Our Personal Choices — and Our (un)Sustainable Lives

I don’t think we can buy the argument anymore that we deserve special dispensation just because we think what we  —  the “elite” — are doing is worthwhile. 

airplan taking off polution - photo dsleeter_2000

Let’s see. At last count there were already well more than seven billion of us sharing this suddenly very small planet. And let’s say, just to get a crude handle on this, that each of us, whether in Mali or Malibu, makes something like a hundred “personal planet action choices” each day, leading to specific actions which when we had them all up have quite a potential impact on our earth.

Continue reading

Wanted: Crowd-Sourced Transportation Analysis (An open thread for collaborative tool building)

This is the second of a two-part article by Charles Komanoff, activist, energy-economist and policy analyst, looking at goals and tools for finding the right strategy for implementing some form of congesting charging measures in New York City’s crowded streets. He invites comment on his proposed “Balance Transportation Analyzer” tool.

Wanted: Crowd-Sourced Transportation Analysis

Continue reading

CHECKLIST OF KEY TERMS, CONCEPTS AND REFERENCES FOR MANAGING THE CLIMATE/NEW MOBILITY TRANSITION

Checklist of key terms, concepts and references for managing the climate/new mobility transition  (1 June 2019. Text to follow here.)

ACTIVE TRANSPORT: * Bicycles * Bike/Transit Integration * Public Bicycle Systems * Telecommuting * Telework * Walk to School * Walking

Continue reading

WHY SPEND A BILLION DOLLARS IF A FIVE-MILLION DOLLAR SOLUTION IS BETTER OVERALL?

Canada Malahat Highway congestion traffic

A LESSON FOR PENANG

The great weakness of the local political establishment to Penang’s transport planning  and policy needs is that they have insufficient technical backgrounds and competence to solve the mobility problems the people of Penang . This was made clear by the recommendations of the final Halcrow report in 2013 and nothing has been done since to improve the situation.

There are other more effective approaches to dealing with these problems with a strategy of affordable policies, measures and tools capable of giving swift results and a fraction of the costs of the proposed massive infrastructure program, the PTMP.

Let’s have a look at the Canadian report “Rethinking Malahat Solutions: Or, Why Spend a Billion Dollars if a Five-Million Dollar Solution is Better Overall?” at www.vtpi.org/malahat.pdf

Continue reading

Archives: The New Mobility Agenda

New Mobility agenda measures tools - cloud

This posting, taken with minor updating from the original 2008 Wikipedia entry under that title, traces the history of the New Mobility Agenda from its founding as part of an OECD program of the Development Center under the leadership of Eric Britton and Mikoto Usui,.  It charts the history and evolution of this innovative transport planning and policy concept from its beginning in the early seventies through 2008, at which time this international networking role was taken over by the international collaborative “World Streeets: The Politics of Transport in Cities” at https://wordpress.com/worldstreets

Continue reading

Systems Thinking and System Change

ecosystem traffic cars

An interview with Fritjof Capra, the founding director of the Center for Ecoliteracy, about the emergence of systems thinking, the root causes of today’s social and environmental problems, and how to change the system itself. Fritjof Capra is a best-selling writer and leading systems thinker and author of The Systems View of Life .  Here you will find some extracts of Marjorie Kelly’s  interviews Capra of about the emergence of systems thinking and what lessons it has to offer in a world of convergent crises. Full article at https://greattransition.org/publication/systems-thinking-and-system-change

 

MK: Your new book, The Systems View of Life, provides an overview of systems thinking for those in a broad range of professions, from economics and politics to medicine, psychology, and law. Why do you see systems thinking as valuable in so many different settings?

FC: Systems thinking is relevant to all professions and academic disciplines that deal with life in one way or another—with living organisms, social systems, or ecosystems. Systems thinking is inherently multidisciplinary and I hope our textbook will help to create a common language for students of all disciplines.

Continue reading

THE FIVE PERCENT CHALLENGE, COLLABORATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING (In brief)

FB 5 percent Start now

 * * Working draft for peer review and comment of 17 July 2019

</b>The basic concept is simple in principle, namely: to identify and put to work a strategic package of proven, street-tested, cost-effective measures, tools and means  to reduce GHG emissions from the mobility sector in a cooperating city or place by a targeted five percent (or better) in a year or less. Realization of the concept on the other hand is highly demanding and requires considerable technical competence, abundant political savvy and leadership by daily example.

The underlying goal is highly ambitious, and perhaps not immediately evident.  It is about people and choices, and not so much about infrastructure or vehicles.  We are talking here about influencing behaviour of individuals and groups in this specific part of their day to day lives. Since indeed the only way that we can successfully make this critical transition in a functioning democracy — is no less than to change behaviour by creating a transformed urban (or rural, or other demographic) ecosystem of  connected realities, time, space, perceptions, awarenesses, values, fears, prejudices, habits and, hopefully in parallel with this an wide array of “better than car” or  at least satisficing mobility choices.  The key to all this being to offer what are perceived as better choices for all when it comes to daily life, climate, mobility, environment  and democracy impacts.  The challenge we now face is to accompany this transition, and this in the teeth of a rapidly degrading environment and still a largely skeptical world.

Continue reading

COMMENT: AND IF WE FAIL THIS FIRST TIME . . . ?

cropped-japan-tokyo-ped-street-perfect1.jpg

Zero emissions mobility at lunch time in a pedestrian street in Tokyo

From: 原佳代 <kayohara@itej.or.jp>
Sent: Tuesday, April 16, 2019 5:05 AM
To: eric.britton@newmobility.org
Subject: RE: Next steps – Japan

Dear Eric,

. . . .  (Following extract from email  of 1 April 2019, letter in French with translations)

  • En même temps j’ai bien évoqué que c’est aussi très important de ne pas avoir peur de rater : même si c’est tombé en échec, ça peut être le premier pas du lancement du projet, et bien ça peut être une trace de la vie.
  • Now in Google Japanese » : 同時に失敗したとしても、プロジェクト立ち上げの最初のステップになることもあれば、痕跡になることもあります 人生の
  • Or, why not, even in English : « At the same time it is also very important not to be afraid to fail: because even if it failed the first time, it could become the first step of launching a fully prepared demonstration project– and so, it is a first step to show the way.

Continue reading

Transport, environment and public policy in hard times (Archives 2011 perspectives)

– By Eric Britton, World Streets/New Mobility Agenda, February 2011
Scottish Transport Review, Issue 50. ISSN 1462-8708  http://stsg.org/str/str50.pdf

A Mental Architecture problem

“When it is dark you can see the stars

Perhaps the main reason we are doing so poorly these days in transport is that we are making three fundamental errors in what we are looking at, the manner in which we are looking at it, and what we are doing with it:

Comment: Have we learned any of these lessons in the last eight years?  Or are we still turning over our motors in traffic? Your call!

Continue reading

THE 2020 FIVE PERCENT EMERGENCY CHALLENGE: (Cross-cutting issues, measures, sources & startup strategies)

Executive Summary:

QUESTION: Is it going to be possible to cut greenhouse gas emissions resulting from day to day transport in your city by five percent next year?

RESPONSE: Yes *

___________________________________

* But you have to be very smart

If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?  (Attributed to A. Einstein)

Continue reading

SLOW CITY TRANSITION: NOTES FOR A THINKING EXERCISE

FB SC - Groningen streetThe idea of slowing top speeds on traffic in the city to reduce accidents and achieve other important systemic benefits would seem like a pretty sensible, straightforward and affordable thing to do. For a lot of reasons.  Let’s have a look.

Continue reading

Op-ed: Luxembourg’s free public transport sounds great. It isn’t

feet on bus Luxembourg free public transport

Editor’s note: “Free public transport” is a hot topic and getting hotter every day, though in our view when stated as such it closes the door on a subject that  can also be looked at and evaluated in a more creative way. If we draw critical attention to and think of it instead as “Free” “Public” “Transport” a brave new world of issues and opportunities opens up We shall be looking into this in these pages in the coming months, but for now let us give the word to Constance Carr and Markus Hesse of the University of Luxembourg and hear what they have to say about the latest Luxembourg initiative.

When the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg announced it would introduce free nationwide public transport from March 2020, the move was widely praised – some even claimed it was a world first, though that was to overlook Estonia) where the government introduced countrywide free public transport in 2018.

Continue reading

THE FIVE PERCENT CHALLENGE (continued)

 * * Very rough first draft.  Requiring careful rewrite for content and clarity.   * *

CLIMATE/NEW MOBILITY  2019-2020 EMERGENCY ACTION PLAN

If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?  (Attributed to A. Einstein)

 

Working Notes: Building Blocks:

The sources,  references and links that follow here – we call them building blocks or parts of the much larger puzzle – are presented here in first working draft form and are intended to be useful to inform and guide students, researchers, concerned citizens and others interested in getting up to speed on the wide range of challenging topics that need to be brought in to the analysis and eventual work plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the local transport sector by a radical target and in a single year . These references include a considerable variety of issues, hints and developments (examples, free public transport, economic levers, value capture, full gender parity, etc., etc.) which have important roles to play in this wholesale reconstruction of the new mobility ecosystem.

WORLD CLIMATE EMERGENCY

Continue reading

FIVE PERCENT CLIMATE/NEW MOBILITY EMERGENCY CHALLENGE: Cross-cutting issues, sources and strategies

 * * THIS IS A ROUGH FIRST DRAFT. REQUIRES TOTAL REWRITE   * *

2019 Climate/New Mobility Emergency Action Plan & Demonstration

If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it? (Attributed to Albert Einstein)

The sources,  references and links that follow here – we think of them as building blocks – are presented here in first working draft form and are intended to serve to inform and guide  students, researchers, concerned citizens and others who are interested in getting up to speed on the wide range of challenging topics that need to be brought in to the analysis and eventual work plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the local transport sector by a radical target and in a single year . These references include a considerable variety of issues, hints and developments (examples, free public transport, economic levers, value capture, full gender parity, etc., etc.) which have important roles to play in this wholesale reconstruction of the new mobility ecosystem.

Continue reading

YOUR INVITATION: WORLD STREETS 2021 OPEN COLLABORATIVE CLIMATE/MOBILITY CHALLENGE

. . . invitation to join an open collaborative action plan to cut GHG emissions from mobility sector in cities by 5% starting in 2021.

 “You never change things by fighting the existing reality.  To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” – Buckminster Fuller

Climate/Space/Mobility Action Plan: 2021

EXEC SUM: This open collaborative project just getting underway on World Streets aims to demonstrate how cities can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the mobility sector by at least five percent in the first year after startup. And this by working from a well-prepared two-pronged push and pull strategy based on a combination of (a) sharp VKT  reductions  (Vehicle Kilometers Traveled) and (b) an expanding ecosystem of Better Choices while working with proven, cost-effective, available technologies and processes.

The project aims to get sharp, measurable results in short time with an approach that is, we argue, Better, Faster and Cheaper — and through this basically reshaping the city’s basic mobility ecosystem.   This bold initiative is only possible with very strong leadership and commitment, high technical competence, and an exceptional ability to  communicate and engage the population in a fully equitable and  positive manner.

COLLABORATIVE STARTUP: Now seeking critical feedback on working materials and proposals, collaborators, presentation opportunities, partners and eventual demonstration projects and sponsors.

Continue reading

The Planner’s Dilemma: The Six Circles of Human Behavior

FB WC eb + shaking head 

Thus, we need to understand the underlying questions: Why do we do what we do?  When it comes our transport and mobility choices, why are there such huge variance in values, dreams, behavior and choices from culture to culture?  Why do we insist on leaving our car in a parking space even though it is clearly marked for handicapped drivers?  Fail to give priority and space to pedestrians and cyclists?  Insist on staying in our cars when our government is investing heavily in public transport?  Why are we so tightly bound up in existing patterns, even when it is clear to all that the present situation is not working, including for us, to fight proposed changes tooth and nail?

The point is that none of this is accidental.  It is central. It is “normal”–  and in that  it brings us to the big question that transport planners and policy makers must be ready to ask: Why do we do what we do?  What determines our values and dispositions?  And how does this in turn determine our behavior and choices when it comes to matters of how we get around in our day to day lives?

Continue reading

Putting World Streets to work (Opening Day 2008 perspectives)

The editor, Paris, 30 March 2008:

If this is your first visit to World Streets, you may find it useful to check out the following to get a feel for how this is supposed to work.

Heavy traffic on the way to sustainable cities and sustainable lives. . .

The Planet’s Sustainable Transport Newspaper.
Welcome in an information-overload age to World Streets: the 21st century weekly newspaper that has a single job: to provide our world-wide readers with high quality, readable, concise information, food for thought, surprises and leads specifically on the topics of sustainable mobility, sustainable cities and sustainable lives, world-wide.

World Streets is an independent, internet-based collaborative knowledge system specifically aimed at informing policy and practice in the field of sustainable transportation, and as part of that sustainable cities and sustainable lives. We want to make sure that World Streets is a good read, and a fast one, for our overloaded colleagues working on these issues in cities and countries around the world, as well for others trying to follow the full range of issues involved.

Continue reading

Reading World Streets in Translation

Have you ever had the opportunity to meet someone who has a lot to say about things that interest you very much, but who does not particularly well master your best language (or vice versa). What happens? Well, it depends on your personality type. Many people, perhaps most of us, would probably find it just too uncomfortable to try a real conversation, so after a bit of time either move respectfully into a mutual silence or venture to make a simple point from time to time on the grounds that this is about the best you can do.

Continue reading