Why There Will Be Far Fewer Cars, But Many More Miles Driven

cars lot flooded disappearing

Available today at advantageous prices

– By Jeff McMahon  

 . . . . You don’t have to be Milton Friedman to figure out that car ownership is economically foolish.
  • “I want you, on purpose, to spend $33,000 on an asset, okay?
  • And I want you, on purpose, the minute you buy it, to lose 11.5 percent.
  • And on purpose to make that asset sit idle 95 percent of the time,”
. . . . said Gary Silberg, the Americas head of the automotive division of the financial services firm KPMG. “You don’t have to have a PhD in economics to figure out that it’s maybe not a great idea to buy a car.
“The average price of a car in America is $33,000, the average loss is 11.5 percent, and the average idle time is over 95 percent.”
But Americans love their cars, right?
“Okay, so why do people buy cars?” Silberg asked

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Op-Ed Archives: Danijel Rebolj on The Cultures of Mobility

FB Slovenia Maribor cyclists

The Cultures of Mobility

What message could a private citizen, an engineer no less, from a small city of a country with barely two million inhabitants send to the Secretary of Transportation of the United States of America? Happily, there is more to transport and social policy than mere size. So if you decide to continue reading, I may have a modest message for you after all.

This evening, 6 February 2009, an interesting event will take place in my city. A thematic event has been organized, dedicated to the “Culture of Mobility”. In this we want to show (again) at the culture of mobility and the culture of the city are one and the same.

Maribor, my beautiful city, the second-largest in Slovenia, is to become the cultural capital of Europe in 2012. Today’s event will start with a documentary film to open up the perspectives of transportation decision-makers in the city of New York, “Contested Streets: a Mobility Tour of Four Great World Cities”. “Contested” takes its point of departure the old habit of automatically building new infrastructure for cars every time a traffic problem arose. The world-famous and world-practiced “forecast and build” culture

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World Streets launches 2020 Open Collaborative Climate/Cities/Mobility Action/Plan

FB no excuses eb tour– – – – – – – – > Working draft update of November. To be finalized over month.

WORLD STREETS is betting its future on the coming immediate-term transition period led by certain ambitious, responsible cities, nations, organizations and citizens in different parts of the world to come together to break the downward pattern of ever-increasing climate stress — and before the challenge to plan and execute highly aggressive near-term initiatives aimed at sharply cutting greenhouse gas emissions from the mobility sector. And doing all this while working with proven tools, policies and strategies that harness cost-effective, readily available, measures, technologies, operational and management competence. And our job is to support them as best we can.

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The Rough Road to Climate Protection and Sustainable Mobility: Values, priorities, behavior and, finally, understanding people (and ourselves)

indonesia-jakarta-traffic-on-following-monday

What many people call “transportation” . .  is at its very essence not about road or bridges, nor vehicles or technology, and not even about money.  Above all it is about people, their needs, fears, desires and the decisions they make. And the backdrop — real and mental — against which they make those decision. The transport planner needs to know more them and take this knowledge into the center of the planning and policy process. What makes them tick, individually and collectively.  What do they want and what they are likely to resist. And people, as we all know, are intensely complicated, personal and generally change-resistant. .But if we take the time and care we can start to understand them, at least a bit better. Which is a start.

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PROVOKING THOUGHT WHEN WE NEED IT MOST.

bookstore with bicycle

To understand how we get the future that our children need, want and deserve, we are obliged to challenge our usual ways of thinking, seeing, reacting, deciding, and doing. Here are some wise reminders worth pondering as we look to a different future. (Get yourself a comfortable chair; to be read slowly and pensively ; – )

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Systems Thinking and System Change

ecosystem traffic cars

An interview with Fritjof Capra, the founding director of the Center for Ecoliteracy, about the emergence of systems thinking, the root causes of today’s social and environmental problems, and how to change the system itself. Fritjof Capra is a best-selling writer and leading systems thinker and author of The Systems View of Life .  Here you will find some extracts of Marjorie Kelly’s  interviews Capra of about the emergence of systems thinking and what lessons it has to offer in a world of convergent crises. Full article at https://greattransition.org/publication/systems-thinking-and-system-change

 

MK: Your new book, The Systems View of Life, provides an overview of systems thinking for those in a broad range of professions, from economics and politics to medicine, psychology, and law. Why do you see systems thinking as valuable in so many different settings?

FC: Systems thinking is relevant to all professions and academic disciplines that deal with life in one way or another—with living organisms, social systems, or ecosystems. Systems thinking is inherently multidisciplinary and I hope our textbook will help to create a common language for students of all disciplines.

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THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH (A TALE FOR OUR TIME)

(Relax. It’s the weekend. And nothing to do with climate change of course. Of course)

–  Edgar Allan Poe (Boston, 1842)

THE “Red Death” had long devastated the country. No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its Avatar and its seal –the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains, and sudden dizziness, and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution. The scarlet stains upon the body and especially upon the face of the victim, were the pest ban which shut him out from the aid and from the sympathy of his fellow-men. And the whole seizure, progress and termination of the disease, were the incidents of half an hour.

But the Prince Prospero was happy and dauntless and sagacious. When his dominions were half depopulated, he summoned to his presence a thousand hale and light-hearted friends from among the knights and dames of his court, and with these retired to the deep seclusion of one of his castellated abbeys.

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Our mobile conscience 

Dealing with good and evil (in traffic)

drawing head held anxietyIn 2010 a 38-year-old motorist filled with remorse entered a police station in the Netherlands to give himself up. Twenty years earlier he had run over a child and was ridden with guilt. The man explained that he slept badly since the accident, suffered from nightmares and could not find a decent permanent job. The approximately five-year-old child unexpectedly crossed the road and he could not brake in time. While another motorist took care of the victim, he drove away and since then he lived contrary to his conscience. Until it was too much for him that morning and he decided to surrender himself.

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Happiness: The Transformative Role of Sustainable Transport

In the late spring of 2012 the diligent editor of World Streets was visited by a young Canadian writer who announced that he was working on a book about “Happy Cities”, and in this context wanted to talk  about my experience in and Charles Montgomery in trafficthoughts on the happiness arena, with particular attention to issues concerning ordinary people, people like Thee and Me, in our day-to-day lives: issues of mobility and public space, needs meet and unmet, individualism and community, time and distance, behavior and equity,  economy and democracy . . .  in Paris and around the world. Why not?  What the hell, maybe I will learn something from him.

Charles Montgomery’s merciless interrogation lasted a full day,followed by extensive correspondence over the course of the next year.  Toward the end of 2013 his book “Happy City: Transforming Our Lives through Urban Design” was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in New York. One year later the 368 page volume has just appeared in an affordable paperback edition, and is now widely available in bookshops, and of course the Internet. (PS. Support your local bookshop, it is a happier experience!) We thank the author and the publisher for permission to share the following extracts with our readers to celebrate the low-cost editions now available.

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The rough road to sustainable mobility: Values, priorities, behavior . . and finally, understanding people (and ourselves)

indonesia-jakarta-traffic-on-following-monday

WHY ARE THEY THERE? NOW? (Work trip in Jakarta on one more busy morning)  Each person behind a wheel there made a choice to be there.  For better or worse. How can we give them Better Choices? That’s the rub.

What many people call “transportation” . .  is at its very essence not about road or bridges, nor vehicles or technology, and not even about money.  Above all it is about people, their needs, fears, desires and the decisions they make. And the backdrop — real and mental — against which they make those decision. The transport planner needs to know more them and take this knowledge into the center of the planning and policy process. What makes them tick, individually and collectively.  What do they want and what they are likely to resist. And people, as we all know, are intensely complicated, personal and generally change-resistant. .But if we take the time and care we can start to understand them, at least a bit better. Which is a start.

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A Walk along the Street of Harmony in Penang

Penang Street of Harmony Project celebrates mutual tolerance illustrated by this amazingly cosmopolitan microcosm.

– Anwar Fazal takes us for a walk down the Street of Harmony in Penang.

The island of Penang, Malaysia, has long been a magnet for a multitude of people from all over the world and has over the last two centuries succeeded in integrating countless cultures and religions into its very fabric.

Penang  is very special.  It was a place that opened up for all the communities of the world. That particular special flavor, sometimes in many places in the world, is all too often lost over history. But in Penang, uniquely, it continued.

There is much Penang can teach the world today about acceptance and harmony in diversity.

* * * Walk down the streets of Penang with Anwar Fazal. |  View: https://vimeo.com/219493364

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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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Invitation to the New Mobility Fine Arts Collection: Summer 2017 SLOW CITY PENANG: TIME TO TAKE A GOOD HARD LOOK


SLOW CITY PENANG – AN INVITATION

From the New Mobility Fine Arts Collection, Summer 2017. From 1 July – 1 September

An online exhibit of shared photos, drawings, renderings, street art, child scribblings, videos, poems, proposed projects events . . . .illustrating these two very different sides of life in Penang: fast and slow. the good, the bad and the at times very ugly.

– See https://www.facebook.com/NewMobilityArts/ for details

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Slow City: In the beginning were the Provos (and the White Plans)

luud-provo-cop-white-bike

To understand Luud Schimmelpennink’s White Bicycle Plan, it helps to have a look at the broader context of values, philosophy and politics that were prevailing in Amsterdam at that time –  the Provos, a Dutch counterculture youth movement in the mid-1960s.

And if one concludes that this was more or less what was going on in other parts of Europe and North America, you would be right.  And a bit wrong. The Dutch were digging deeper. At least this part of Dutch society was.

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Soft techniques in martial arts (and good governance)

woman soft martial artsAn important element of our Better Choices sustainability  strategy is to achieve our carefully-considered objectives for the city, often very demanding, without avoidable social conflicts and divisions into opposing camps.  For that we need to be attentive to soft policy techniques.

Softness is often confused with weakness. But not in the martial arts. The goal of the soft technique is deflecting the attacker’s force to his or her disadvantage, with the defender exerting minimal force. With a soft technique, the defender uses the attacker’s aggressivity, force and momentum against him or her, by leading the attack(er) in a direction to where the defender will be advantageously positioned (tai sabaki) and leaving the attacker off balance; a seamless and to many invisible movement then effects the appropriate soft technique.

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Glasgow homage to Amsterdam’s historic White Bicycles

 luud-glasgow-international-festival-of-visual-art-2010

Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art 2010

“The White Bicycle Plan proposes to create bicycles for public use that cannot be locked. The white bicycle symbolizes simplicity and healthy living, as opposed to the gaudiness and filth of the authoritarian automobile.” (Provo Manifesto)

For Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art 2010, NVA staged a re-enactment of the infamous Witte Fietsenplan (White Bike Plan).

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How one lion-hearted Amsterdam inventor gave bike-sharing to the world

luud-white-bike-reproduction-in-museumIn the 1960s, a Dutchman named Luud Schimmelpennink created a ‘”white bike” plan to fight against harmful pollution and cars. His invention has changed public transportation around the world. So why did his bicycle-loving home city never embrace it?

 

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