Sustainable Transport Environment for Penang. If you look closely you will note that just about all of the issues and recommendations that were being discussed back then, are every bit as topical today. But somehow we lost almost two decades.
What happened? Why did not this enlightened program take off at the time. We shall be looking at that closely in the coming weeks and seeing if we can learn at least some of the lessons of the past.
For those of you who do not know it, we do have a “publication arm” that works rather effectively, a collaborative blog which we set up in 2013 during my first visit to Penang, under the title Sustainable Penang: Toward a New Mobility Agenda. It is freely available at https://sustainablepenangagenda.wordpress.com/. A section of the home page is shown here, and to get the feel for how it works I recommend that you start with . . . START.
I mention this now because the blog invites contributions from those with useful knowledge or questions to share with our 173 international readers, while each posting is picked up by parallel social media sites on Facebook ( https://www.facebook.com/SustainablePenang , 153 readers), LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/groups/5084715), and Twitter (https://twitter.com/SustainPenang). Selected articles are also posted in World Streets (https://worldstreets.wordpress.com/), for the attention of our 4403 international readers).
This little picture gives us a few ideas about cars in China today. Important if we bear in mind that today is the first day of the future.
More than three quarters of the municipalities in the Netherlands are currently served by carshare operators (as opposed to 11% in 2002). The following listing has been compiled with the help of several friends and colleagues in the Netherlands, helping us to identify all of the carshare operators currently offering “traditional”, P2P or one-way services. This listing is part of the in-process “Going Dutch” project which got underway in December 2013 and has been introduced here on World Streets.
Before digging into the details, the important mechanics of carsharing, it is important for policy makers to ask these deeper questions if we are ever to be able to shift gears into sustainable transport, sustainable cities and sustainable lives.
This is an extremely important foundation question to which the short answer is: yes definitely. But let us dig deeper.
BICYCLING WITHIN A COMPREHENSIVE TRANSPORT PLAN,
TO SOLVING TRAFFIC CONGESTION
Dr Lim Mah Hui, Address to MPPP Council Meeting, October 25, 2013
We must start to draw up a bicycle strategy, policy and plan and this must be integrated into town planning. It should be coherent, not piece-meal and ad hoc. It must be bottom-up and not just top-down, i.e., the bicyclists must be intimately involved in the planning. The plan must include a budget