In this issue, we return to some key themes in sustainable transport. The article by Wendy Sarkissian and Lori Mooren reflects on the death in a road crash of Wendy’s husband and puts this dreadful experience in a wider context of how we should deal with eliminating death and injury on the roads and how we should improve our ability to react to tragedies of this kind. At a time when 3 cyclists this year (January and February 2017) have been killed in London (see reference list) we are even more acutely aware than ever that these horrific tragedies are not interrogated systematically and thoroughly and not translated into immediate action to get the chances of death and serious injury as near to zero as we can.
This is the point of Vision Zero, the Swedish road safety policy that says “a mistake in the road traffic environment must not attract the death penalty”.
This issue of WTPP reminds us that India has been in the news a lot in recent months mainly for its poor air quality, deaths and injuries on the roads and the serious damage this does to quality of life, family life and the economy. In the 23 years of World Transport Policy & Practice (WTPP) we have not carried enough material by Indian authors and want to use this editorial to encourage more submissions from that country.
We would like to explore the underlying factors that have produced such a large loss of life and decline in quality of life and also to explore the links between transport and poverty alleviation. We know that Kolkata has one of the world’s oldest tram systems, a metro, an urban railway and river ferries but we hear very little about how these assets are being put to use to encourage higher levels of use and lower level of car use. We hear about the abolition of diesel fuelled vehicles and car rationing by odd/even number systems in Delhi but we don’t know how effective these have been. We also hear very little about pedestrian and cyclist facilities in Indian cities and the contribution they can make to air quality, reducing congestion and alleviating poverty. So please contact us!
But there is more to Vol 21, No. 4 than that. Let’s have a look . . .
Morning rush hour in Kolkata
Professor John Whitelegg writes in the lead editorial of the latest edition of World Transport Policy & Practice (WTPP Vol 21, No. 4, February 2016) *:
India has been in the news a lot in recent months mainly for its poor air quality, deaths and injuries on the roads and the serious damage this does to quality of life, family life and the economy. In the 23 years of World Transport Policy & Practice (WTPP) we have not carried enough material by Indian authors and want to use this editorial to encourage more submissions from that country.
This issue of World Transport Policy and Practice marks the migration of the journal and its associated web site to a new location. The new web site address is: http://worldtransportjournal.com
The new site will also contain information from our US partners, Transportation Choices for Sustainable Communities Research & Policy Institute and occasional announcements about new books and resources that will assist the global community seeking to accelerate the transition to a genuinely sustainable transport future. This transition is now more urgently needed than ever and future issues of the journal will try very hard to communicate the urgency and practicality of this transition to those who make the decisions.
This issue of January 2015 marks the start of our third decade of publication and it is appropriate to use this occasion to thank the hundreds of people who have written articles for the journal over the last 20 years and carried out the onerous task of external reviewer and kept us on our toes with comments, criticism and suggestions. I am especially grateful to the support and encouragement I have been given by Eric Britton in France, Helmut Holzapfel in Germany and Paul Tranter in Australia. When I think of this team of wonderful people I know that sustainable transport will very soon migrate from the world of rhetoric to the world of delivery.
I also want to thank Jeff Kenworthy (Curtin University in Australia but now working in Frankfurt) who in addition to sending us a steady flow of truly excellent articles has kept up a running commentary on world events and was instrumental in successfully connecting this journal with a funder and a partner (announced below).
Unburying hidden treasures from the Journal: 1995-2015
We could use a bit of help to get the following job done. It has to do with a new collaborative program about to get into full swing in 2015 — The Archives of World Transport Policy & Practice (WTPP) under development at https://worldtransportarchives.wordpress.com. The goal of this new project is to see if we can, with a little help from our friends, create a comprehensive, easy-to-use, free platform offering ready access to the full contents of the close to seventy editions of the Journal of World Transport Policy & Practice that have published under the leadership of Founding Editor John Whitelegg since 1995, but which at present technology are a bit isolated. The present article provides some first background on this project in process. If you might be interested to lend a hand, please get in touch and we can talk about it.
This out of control bulimic spiral begins with man’s uncontrollable tool-making itch, and from there, and utterly unknown to us at the time, to tools which take on transforming lives of their own — one of which in the domain of mobility being ever-increasing speed, which in turn leads to ever-increasing distances, and which finally and in largely unnoticed fatal tandem destroys the reality and oh-so important qualities of proximity and community. What we thought at the time was merely more convenient transportation, has snuck up on us and turned into very inconvenient and altogether unanticipated transformation — in fact one of the most intractable challenges of transport policy and practice of the 21sr century
How to break this vicious spiral? Well in cities anyway the key is clearly significant, strategic speed reduction in combination with a phased, multi-step systemic overall as needed to create a truly optimized mobility system for all. And happily we now have the technical tools (the technical virtuosity) to get the job done. We shall see this spelled out more clearly here over the course of the coming months, but before leaping ahead, let’s step back a bit in time and see what Contributing Editor Professor John Whitelegg had to say on this subject in the pages of the Journal of World Transport Policy and Practice, way back in 1993.