HOW MOBILE ARE WE AND HOW DID WE GET HERE? (2018 New Mobility Master Class: Draft for comment)

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).

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Say Good-bye to Old Mobility

green-car

“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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Mobility in an Age of Turbulence

Let’s first step back to consider the principal dynamics of the broader context – and specifically the high level of activity and innovation concerning ways in which climate and environment issues, new mobility patterns, unserved needs, economic realities, technologies, legislation, interest groups, political pressures, and yet more are going through a raging process of adaptation and change, which is often proving quite painful. If we put it all together we can see that this is a sector and a time in which the term “creative destruction” has real meaning.

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BETTER CHOICES: Mobility in an Age of Turbulence

Draft for comment: From advanced working draft of forthcoming book, “BETTER CHOICES: Bringing Sustainable Mobility to your City”.  Latest working drafts currently at available at https://worldstreets.wordpress.com/tag/better-choices/ and https ://www.facebook.com/NewMobilityAgenda/
Comments most welcome to the author at BetterChoices@ecoplan.org

Let’s first step back to consider the principal dynamics of the broader context – and specifically the high level of activity and innovation concerning ways in which climate and environment issues, new mobility patterns, unserved needs, economic realities, technologies, legislation, interest groups, political pressures, and yet more are going through a raging process of adaptation and change, which is often proving quite painful. If we put it all together we can see that this is a sector and a time in which the term “creative destruction” has real meaning.

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“BETTER CHOICES”?

Bringing Sustainable Transport to Smaller Asian Cities

INDIA GUARGON CAR FREE DAY BICYCLIST

“Better Choices” is the title that Professor S. K. Jason Chang, Director, Advanced Transport Research Center of National Taiwan University and I have chosen for our collaborative book in the works reporting on the challenges of “Bringing Sustainable Transport to Smaller Asian Cities”. The MS is presently in process and is being presented, critiqued, reviewed and discussed  by colleagues in both the Asia/Pacific region and other parts of the world in which the “smaller cities” challenges of sustainable transport transition have much in common with those facing planners, policy makers and others concerned with these planetary issues and dilemmas. The completed book is slated for publication by Think City– http://thinkcity.com.my —  in English, Chinese and Malay editions  in Spring 2017 (other languages currently under discussion).

The following introductory note is taken from the opening chapter of the working edition and is presented here by way of advance information for our international colleagues and others interested, and for your eventual comments, challenges, questions and suggestions. For a short note setting on the overall work plan click to https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B41h-Am2TpUHZldiUGdlbG8wQ2c.
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(BC)  Say Good-bye to Old Mobility (taking stock)

green-car

“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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WOMEN, CYCLING, ETC. – A CONVERSATION AMONG FRIENDS

(An unstructured chat among fellow cyclists. Definitely  not a questionnaire) 

children with push balance bikesA. YOU AND CYCLING

1. You are a woman    YES________/No __________

2. You have a bicycle  YES________/No __________

3. You ride a bicycle fairly often in your day to day life as “normal transport:  YES______/No ____

4. You find that is not always that easy, safe or agreeable to use a bike in your city. YES____/No _____ (City name)_______________________________

5. You understand that in different places/cultures actually having and riding a bike for a woman is not all that easy, for many reasons. . . YES________/No ______________

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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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Top Twenty World Streets Postings: 2009 – 2015

ws-newsstandWhile you are away from the office and all the pressures of your workplace, here for your after-work reading pleasure are the twenty most read articles to appear in World Streets since opening day in 2009.  Quite a varied lot, and when your editor reads them he generally prefers to do so not at a desk but seated comfortably with a tablet or largish window smartphone in hand to take advantage of those unstructured unexpected free moments that can pop up in any day. After all, World Streets is intended for the reflective back of your mind, not the whirring over-charged front.

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Dead End in Brazil? Interview with O Globo Brazil.

In the day before the opening of the World Cup in Brazil, where traffic chaos is expected to be the rule of the day (missed opportunities there?) this is a video transcript of a 20 November 2013 interview with Bolivar Torres, Brazil Sao Paulo Traffic congestionBrazilian journalist with O Globo, a leading Brazilian newspaper.  His topic: Notably unsustainable transportation and trends in Brazilian cities — seen from an international perspective. What to do? How to move from today’s failing and inconsistent ad hoc Old Mobility policies which are not getting at the roots of the problems? Perhaps toward a New Mobility Agenda?  And what if anything could have been introduced in time to improve traffic and life quality conditions for all during the coming World Cup and Olympics?

* See corrective note on photo below.

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World Transport Policy & Practice – Vol. 20, No. 1. January 2014

This issue of World Transport Policy and Practice opens the journal’s 20th year UK- Alan-Babit-Trmour-enhanced-red light downof  consistent commitment to sustainable transport, which embraces the urgent need to cut global emissions of carbon dioxide, to reduce the amount of new infrastructure of all kinds and to highlight the importance of future generations, the poor, those who live in degraded environments and those deprived of human rights by planning systems that put a higher importance on economic objectives than on the environment and social justice.

The lead editorial by founding editor John Whitelegg  reports on the wrong-headed intensification of the mobility paradigm which is now firmly locked into a very strong, highly destructive  infrastructure fetish.  Articles by Jeff Kenworthy (Australia) , Nguyen Thi Cat Tuong (Vietnam), John Baptist Gauci (Malta), and the team of Mary Surridge, Cathy Green, Dynes Kaluba and Victor Simfukwe (Zambia) complete this latest edition of the Journal.

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Penang report excerpts: Pedestrian Overpasses

6.1           Pedestrian Overpasses

 A pedestrian overpass allows pedestrians safe crossing over busy roads without impeding traffic.

malaysia penang ped overpasses stairsThere was a time that these grafted bits or road-related infrastructure seemed to make sense. A mark of that time was the implicit assumption that “traffic” meant  cars and that it made perfect sense to give them priority over pedestrians, cyclists and anybody else who might wish to cross a busy road. That time has now passed.

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Op-Ed. Horrendous costs of motorized transport in (Indian) cities

Henrik ValeurEvery once in a while an article pops in over the transom, as happened this morning,  that provides us with a good, independent  checklist of the woes and, if not the solutions, at least the directions in which solutions might usefully be sought to our transportation related tribulations.  And this carefully crafted piece by Danish architect Henrik Valeur is a good case in point. His independent out of the box perspective leads him to making comments links and pointing out relationships which take him well beyond the usual transportation purview.  And if his immediate source of comment in this article is the awful, the quite unnecesssary situation on the streets of India’s cities, the points he makes have universal application. Healthy stuff for planners and policy makers. Let’s have a look.

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The Equity Initiative: 2011-2015

First step: Say good-bye to Old Mobility

Chengdu China looking at caps on cars“Old Mobility” – with its relentless stress on more, supply, more vehicles, more speed, ever greater distances and more infrastructure as the knee-jerk answer to our mobility problems — has been the favored path for conceptualizing, decision-making and investment in the sector over the last 70 years. It is fully charted, surprise-free 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 majority . . . this tired approach  is a clear failure. It’s time for a major change of course.

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Old Mobility: Going, Going, Gone!

scratching-headIn order to understand what needs to be done to create healthier lives and a better performing set of transportation arrangements, World Streets has from the very beginning made a consistent distinction between what we call “Old Mobility” vs.”New Mobility.”  The difference between the two is simple, straight-forward . . . and substantial.

Old mobility was the dominant form of transportation policy, practice and thinking that took its full shape and momentum starting in the mid twentieth century, at a time when we all lived in a universe that was, or at least seemed to be, boundless and  free of constraints. It served many of us well in many ways at the time, albeit with numerous and notable exceptions, though we were blind to most of them most of the time. It was a very different world back them. But that world is gone.  Gone and it will never come back.

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