Our Right to Walk is Non-negotiable

india- children in trafficAnumita 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

Why Alternatives Analysis is critical to Penang’s transportation future

Alternatives assessment or alternatives analysis is a problem-solving approach used in environmental design, technology, and policy. It aims to minimize environmental harm by comparing multiple potential solutions in the context of a specific problem, design goal, or policy objective. It is intended to inform decision-making in situations with many possible courses of action, a wide range of variables to consider, and significant degrees of uncertainty.

Since the early 1970’s transportation planners apply a multi-modal and/or comprehensive approach to analyzing a wide range of alternatives and impacts on the transportation system to influence beneficial outcomes

Penang’s SRS ca. RM 50 bn “Transport Master Plan” does not make scientific use of an essential transport planning and decision tool, namely Alternatives Analysis to test and compare alternative solutions to identified mobility solutions (see below). This is a grave deficiency which discredits the entire body of proposals,, methodology and recommendations currently being actively pushed by the state government and their under-qualified  consulting partners whose expertise lies in other sectors than strategic transport planning and policy..

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WHOSE OPINION MATTERS? Lessons from a Stakeholder Engagement Process for Penang, Malaysia

Lessons from a Stakeholder Engagement Process for Penang, Malaysia
Author: Minal Pathak • MIT-UTM Malaysia Sustainable Cities Program 2017

– Commentary by Eric Britton, Professor of Sustainable Development, Institut Supérieur de Gestion Paris

“Recommended reading for anyone who cares about Penang and Democracy”

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Say Good-bye to Old Mobility

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“Old Mobility” – the world that most of us know best — with its drumbeat stress on steadily increasing supply, more vehicles, higher speeds, longer distances and more space-hogging infrastructure as the auto-pilot, unexamined answer to our urban mobility problems — has with very few exceptions been the favored path for decision-making and investment in the sector over the last 70 years.

It is well-known and easy to see where it is leading.  Aggressing the planet, costing us a bundle, draining the world’s petroleum reserves, and delivering poor service for the transport majority.  It’s time to learn from the best of the rest, the several hundred cities on our gasping planet, many of them in Europe, that are showing the way for the rest. None of  even the best are perfect. Each is struggling in its own way. But they are trying and that is what responsible governance and participatory democracy is all about.

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Transport minimization: Bridging needs, time and space in different ways

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The TMAPP Planners Toolbox:

Transport/Mobility/Access/ Proximity/’Presence’

To take full advantage of the fundamental structural differences between Old and New Mobility, it can help to reflect on the five necessary different steps of analysis and action suggested by the expression TMAPP – which sets out five alternative views or ways of bridging space, which of course is what transportation is supposed to be all about. These are the essential building blocks of a full-function sustainable transport plan for your city.  If you have not integrated the best of each of these essential steps into your plan, it is time for a bit of continuing education.

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A New Mobility Strategy for your City

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Basic principles and strategies of the New Mobility Agenda

The shift from old to new mobility is not one that turns its back on the importance of high quality mobility for the economy and for quality of life for all. It is not and should not be seen as a step down in terms of life quality.

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A “Better than Car” Mobility System

how should I get there - smallNobody is going to willingly  step down on the scale of comfort and economy. Fair enough, so let’s see how we can all step UP in terms of  life quality for all  with an equity-based transport strategy.

The objective here is to combine vision, policy, technology and entrepreneurial skills in such a way to create and make available to all a combined, affordable, multi-level, convenient, high choice  mobility system which for just about everybody should be more efficient than owning and driving a car in or into town.  Let us start with this as our goal and then see what is the work that must be done in order to turn it into a reality.

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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 in this challene. And if we are frank with ourselves, we can see that this is quite simply because . . . Continue reading

52 Better, Faster, Cheaper measures that your city could start to do tomorrow morning to reduce traffic accidents, save lives, strengthen the economy and improve quality of life for all.

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.

couple crossing street in Penang trafficTo 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.)

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Seventeen plus 1 reasons why I am prudently optimistic about the Sustainability Transition for 2018-2020

Shortlist of Transformative Realities and Trends

eb-tallinn-statementOne of the great recompenses of having watched the sustainable transportation and related technology developments evolve over the course of several decades, is that if one takes the time to step back and scan the evidence for pattern breaks, one can readily spot a certain number of  trends, fundamental structural changes, quite a few of which bode well for a different and better future for transport in and around cities. Here are a handful of the fundamental underlying changes which I have spotted over the last decades and which I would like to share with you this morning.

Let’s start with a simple listing and then go on to brief comments in an attempt to clarify.

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