WHAT DO I MEAN BY A “CAR FREE CITY”? 

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* Most definitely not a city without cars, but a city in which living without a car is, on the grounds of convenience, comfort and economics for many preferable to living with one.  It is not about government interference or compulsion. It is a scenario which offers more and better choices.  (Does your city offer that choice?)

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SEDUCTIVE BUT DESTRUCTIVE GOALS: Congestion-free and affordable driving

Penang. Highway construction. Source: Reuters

Penang. Highway construction. Source: reuters

Urban transport decision-makers face huge pressures to keep driving uncongested and to keep it cheap. But take a look at cities that have worked long and hard to get free-flowing traffic and affordable driving. I doubt you will like what you see. This point was a central theme of Paul Barter’s chapter “Achieving Sustainable Mobility” which appears in The State of Asian and Pacific Cities 2015 jointly published late last year by UN-ESCAP and UN-HABITAT.

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World Car Free Cities: A Progress Report

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Cities around the world are beginning to work with this ice-breaking sustainability approach. It’s not just research or theory; it is policy and practice. But this is not an easy road. Proper preparation and follow-up are critical for success.

Since 1994 New Mobility Agenda and World Streets have offered information, references, discussion space and an open forum for ideas, exchange and collaboration for people who care about sustainable mobility and sustainable cities, and aren’t afraid to work at it.

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The Mobility Complex: John Whitelegg lights a fire.

Important announcement: To celebrate European  Mobility Week (16th-22nd, www.mobilityweek.eu/) the selling price of the e-book has been slashed to 99 UK pence (£0.99, about 1.15 Euros) from today up until the 22nd.  You will have it immediately at http://tinyurl.com/zxclcz4 . (You may have to hunt for it just under the Kindle edition price slot).

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John Whitelegg, Professor John Whitelegg, is a remarkable man. He has spent his entire professional life as a scholar, teacher, critic, publisher, activist and politician, trying to make sense out of our curious world and the contradictions of transport and mobility. And in a successful attempt to bring all the threads together, what he has learned about our topic in three decades of international work spanning all continents, he has just produced for our reading and instruction a remarkable and, I truly believe, much-needed book.  His title gives away the game – Mobility: Transport Planning Philosophy for a Sustainable Future.

 

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“Thursday”: A breakthrough strategy for reducing car dependence in cities

Whereas Car Free Days have been organized in cities around the world all over the year for the last two  decades, there is inevitably a spate of high activity in the month of September, much of it the result of the European Commission’s continuing commitment to both the concept of Car Free Days and their own European Mobility Week. And each year we here at World Streets dig into our archives and dust off one or two of the classics as a timely reminder of the fact that the Car Free Day concept has been around and doing its bit since the first international CFD challenge was made in Toledo Spain on 19 October 1994.

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

This was the theme of the first announcement of a World Car Free Days collaborative initiative that was first proposed in Toledo Spain in October 1994 and which within months was on-street reality in the first three cities launching Car Free Days of their own: Reykjavík (Iceland), Bath (United Kingdom) and La Rochelle (France). World Streets continues to participate actively in planning, celebrating and analyzing the results of these Days (and now Weeks and even Months) in cities around the world. All this from a simple idea that was discussed on a sunny autumn day in the ancient city of Toledo.

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Through the Looking Glass: Liftsharing UK 18 years later

ali clabburn in car

Ali Clabburn, Founder, MD, and Possiblist of the UK ridesharing group Liftshare (at right above) reminds us 18 years later of how much has changed in the world of ridesharing, but also the whole spectrum of sustainable transport thinking and practice.

Ali’s personal story with ridesharing got started by accident.

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Op-Ed: What/who keeps holding back New Mobility reform in your city in 2016?

If you get it, New Mobility policy reform is a no-brainer. However, while the New Mobility Agenda is a great starting place, it is not going to get the job somehow miraculously done just because it is the only game in town when it comes to sustainable transport. There is plenty of competition for your thin wallet,  all that space on the street, and  especially for that space between our ears. We have a few potential sticking points here that need to be overcome first.

Let’s have a quick look. After some years of talking with cities, and working and observing in many different circumstances, here is my personal shortlist of the barriers most frequently encountered in trying to get innovative transportation reform programs off the ground, including even in cities that really do badly need a major mobility overhaul.

And you may read this as a negative criticism of the various groups and interest mentioned here, but please that is not at all my intent.  Human beings and most organizations are notoriously change resistant, that is a key element of their survival strategy.  In this short essay is my intention simply to remind the reader of the most important tension points, so that we can have this in mind as we move ahead with the difficult task of finding allies for a new, better and fairer transportation system

– Eric Britton, Editor, World Streets