INVISIBILITIES: Just because you can’t see them (or prefer not to) doesn’t mean they are not there.

In a city, as in life, we normally register only what we set out to look for. The anomalies, the absences, the troubling, somehow escape our attention. But when it comes to transport, everywhere the eye might wander there are valuable clues, both visible and invisible, for planners and policy makers. However, if we fail to use our eyes we miss out on valuable information. And as a result our cities do just that much less well.

man sleeping under sidewalk - top half only

 

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Taipei Autumn 2015 New Mobility Videoteque

We live at a time when the people at the top who have to make or influence decisions in our sector are time-starved, over-burdened and, truth to tell, not about to spend a lot of time reading, or even listening or otherwise trying to ingest the great glaciers of data views and recommendations that are about to inundate and eventually freeze them solid for more thousands of years. But for those of us who see ourselves as change-agents, we need to find ways to capture their attention in order to widen their intellectual pallet in order to draw their attention to a range of new ideas and alterative problem-solving approaches beyond the ones that normally inform (and limit) their choices. Well, what about a series of attention-grabbing, lesson-purveying one-minute movies that can get them thinking in broader terms? And better than that, share with their families and colleagues. Might we have a look and think about this together? Continue reading

What is a Transport User Group? (And why are they so important for your city)

spain barclona large public meeting on planningWorld Streets has committed to carry out a series of articles, in cooperation with informed on-the-spot collaborators, looking into various aspects of transport user groups, on the grounds that they are increasingly emerging  in many cities around the world as important potential players in the uphill struggle to sustainable transportation, sustainable cities and sustainable lives.

Throughout  most of the 20th century transportation decisions were strictly made by government administrations and elected politicians, more often than not in cooperation with interests representing industrial and financial partners supplying infrastructure, vehicles, electronics and services. In most places these were closed loops in which the public was occasionally, at best, invited to approach the table and then asked to share their views on the specifics alternative proposals as prepared and presented by the various administrations and agencies, but for the most part were excluded from the actual planning and decision process. They were at most shadow players.

However this is starting to change, to the extent that in many cities in recent years these groups are increasingly becoming important players in the planning, decision and investment process.

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Victoria Transport Policy Institute. Summer 2015 Newsletter

This carefully compiled seasonal report from Todd Litman of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute is a fine tool and up to date source guide for researchers and policy makers worldwide. We are pleased to present it in its entirety here, together with references you will find handy to take these entries further. Thanks for your fine continuing contributions Todd.

Vtpi Litman Canada

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More on Illich, Energy and Equity

Further to our recent posting on “Climate Change 101: Thinking about Illich, Energy and Equity” we have just received he following commentary from Chris Bradshaw (See author note below.)

Eric,

Illich book covve - toward a history of needsI used your post to re-read — after, I estimate, 25 years — this delightful essay. I own two copies, one which is part of “Towards a History of Needs” published four years later in 1977).

In that volume, there is an introductory note, which might be useful to add (see end, along with the forward for the 1974 publication — Perennial Library — of this essay by itself). Two things come from these two extras: a) this essay first appeared in Le Monde (yes, probably in French), and b) his defined audience included, equally, the under-developed world.

He, of course, missed global warming as an issue that would fit nicely next to “energy crisis.”

I would add that he missed the link between high-speed and high-power and the formalities of control — rules, regulations, resources — that also disenfranchise those with less speed and power.

Peter D. Norton’s recent book, “Fighting Traffic” does a yeoman effort to show how the transition from “transit” to “transport” in North American cities took place 1915-1935.

I will continue to muse over Illich’s brilliant thinking.

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Op-Ed: Critiquing the Penang Transport Master Plan

Mayllasia Penang blog top page - local traffic

The following  strategic commentary appeared in the form of a long letter responding to an invitation by the chief transport planner of Penang with the State Government Office to comment on a strategic presentation and commentary he was about to make at end year in Kuala Lumpur reflecting back on the  Penang Transport Master Plan (2013-2030) carried out for the State by Halcrow and AKC Planning   and published in a final version in October 2-12. Mr. Lim’s commentary. Cross Roads, Game Changers & Bulls’ Horns, is available here

Update. My quick six-point “Summer 2015 Executive Summary” follows:

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INVITATIONAL THINKING EXERCISE: Why Ubernomics could be fatal to itself, its customers and mass transit?

taiwan Uber taxi demonstration

Commentary and reflection on an article originally appearing in a Geek Wire posting by Bob Sullivan on 24 January – which when posted last week to our World Streets Online Facebook site at https://www.facebook.com/WorldStreetsOnline attracted considerable attention. In the posting that follows, we propose an open thinking exercise in three parts which you are invited to join.

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Who is reading World Streets where today?

ws reader map 22may15
* * Click map for higher definition version * *

The above map reports the locations of 451 readers checking into World Streets over the last two days. (Approximately 10% of our total registered readers as of this date.)

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Top Twenty World Streets Postings: 2009 – 2015

ws-newsstandWhile you are away from the office and all the pressures of your workplace, here for your after-work reading pleasure are the twenty most read articles to appear in World Streets since opening day in 2009.  Quite a varied lot, and when your editor reads them he generally prefers to do so not at a desk but seated comfortably with a tablet or largish window smartphone in hand to take advantage of those unstructured unexpected free moments that can pop up in any day. After all, World Streets is intended for the reflective back of your mind, not the whirring over-charged front.

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Uber: Tough questions to our culture of innovation in Europe

Reaching new fundraising heights, Uber is now seeking to conquer the world — willingly or by force. Neither white knight nor bloodsucking scoundrel, Uber is posing tough questions to our culture of innovation in Europe

The smartphone-driven rideshare and taxi alternative service company  Uber,  founded in 2009 and headquartered in San Francisco, has announced for the second time in 2014, a billion dollar-plus fundraising! The company, which offers applications linking customers with drivers, now overtakes records previously held by Facebook: € 2.7 billion raised (with $ 600 million of additional potential), and a market valuation at $ 40 billion.

Yet if Uber is known to the public it is more for the controversies it is raising in its “war” against the taxis, which has in recent months turned into a crusade against all comers and for “free mobility”: against street taxis, against national governments and regulators, against local governments, and even against less controversial private hire services (in France the so-called VTC hire services have joined a lawsuit against Uber).

france paris uber taxi strike

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Op-ed: Carsharing and Travel Behavior

Netherlands - carsharing two guys

By Friso Metz, CROW KpVV

Carsharing has a great impact on the travel behavior of people. In the literature on the subject’s attention to the question of how large these effects are. There is less attention to the question of why auto so strongly intervenes on behavior. Lately, I am very active with the subject carsharing been busy. Because I am also working a lot with behavior modification, it is time to examine the relationship between these two themes. Below I do a first step. I’m curious about your response!

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More on carsharing in Japan: 2014 update

japan carsharing logo 2014In the spirit of World Streets long term watching brief on carsharing developments  around the world, here is some current background on the status of carsharing from the land of the sun’s origin. And we are continuing to seek further details to give you a fuller picture of where it is and where it may be going.

In the meantime for more background 0n carsharing in Japan from World Streets, click here – http://goo.gl/m6XFcx

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Invitation: A New Moment for Carsharing in the Netherlands

Netherlands Witkar - Luud drivingThis week we completed the working report for the Dutch government, under the title: Going Dutch: A New Moment for  Carsharing in the Netherlands.  Over the remainder of this month we and the organisers are holding workshops and review sessions,presenting, discussing and critiquing the complete working draft.  The English version of the draft is now available for peer review and comment, so if you wish to have a look and be part of the process, please get in touch with the principal author via eric.britton@ecoplan.org.  Here you have the full contents of the report.

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Intermezzo: Would more and better carsharing make us happier people?

We are in the process of completing a report under the sponsorship of the Dutch government under the title “Going Dutch: A New Moment for Carsharing in the Netherlands”.  The report, which is aimed to inform local and national government policies, will be announced here shortly with full details, and proposed for an international peer review over the month of November against which copies will be made immediately available to all who step forward. As you will shortly see each of the six main chapters end with a broad thinkpiece on the topics covered taking some aspect from another, more exploratory angle.  We are calling these incidental sections, “intermezzi”.  In this article we reproduce the closing intermezzo, this time with thoughts on the topic of happiness.

carshare parking

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Carsharing in a time of turbulence

KpVV report title page top

 

Preface to forthcoming KpVV report

This is a report about something popularly known as carsharing. And you can be sure that we are not the only ones to prepare such a report. Already in 2014 alone hundreds of reports have been bitten on this exact topic from a wide variety of points of view. Why one more? Well in this case we intend to take a slightly different approach to the topic.

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World Carshare Timeline: 1948 – 2014

Netherlands go dutch - top title page

The following draft listing is part of a report in progress of by EcoPlan, being carried out for and with CROW/KpVV, the Dutch Knowledge Platform for Transport and Mobility. The goal of this particular section of the report is to prepare and comment briefly a synoptic timeline identifying major events shaping and reshaping the carshare sector over the last half century plus.  Here are some of the milestones we would hope to get on that timeline. Your corrections, comments, additions will be most welcome.

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What is the difference between a bus stop and a parking bay for carsharing?

By Friso Metz, CROW-KpVV, the Netherlands

Recently a medium sized Dutch city asked my counsel about carsharing. The city wants to promote carsharing and is looking for ideas.  While discussing with the city officials and their marketeers, we discovered a particular issue in carsharing. I explained that an average parking bay for carsharing in the Netherlands only shows a sign explaining that it’s intended uniquely for carsharing. The road surface shows a white cross which tells you that it is prohibited to park there (unless you are driving the shared vehicle).

netherlands bus stop vs. carshare place

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Arthur D. Little on Carsharing 3.0

In a recent report issued by Author D Little under the title “The Future of Urban Mobility 2.0”, (freely ADLitle logoavailable at http://goo.gl/Jb6fX1), the authors provide two interesting graphics and thoughts about carsharing and where it might be going. What is interesting about their analysis is that they are looking at the sector from outside — that is, both as one part of the move a broader New Mobility package, and from a business perspective. We have extracted here the two graphics illustrating their findings, along with their page of observations . At the end of the extracts we provide some contextual information and background references from our extensive carshare archives.

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First thoughts: PISTA – Programme for International Sustainable Transport Assessment

leonardo dimensions man“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” vs. “The important stuff can’t be measured”.

In this critical spirit let us see what happens if we put this idea of somehow addressing the performance of cities and countries when it comes to sustainable transport, in front of the collective intelligence of our readers in order to see if something useful can be done with it. But first to get the ball rolling, some disorganized pre-thoughts about PISA and . . . PISTA.  And oh yes, stay tuned because this thing is just getting started.

 

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