This issue brings together two important strands of thinking in sustainable mobility and the bigger picture around how the world is changing and now faces a rather stark choice. We can either go down the route of high quality, people-centred, healthy, active, child-friendly cities or we can finish the job started by Henry Ford and shape a future dominated by vehicles and technology, exterminate walking, cycling and public transport and deeply entrench our total submission to a space greedy, dollar-greedy, unhealthy technological domination of the way we live. The latter is the world of electric vehicles and autonomous vehicles (AVs) and is now attracting large scale support and buy-in from politicians, corporations and environmental groups.
* Full text available here – https://goo.gl/9aecLD
19 March 2018. University of Chicago Center in Paris
ICoRSI 19 March Symposium Programme
The one day symposium is being sponsored by the Independent Council for Road Safety International (www.icorsi.org) when fourteen papers will be presented to focus on important theoretical and practical issues concerning road safety around the world. The papers have been specially prepared for wider dissemination after discussion at this symposium. A brochure including the details of the programme is attached.
The symposium should be of special interest to researchers and policy makers working on critical road safety issues internationally.
For general background on ICoRSI see https://www.icorsi.org. For full program: https://goo.gl/77WNLD
The presentations at the symposium will be recorded and used for public information. The papers presented at the ICoRSI International Symposium Road Safety Around the World: Future Concerns may be published separately after discussion at the symposium.
The mobility/growth paradigm (or the mobility complex)
– By John Whitelegg, extract from his book MOBILITY. A New Urban Design and Transport Planning Philosophy for a Sustainable Future, Chapters 2 and 3. For more on the New Mobility Master Class program click here – https://goo.gl/BB2pPE
Mobility is most commonly measured, if at all, as total distance travelled per annum per capita in kilometres and/or total distance travelled per day per capita. There are other important dimensions e.g. number of trips made per day or number of destinations that can be accessed by different modes of transport in a defined unit of time but these are not generally measured in a systematic way or included in data sets. Usually mobility is not defined. It has become a rather vague concept associated with quality of life or progress and it is invoked as a “good thing” and something that should be increased. This is very clear in most national transport policies and at the European level where major transport policies and funding mechanisms are increasingly framed.
A recent EU research and development document (European Commission 2013a) begins with the main heading “Mobility for growth.” It does not define mobility. The document is an undiluted manifesto accepting and promoting the growth of mobility and advocating the importance of this growth for the success of wider economic policy objectives, asserting the unquestioned importance of endless economic growth and ignoring the voluminous literature on the impossibility of endless economic growth and of ecological and resource limits to growth (Douthwaite, 1992, Schneidewind, 2014).
Few things are more frustrating in this needful world than to see useful ideas and hard work ending up anonymously cloistered on some distant dusty shelf, real or virtual, and not be accessible to people and groups who could put them to good work, especially at a time of crisis as that we are living through right now. This was one of the challenges we faced at World Streets from the very beginning. How to keep all these good ideas and useful tools alive and available beyond the day on which they were first published and made known to the world.
Maybe it will take care of itself.
An even dozen hard facts that politicians, administrators, accountants and engineers are finding it very hard to accept – but without which they will never be able to lead the transition to sustainable mobility and a sustainable city.
In the context of our 2018 online educational outreach program on New Mobility Master Classes – of which you can check out the initial work plan at https://wp.me/s1fsqb-7777 and https://www.facebook.com/NewMobilityMasterClass/ — we decided to look closely with the help of a handful of our colleagues working in different language environments at the potential for using Google Translate’s offer of immediate machine translation of your web site and with one click in to close to one hundred languages.
Walking to school
The following reproduces the full text of John Whitelegg’s opening chapter of his book, Mobility: A New Urban Design and Transport Planning Philosophy for a Sustainable Future, Straw Barnes Press. September 1, 2015. For further background on the 2018 online New Mobility Master Class program of which focuses on this introduction in the opening session, refer to: “Mobility, Death and Injury. (Let’s see what John Whitelegg has to say about this.)” at https://wp.me/psKUY-59l
In the 1950s as a primary school child in Oldham (UK) I had very limited mobility measured in terms of the number of miles I ranged over each week. Life was intensely focused on the locality, intense contact with other children who lived within 500 metres of my home, and intense outdoor play for as many hours as my parents would allow (usually more than they would allow). We children decided when to go out, where to go, with whom and what to play and from an early age acquired a great deal of proficiency in negotiation skills, dispute resolution and independent decision-taking.
Life was very good, full and rich and the low level of mobility contributed to that richness. Time that might have been spent in a car being taken to organized “things” was put to good use in ways we decided. We did not need to roam very far from home and we enjoyed our local streets, second world war air-raid shelters (dark, dirty and mysterious) and large amounts of untidy urban space.