Seven wishes from World Streets for China in the Year of the Snake

chinese new year 2013 - Gong Xi Fa CaiGong Xi Fa Cai Transport in Cities:

May the Year of the Snake be the year in which China no longer follows the old tired paths of the twentieth century, but shows the world new ways to tackle city mobility improvement with striking on-street examples of affordable and efficient ways to move into a new era of harmony and transportation with a human face.

chinese 7Here are our seven wishes for efficiency, harmony and mobility in Chinese cities in this Year of the Snake. Continue reading

Op-Ed: Think again about China and Innovation

This is excellent piece of analytic work by a young Canadian scholar, strips away many of the all too easy myths about China and Chinese copycat culture, and puts before us quite a different picture of their competitive potential for a very different future. . Let me quote the author’s opening paragraph which does a good job of setting the stage for what follows.

eric b kennedyConversations about innovation in the United States are rife with the adversarial language of exceptionalism. Rather than view China’s economic rise as a threat, American businesses and policy makers should take an open-minded look at the Chinese national innovation system. Innovation, according to the Chinese, should be in service of overcoming social and environmental challenges, not only generating prosperity and new inventions. And rather than viewing innovation as an individual pursuit, the Chinese recognize the necessity of a strong government role.

And from this end I want to transpose this message specifically to the transport sector as it concerns us  here at World Streets. If in the past we have seen that the Chinese response to their rapid city growth and exploding transportation requirements has been to mimic the (worst of) the West yard by yard, can we reasonably assume that they will continue on such a path in the future? I for one doubt it, so let’s keep a weather eye on the new generation of problem-solvers, solutions and approaches they are going to put to work. Since we all surely will have a great deal to learn from them.  But now let’s hear what Eric Kennedy has to say about China’s new national innovation system:

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Op-Ed: Where Does SLoCaT Stand in Realizing Sustainable Transport?

Three years ago the Partnership on Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport slocat logo(SLoCaT) was established to address the relative absence of sustainable transport in the global discussions on sustainable development and climate change. Rapid motorization in the developing world and its negative impacts motivated the organizations that came together in SLoCaT. There was agreement that SLoCaT should initially have a mandate for three years only and that by the end of 2012 a decision would be made whether to call it a day or to go on, possibly, with a revised mission. Those three years have gone by. So where is SLoCaT now and what is next; declare victory and move on, admit defeat and move on, or stay in the fight? Continue reading

Behind the Rape in the Bus

Over at India Streets today – http://www.facebook.com/IndiaStreets – the india bus crowdingdistinguished Indian journalist and writer, Vidyadhar Date, posts an article entitled “Rosa Parks, The Power of Resistance and the Rape In The Bus In Delhi”. He makes a point which I believe is central to understanding  a great part of both (a) the what and (b) the why of this tragic event in Delhi, when he writes: Continue reading

Behind the Rape in the Bus

Albert Hirschman in Latin America: Notes on Hirschman´s Trilogy on Economic Development.

Albert HirschmanThis paper published in 2004 by professor Ana Maria Bianchi of the Faculty of Economics of the University of São Paulo  offers more in this series on the work and considerable contributions of the great economist and social scientist Albert Hirschman who died on Monday of this week in Princeton New Jersey. (Also see the earlier homage that appeared here “Earth, receive an honoured guest. In Memory of Albert O. Hirschman” at http://wp.me/psKUY-2DJ )
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Letter from Bangalore: The Derelict Mile

Sujaya Rathi  reports from Bangalore:
india-bangalore-pedestria woman crossingPrivate vehicles in India have seen an unprecedented growth in past two decades and there is no sign of slowing down.  Many initiatives to curb the trend have not been successful.  This article highlights an important aspect that attribute to the above unsustainable phenomenon, which has been ignored: “The Derelict Mile”.
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Op-Ed: Awful Injustice in Parking

Misguided parking policy is harmful and unjust.

No surprise there, you may say. There is no shortage of complaints about parking prices (“unfair!”) and about how difficult it is to find parking. We hear the same thing all over the world, whether in Sydney, San Francisco, Singapore, Moscow, Delhi , Jakarta, Beijing, Sao Paolo, Lagos or Nairobi.

Sorry to be unsympathetic. But complaints like those are a problem. They are fuel for the never-ending push for more parking and cheaper parking.

So what? Continue reading

Congestion as policy. (I have seen worse.)

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 any 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 us sell soap 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 half a decade.  Read on. Continue reading

Why cycle rickshaws should be driven from the street. (And what it means for mobility, environment, equity and the wellbeing of hundreds of thousands of hard working people and their families)

Let me not poach the information and arguments presented in this fine analysis of the informal transport economy of Ashima Sood’s recently published paper in the Economic and Political Weekly (Mumbai), other than to cite her opening summary:  “A February 2010 judgment of the Delhi High Court called into question several assumptions underlying policy thinking on the cycle rickshaw sector. Examining these assumptions in the light of new research and advocacy efforts, this article considers the prospect of policy and regulatory reform. With the cycle rickshaw sector as a case study, it argues that the punitive regulatory framework governing the sector embodies the dualist or even parasitic models that inform policy on informal services more broadly. Assessing the larger viability and contribution of informal sector activities requires more attention to local and sector-specific micro-processes.” Continue reading

Bogota 21: Toward a world-class transit-oriented Metropolis (with commentary)

This report sponsored by Siemens under a program initi­ated by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and De­velopment (BMZ) recommends “that about 4.2% of the national Gross Do­mestic Product (GDP), needs to be spent annually to develop Bogotá into a world-class transit-oriented metropolis”. The report has been  implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für In­ternationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, active in Colombia for almost 50 years, and Siemens, a German global corporation present in Co­lombia for nearly 60 years.  And to see it for yourself,  click here for the full report that has just been released. http://despacio.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Bogota-21-english.pdf Continue reading

Young Scholars/Future Leaders Fellows Program: Kaohsiung World Share/Transport Forum 2010

The Young Scholars/Future Leaders program organized in association with the inaugural Kaohsiung World Share/Transport Forum provided a highly  innovative and useful component of the 2010 event, which we are keen on build on and extend in the future. To this end, we publish here today background information taken from the original  event, as a stepping stone in the direction of bringing the entire program up to date and making it one of the key building blocks of the still to be decided 2013 World Forum.  More to follow on this shortly but for now read on here.

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Paratransit for mobility impaired persons in developing regions

– Now available at http://www.globalride-sf.org/paratransit/Guide.pdf Continue reading

Low Carbon Twin Cities Conference 2012 in Tainan : Expanding Horizons with New Mobility Partnerships

* Click here for full presentation    twin-cities-17sep12

CFDs: Get the nose of the camel under the tent.

Every day is a great day to take a few cars off the road and think about it

Once a year in mid-summer we wind up the World Car Free Day Collaborative site at www.worldcarfreedays.com as we have done yearly for the last 15 years to get it ready to serve as an information source and contact tool for cities and others who are considering events in the second half of the year.  Most notably among these the numerous Car Free Day events are those that tend to cluster around the end of September, including the annual European Mobility Week and its multitude of CFDs, most but not all of which in Europe, which you can check out for yourself at http://www.mobilityweek.eu/home/. Continue reading

Why are we losing the war on sustainable transport, sustainable cities and sustainable lives?

There are of course quite a number of reasons, but one of them is NOT that we do not have sufficient knowledge and experience in order to figure out and implement effectively a very large number of measures and policies, each of which one step at a time will draw us just one bit more close to our much needed goals. So that is definitely not the problem. Continue reading

“Important . . . but don’t do anything about it yet” World Transport Policy & Practice – Vol. 18, No. 3. June 2012

The Journal of World Transport Policy and Practice is the long-standing idea and print partner of World Streets and the New Mobility Agenda since 1995. The Spring 2012 edition appears with articles by Arlene Tigar McLaren and Sylvia Parusel, Alan Hallsworth and Alfred Wong, and Chris Gillham and Chris Rissel .  In the article that follows you will find the hard-hitting lead editorial by founding editor John Whitelegg, which ends with this statement: “The persistence of road traffic danger as a scourge and blight on the lives of millions is profoundly indicative of the lack of intelligence, ethics and common sense on the part of the vast majority of those making decisions about transport, traffic, budgets and quality of life.”  QED.

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Carlos Pardo: On Slow(er) transport?

I was thinking that, since the concept of “slow” has been around for a while, but applied to concepts such as food and “living” in general, one could think of applying it to transport policies and projects… that is, create the term “slow transport” or “slower transport”, but responsibly. Below are some notes that could generate ideas towards that direction: where the concept comes from, why and how we can apply it, and some obstacles or possible problems. I will be as brief as possible, since I could write for ages about this. My main concern would be to develop a (or yet another) way of justifying the promotion and development of sustainable transport. And my main worry is that we could just generate a new empty term related to urban transport (we have enough already). Continue reading