Houston, we have a problem
Our cities are in crisis because they revolve around the car. It’s killing us, our communities and our economy.
Traffic congestion is one of the most significant problems and issues facing Governments, Councils and businesses around the world. In Australia, more than 80% of all trips are made by car and in New Zealander 83% of trips less than 2km are made by car. A British Social Attitudes Survey found that 71% of adults never cycle. Only 3% of Brits cycle every day or nearly every day. There are as many as 38 million empty car seats on the UK’s roads every rush hour.
“The problem is we’re all doing the same things – commuting, business trips and the school run – making the same trips by car at the same time, creating gridlock, congestion, queuing and travel delays’ says Transport Planner and Behaviour Change expert Rachel Smith.
We often hear that transportation reform is going to require massive public investments, large construction projects, elaborate technology deployments, and above all and by their very nature are going to take a long time before yielding significant results. This is quite simply not true. This approach, common in the last century and often associated with the “American transportation model”, no longer has its place in a competitive, efficient, democratic city And we can start tomorrow, if we chose to.
To get a feel for this transformative learning reality let’s start with a quick look at a first lot of ideas for Slow Street Architecture as a major means for reducing traffic related nuisances, accident prevention and improving quality of life for all. These approaches are not just “nice ideas”. They have proven their merit and effectiveness in hundreds of cities around the world. There is no good reason that they cannot do the same in your city. Starting tomorrow morning.
(For further background on external sources feeding this listing, see Sources and Clues section below.)
Getting to work in Auckland. Duh! Any clues here?
Since both are key pillars of the New Mobility Agenda and our forming-up Five Percent Challenge Climate Emergency program, it is important that the basic distinctions are clear for all. In one of our recent master classes, when several students asked me to clarify for them, I turned the tables and asked them, since we are now firmly in the 21st century, to spend a bit of time online and come up with something that answered their question to their satisfaction. Here is what they came up with, taken whole hog from http://bit.ly/2rTxHrr (which we then lightly edited together and offer for your reading pleasure).
COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENTS: REVIEW OF URBAN CONGESTION
TRENDS, IMPACTS AND SOLUTIONS
Study of Successful Congestion Management Approaches and the Role of Charging, Taxes, Levies and Infrastructure and Service Pricing in Travel Demand Management
Whether or not congestion is “good” is one thing. But what is for sure is that one way or another congestion is policy, or at the very least a policy option. And in some cases quite possibly a wise one.
Now this has been said many times by many people in many places, yet despite its incontrovertible wisdom the message continues to get lost on policy makers. So in cases like this, we have to take a page out of the book of good people who sell us iPhones and cars, and keep repeating our message.
Today let’s hand over the podium to Kent Strumpell from Los Angeles and see what he had to say on our subject in LA Streetsblog back in early 2008. To this reader it has lost none of relevance over almost a decade. Read on. Continue reading
Anumita Roychowdhury, associate director of the Centre for Science and Environment in New Delhi, in a wide-ranging conversation with Faizal Khan reporting for the excellent Walkability Asia ( Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities), spells out clearly the inevitability of a non-motorised transport code in India through shocking figures and revealing facts. “We need zero tolerance policy for accidents. This menu of action needs support. Our right to walk is not negotiable.” And on this Roychowdhury is entirely right. On this score we must be entirely intransigent and as part of this to keep pounding away on this important point of citizen activism on every available occasion, until we get the concept of zero tolerance written into the law and respected on the streets. All our streets! Continue reading