Better. Faster. Cheaper. – Toward a New Mobility Agenda for Penang

Better-Faster-Cheaper - script

It is amazing how words can pop up and associate in a situation in which a number of people with different ideas and orientations come together to see if they can put their fingers on some elusive but important truth.

Over the past months as a civil society consensus critiquing the State government’s transport plan in Penang (and, no less important, the process behind it) has slowly taken shape, this short phrase  is starting to crop up often enough to serve as a common motto, a watchword, a rallying point to give high visibility to the ideas and proposals that are better adapted to the important work that remains to be done

When we speak of the path to s sustainable transport system and sustainable Penang today we now speak with a unified voice of Better, Faster, Cheaper. Let’s have a look.

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USEFUL SUSTAINABLE PENANG/NEW MOBILITY REFERENCES

SP FB - walkers

This set of references in support of the sustainable Penang project, and in particular the component involving civil society participation in determining the future of Penang’s transport/mobility system, has been carefully pieced together over the last two years, in response to a system on the part of the government that was providing little information to support citizen enquiries into the program which is also referred to by them as the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP). The latest information on the government program in support of this will be found at http://pgmasterplan.penang.gov.my

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More on ‪#‎BetterPenang

click-to-fix example of photo-larger#BetterPenang CAT (Citizen Action Technology) is a community owned platform allows users to post complaints and ideas to make Penang a better place for everyone.

This app is based on the idea that a democracy can only work if everyone plays a role. As such better Penang is a community-driven effort, it will only work if you and I do our part to make it work.

NOTE: This app Is created and maintained by volunteers using their own resources. No government fund was spent for this project and while we are happy to receive the support from local government officials, we are not directly affiliated to the government.

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Sustainable Penang/New Mobility Agenda Publications

man reading newspapers newsstandFor 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).

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Penang Archives: A “STEP” Towards Sustainable Transport

This excellent independent analysis was prepared for the Sustainable Transport Environment in Penang (STEP) program by Mr. Ganesh Rasagam, Acting Chief Executive Officer, DCT Consultancy Sdn. Bhd. in Penang back in 1998, almost 20 years ago. Here you find selected extracts which we find to be particularly timely, the full text being available from http://goo.gl/dgYEv2 .  We leave it to the reader to be encouraged or discouraged if we compare this with the level of knowledge, planning and proposed project efforts which are receiving attention in Penang today. An excellent wake up call that apparently got lot in the bureaucratic and electoral shuffle. Great pity for the people of Penang, but there is still time to consult these points and recommendations which are as relevant today in 2016 as they were in the late nineties..

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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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Saudi Historian Says U.S. Women Drive Because They Don’t Care If They’re Raped

Saudi historian - they dont care if they are raped

Click HERE for 2 minute video with captions

Dear Gatnet Friends

Before we get to the content of what the eminent Saudi Historian has to say on this relevant topic of women who want to be raped, let me take you quickly to our Gatnet 2.0 site and show you how you can put to work one of the special tools we have developed to support the collaborative work at Gatnet. Happily, these rather simple tools are also more generally to anyone anywhere who happens to share our interest in the complex topic of women, transport and equity in our oh so different societies.

The particular tool I would like to draw to your attention today is our so-call KNOOGLE (yes, an ugly word) combined search engine, to which you can go directly here – – https://gatnet.wordpress.com/links-sources-2/searching-all-links/.

Now, to show you a sample of how this works, this morning I wanted to know more about the site of the local elections in Saudi Arabia where for the first time 130,000 women registered to vote and when the ballots were counted more than a dozen  of these heroes have been elected to local office — for the first time.

So I scrolled down on the right menu here where it indicates  KNOOLGE, and popped in the single key word “Saudi” which called up a very large number of entries, with coverage of the latest developments in the voting situation right up top.  With the eminent Saudi historian’s remarks toward the end of the first page of entries.

And now if you wish, let’s take a look at that article and see if we can understand what the good gentleman has in mind:

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Student Road Safety Campaign IIT Delhi

The Streets of India 2.0

A few weeks ago four of our friends lost their lives in a horrific car crash on the road to Jaisalmer. A few weeks later another three were victims of a motorcycle crash in our neighboring institution, the Jawaharlal Nehru University. These events have prompted deep introspection on our campus and some of us met last week to discuss what we can do to do move toward safer roads and traffic management in India.

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World Car Free Days Collaborative (update)

wcfds update - banner

Lyon, France. 13 May 2014

Dear Reader,

Please note that this WCFD website is part of a greater whole, and largely that what you find here traces back to a time when this website served as the “Journal of Record” of EcoPlan’s long term World Car Free Days project, which continues to this day. It is semi-conveniently divided into two parts, as follows:

– – >  Link to site here

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Letter from Stockholm: Public Transport is a Common Good

World Streets welcomes discussion of fare free sweden planka nu fair jumpingpublic transport because we believe that it is important to listen to alternative views from different organizations and countries in order to arrive at wise public policy. This contribution comes from one of the most active international groups pushing zero fair public transport, Planka.nu in Sweden.

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CFDs: Get the nose of the camel under the tent.

Every day is a great day to take a few cars off the road and think about it

Once a year in mid-summer we wind up the World Car Free Day Collaborative site at www.worldcarfreedays.com as we have done yearly for the last 15 years to get it ready to serve as an information source and contact tool for cities and others who are considering events in the second half of the year.  Most notably among these the numerous Car Free Day events are those that tend to cluster around the end of September, including the annual European Mobility Week and its multitude of CFDs, most but not all of which in Europe, which you can check out for yourself at http://www.mobilityweek.eu/home/. Continue reading

Editorial: Why are we losing the sustainability wars? In transport, in cities, in our lives? Because we are . . .

Consider these irrefutable unpleasant truths:

There may be successes and improvements in this project, in this  place, in this way, but when we look at the bottom line — i.e., the aggregate impact of our transport choices and actions on the planet  — it is clear that we (that’s the collective “we” including all of us who have in some way committed to or accepted this great responsiblity, this author certainly included) are failing, big time. And if we are frank with ourselves, we can see that this is quite simply because . . . Continue reading

Whenever I hear the word revolver . . . I reach for my culture.

We have long-held a theory at the New Mobility Agenda that you can never tell where the next good idea is going to come from. So you really do have to keep your eyes, ears and minds wide open, and learn where you can, where you can, from whom you can. For example, Volkswagen in the New Mobility Agenda? Well, what not? Let’s show you one great idea that you may not have seen the first time around and that we have just this morning plucked out from our archives.
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La femme est l’avenir de l’homme

* Click to enlarge

The French poet Louis Aragon told us some two generations ago that “Woman is the future of man”. And if we had any doubts about that as we enter into 2012, we have today before our eyes this exceptional, moving photograph of a street demonstration yesterday in which several thousand brave women marched through central Cairo in an extraordinary expression of anger over images of soldiers beating, stripping and kicking female demonstrators in Tahrir Square. Continue reading

Cycles of Change: Pedaling to Empowerment in Dhaka

Bangladeshi women face significant barriers from family, neighbors and society in getting on a bike a riding around town in bright daylight. Freedom of mobility is seriously curtailed in Dhaka if women don’t feel safe to travel independently in their own city. Over 35% of female commuters in Dhaka depend on a cycle rickshaw and as more major roads ban these rickshaws, daily mobility for women is threatened furthermore. Arohi’s tagline: “Pedaling the way to empowerment” summarizes the links that we plan to draw between cycles, mobility and empowerment. Continue reading

Street Talk: Ivan Illich on Sharing in Transport

“The habitual passenger cannot grasp the folly of traffic based overwhelmingly on transport*. His inherited perceptions of space and time and of personal pace have been industrially deformed. He has lost the power to conceive of himself outside the passenger role. Addicted to being carried along, he has lost control over the physical, social, and psychic powers that reside in man’s feet. The passenger has come to identify territory with the untouchable landscape through which he is rushed. He has become impotent to establish his domain, mark it with his imprint, and assert his sovereignty over it. He has lost confidence in his power to admit  others into his presence and to share space consciously with them. He can no longer face the remote by himself. Left on his own, he feels immobile.”

Ivan Illich in Energy and Equity (Chapter: Speed-stunned imagination) Continue reading

“Time to count the spoons”. Alan Atkinson on sustainabilety back-peddling

Dr. Samuel Johnson reminded us some time back that “When a man proclaims his honor loudly at the table, it’s time to count the spoons”. Which is what Alan AtKisson has to offer on the subject of back-peddling as he comments on loudly proclaimed sustainability initiatives from Europe and America. Continue reading

World Carfree Day: Interview with Eric Britton

September 22 is an important date to remember – it’s World Carfree Day (WCD). Celebrated in towns and cities all over the world, it’s a day when streets are closed to cars and open for pedestrians, pedalers, parties and pleasure. Eric Britton, a sustainability activist, international adviser and consultant on sustainable transportation, is recognised for his work promoting and propelling WCD to  international attention. Much of his work involves co-ordinating the collaborative New Mobility Agenda and World Streets online journal, which encompass a number of possible transport solutions, including public transport, bike sharing and shared space projects. In an interview with Carbusters, Eric shared his thoughts about the problems, popularity and prospects for WCD, and points out the importance of bringing it into the policy agenda of governments in order to improve urban transport sustainability.

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Building knowledge and support: New Mobility Focus Groups

Group problem-solving and collaborative tool development have been among the key objectives of the New Mobility Agenda since its creation in 1988. Our thesis was and is that there are a growing number of able people and clever innovative projects around the world that are leading the way — and that it can be useful if we here at World Streets can help to open up peer dialogues and better link and support them. The tools we have developed and continue to make pretty good use of are, by today’s standards, very simple, but they do work.

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