Sustainable Transportation – 101 Things You Have to Keep Your Eye On

brain2One of the reasons why such a small proportion of the world cities are working on having more sustainable transportation systems has to do with the fact that these are literally “complex systems”, a category of social and economic interactions which is far more complicated than laying down additional meters of concrete.

A complex system is filled with nuances and surprises, as a result of the fact that all of the bits and pieces that constitute them interact with each other, and all too often yields contradictory results which are quite opposite from what the initial practitiones or policymakers may have wished to bring about.  The classic example of this is of course the discredited “predict and provide” approach to transport which famously creates a mindset which consistently favors more traffic.  So even with all of the goodwill and hope in the world, many of these policies or approaches achieve results which are contrary to the initial expectations and often deleterious.

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IS WORLD STREETS DOING ITS JOB? (We asked 100 international experts for their views.)

And one hundred and one responded:

Some WS readers - 2

Some World Streets readers

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The Streets of Chisinau: First glimpses

If you do not know Chisinau and Moldova and want to have a first feel for how the transport scene works there, sit back and have a look. And as you will see from the vantage of what we call “sustainable mobility” it offers a very mixed scene, things that work, and others that could work better. Like virtually every city on this gasping planet. Let’s have a look.

Moldova Chisinau waiting for the bus

Moldova Chisinau waiting for the bus

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Public transport advocate solicits ideas to break ‘car culture’ in Penang

Penang has over-built infrastructures that are poorly used, says Eric Britton. — Picture by K.E. Ooi

From the Archives. George Town Malaysia. Sept 23 , 2013  http://themalaymailonline.com/ —

By Opalyn Mok

A predilection for cars means that 80 per cent of transport funding is used to cater for the needs of 20 per cent of society, according to a public transport proponent today.

World Car Free Day founder Eric Britton pointed out this uneven distribution in public expenditure was an issue in many modern cities, including Penang.

“It should be the other way around where only 20 per cent funding is needed and it can fulfil the needs of 80 per cent of the society,” he said during a media focus group under the Sustainable Penang: Toward a New Mobility Agenda two-week programme this morning.

In a bid to change that, Britton is here for the two-week Sustainable Penang: Towards a New Mobility Agenda.

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Talking Modern Trams (And Global Transport Strategies) in Penang

France Paris Mobilien bus priority
From Sustainable Penang WhatsApp 24/7 public dialogue of this date:

* More on S/P‘s Online 24/7 Open Town Hall Meeting http://wp.me/psKUY-4iA

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Gatnet 2.0: Gearing up for 2016

Dear Gatnet Friends and Colleagues,
zetabyte-image-largeWhen Priyanthi Fernando decided to invite an innovative month-long peer dialogue on Gender Mainstreaming in Rural Transport in November, I was fascinated by her idea on several scores.  First, the topic itself and very curious to see what the 150 or so people from various corners of the world signed into Gatnet would have to share and create together on this subject. And second, I was intrigued to see how our somewhat sagging original Dgroups website package was going to be able to support these exchanges. So I decided to jump in with both feet and as the exchanges moved along, I was struck by two things in turn.

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New Gatnet 2.0 Combined Search Engine – Trial run

magnifying glassWe invite you to try this on the topic of our November Dialogue led by Pri  in Dgroups Gatnet site at https://dgroups.org/worldbank/gatnet/ .
 
1. Call up our in-process Gatnet 2.0 search engine – https://goo.gl/EOjBpI
 
2. Pop in the following keywords: “gender mainstreaming rural transport”
 
3. Have a look and if your time permits it would be useful for improving this tool if you might share your comments and suggestions.
 
That’s just one way of checking it out. You will quickly see its potential.
 
Again, your critical comments and suggestions more than welcome
# # #

Gatnet: Gearing up for 2016

Dear Gatnet Friends and Colleagues,
zetabyte-image-largeWhen Priyanthi Fernando decided to invite us to an month-long peer dialogue on Gender Mainstreaming in Rural Transport, I was fascinated by . . .  First, the topic itself and was very curious to see what the 150 or so people from various corners of the world signed into Gatnet would have share and create together on this subject. And second I was intrigued to see how our somewhat sagging original Dgroups website package was going to be able to support these exchanges. So I decided to jump in with both feet and as the exchanges moved along, I was struck by two things in turn.

First, how much we have to learn from each other. And second, what a barely adequate platform we had to work with dear old Dgroups.  So at the same time following what Pri, Hans, Salma, Gina, Prakash, Batel, Jun, Randy, Protasio, Andrea, Serge, Robert, Paul, Gifty, Nite, Peter, Maria, Lucy, Vero, Holy, Barney, Solomon, Tim, Jeff, and I am sure I have forgotten one or two of us — I quickly came to the conclusion that we were not all that well served by the original decade old Dgroups technology. Yes, it functions decently as a listserv, but it is basically a closed system, difficult to sort through and for quite some time the Search function has not worked at all.  And it is media poor.  Your work deserves more and better.

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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

Preparing your next Car Free Day: Check out the fundamentals. The First Car Free Days Challenge: Toledo Spain, October 1994

World CFD website top banner

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 announcement and challenge was made in Toledo Spain on 19 October 1994.

velib-guyWhy do we bother to do this year after year? After all, there is copious documentation and background available at a click, as a quick tour of Google of those three little words yields somewhat more than 55,000 entries, including a fair if distinctly uneven introduction in the Wikipedia article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Car-Free_Days. The problem is that most of this material seriously misses the point, and as a result often handicaps cities and groups wishing to organize a Day (a week or month close) to underestimate potential of this approach. The trick is that all of this is quite a simple as it may at first glance appear.

To this end, here we are once again minding the store with the original 1994 article announcing the concept, along with several others from our archives which would appear here in the coming days. A general reference which the reader may find of use is the general introduction which appears here – https://worldstreets.wordpress.com/tag/car-free-days/. You will find at the end of this reposting, three separate annexes which provide supplemental background on (Annex A) New Mobility – 1988-1994 Program Summary; (B) Other Tools to Get the Job Done; and (C) a listing of more recent references.

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A Short History of Car Free Days: Origins, Timeline, Progress

“Every day is a great day to take a few cars off the street and think about it.”

Here is how the Car Free Days movement got started and has taken shape over the last 21 years.  This is the second in a series of articles which we update and post annually just prior to the September rush to get the latest batch of Car Free Day projects off the ground. We hope that these pieces and the references you find here are going to prove useful to those responsible for making a success of their Days in 2015. Getting a CFD right and making it a real success is no easy task — good knowledge of what has worked and not worked in the past should serve you well. Continue reading

Preparing your next Car Free Day: Check out the fundamentals. The First Car Free Days Challenge: Toledo Spain, October 1994

World CFD website top banner

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 announcement and challenge was made in Toledo Spain on 19 October 1994.

velib-guyWhy do we bother to do this year after year? After all, there is copious documentation and background available at a click, as a quick tour of Google of those three little words yields somewhat more than 55,000 entries, including a fair if distinctly uneven introduction in the Wikipedia article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Car-Free_Days. The problem is that most of this material seriously misses the point, and as a result often handicaps cities and groups wishing to organize a Day (a week or month close) to underestimate potential of this approach. The trick is that all of this is quite a simple as it may at first glance appear.

To this end, here we are once again minding the store with the original 1994 article announcing the concept, along with several others from our archives which would appear here in the coming days. A general reference which the reader may find of use is the general introduction which appears here – https://worldstreets.wordpress.com/tag/car-free-days/. You will find at the end of this reposting, three separate annexes which provide supplemental background on (Annex A) New Mobility – 1988-1994 Program Summary; (B) Other Tools to Get the Job Done; and (C) a listing of more recent references.

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GREEK CRISIS: Our media coverage on Facebook: 27 June – today

greek crisis eading newspapersFor a more complete view of our discussions and coverage of these improtant events, you are invited to click to https://goo.gl/P4oWJw

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Greek Crisis: As the polls close . . .

Greek flag - man holding Euro flag up top

18:00, Sunday 5 July 2015 in Greece and the polls have just closed on this momentous day for democracy. The outcome of the unexpected but oh so important referendum will not be known for several hours yet.  So what better time to pour a glass of cool retsina white, sit down with some friends, and sort through the accumulated evidence of these last ten days in which the eyes of the world have turned to Greece.

Here are a few observations and thoughts about the future which come most immediately to mind to this ever-curious observer:

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The Encyclical Dialogue: What happens next on World Streets?

Pop Francis listening critically

World Streets accepts this wise invitation of open discussion of these critical matters with grateful thanks to the Pope and the Vatican, and a genuine desire to participate usefully.

Pope Francis has invited us all, invited the world in all its varieties and contradictions, to read, ponder and comment on the carefully crafted forty thousand words of his Encyclical, Laudato Si’: On Care for our Common Home. In the opening lines of the long, varied and challenging document he addresses us in these words.

In this Encyclical, I would like to enter into dialogue with all people about our common home. . . I urgently appeal for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all.

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Encyclical Laudato Si’: On Care for our Common Home

pope francis in crowd

Photo: Massimo Pinca/AP

Pope Francis’s just-promulgated encyclical “Laudato Si’: On Care for our Common Home”, is without a doubt the most important single document to be published, initiative  to be taken, since the phrase sustainable development was invented three long and patently unsuccessful decades ago. This extraordinary document of less than one hundred pages aims to inform and to rally the forces of responsible  behavior and responsible governance to the cause and the plight of our planet and to the role of active democracy.  Beautifully written (the English language version at least), clearly presented and cogently argued in clear day to day language.    It is an excellent and inspiring read. However it is not a recipe, it has its shortcomings — it is a challenge, and thus requires that we read it carefully and do our own sorting out of the issues and the counsel it offers. Hardly an effortless process.

One of the more disheartening passages includes his listing of all the promising international agreements that have failed for lack of support from the leaders who signed them.

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Editorial: World Transport Policy and Practice. Vol. 21, No.2

Little girl in trafficThis issue of World Transport Policy and Practice marks the migration of the journal and its associated web site to a new location.  The new web site address is: http://worldtransportjournal.com

The new site will also contain information from our US partners, Transportation Choices for Sustainable Communities Research & Policy Institute and occasional announcements about new books and resources that will assist the global community seeking to accelerate the transition to a genuinely sustainable transport future.  This transition is now more urgently needed than ever and future issues of the journal will try very hard to communicate the urgency and practicality of this transition to those who make the decisions.

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Malta in the Battle of Ideas (Convergence)

Malta thus far has been a difficult nut to crack when it comes to the whole concept of sustainable development, which for most of the people living there thus far appears to be a  distant and not very important consideration. In this they are not alone;  this has long been the relaxed position of most people in the Mediterranean region when it comes to these broader social issues which require quite different levels of participation, consensus and government.

malta traffic

 Getting to work in Malta

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Battles of Ideas

complex systems networkThis section is intended as an international reference set to be useful for researchers, students, the media and for concerned citizens and activists on the lookout for ideas and strategies which can be put to work in their own cities.

The goal is to give our readers a chance to weigh and appreciate the very wide range of  ways of thinking, questioning, planning and executing when it comes to how transport in cities is being organized and delivered in different parts of the world.  The references you find here are  for the most part organized into countries, with the exception of the African continent which is included in its totality as a region that desperately requires more attention because the needs there are so enormous — and the fact that the fit with frugal, sustainable transport strategies simply could not be better.

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Fair Mobility: Can your city learn some lessons from Malta?

Can your city learn some lessons from Malta when it comes to proving fair mobility for all, including those with mobility handicaps? (Lessons that they Malta  poor sidewalksthemselves are, ever so sadly, not learning. At least not thus far. ) Let me put this in other, stronger words. If your city is not giving careful attention to these equitable pedestrian issues, well you are living in a seriously underdeveloped, inequitable, third-rate city. Face it! Let us hear what Kevin Cutajar of the Gozo Federation Persons with Disability has to say on this as he goes eye to eye with government authorities on this important issue. If he does not speak up, who will?

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