Op-ed: In Response to Free Public Transport?

Simon Norton comments: Submitted on 2016/08/07

simon-norton

There are 2 overriding arguments for free transport:

  1. It avoids the cost (in both person power and time) of fare collection. The latter is particularly relevant when a bus has to spend ages at bus stops collecting fares from boarding passengers. Then motorists demand that the bus pulls into a layby so that they can get past, and the bus has to waste further time waiting to pull out after all the fares are collected.
  2. It encourages people to think of public transport as the default option. This increases the likelihood of it being able to provide a comprehensive service, as on less used routes it will be able to capture a high proportion of the overall travel demand.

Now for some counter arguments to the ones put forward by Eric:

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Op-Ed: What/who keeps holding back New Mobility reform in your city in 2016?

If you get it, New Mobility policy reform is a no-brainer. However, while the New Mobility Agenda is a great starting place, it is not going to get the job somehow miraculously done just because it is the only game in town when it comes to sustainable transport. There is plenty of competition for your thin wallet,  all that space on the street, and  especially for that space between our ears. We have a few potential sticking points here that need to be overcome first.

Let’s have a quick look. After some years of talking with cities, and working and observing in many different circumstances, here is my personal shortlist of the barriers most frequently encountered in trying to get innovative transportation reform programs off the ground, including even in cities that really do badly need a major mobility overhaul.

And you may read this as a negative criticism of the various groups and interest mentioned here, but please that is not at all my intent.  Human beings and most organizations are notoriously change resistant, that is a key element of their survival strategy.  In this short essay is my intention simply to remind the reader of the most important tension points, so that we can have this in mind as we move ahead with the difficult task of finding allies for a new, better and fairer transportation system

– Eric Britton, Editor, World Streets

To fix Sustainable Transport: Ensure Full Gender Parity in all Decision and Investment Fora (QED)

Here we go again. Every day is a great day for World Streets to announce publicly, loudly and yet once again our firm belief that the most important single thing that our society, our nations and our cities, could do to increase the fairness and the effectiveness of our transportation arrangements would be to make it a matter of the law that all decisions determining how taxpayer money is invested in the sector should be decided by councils that respect full gender parity. We invite you to join us in this challenge and make it one of the major themes of sustainable transport policy worldwide in the year immediately ahead.

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Sustainable Moldova Progress report (1 August 2016)

barn raissing in rural America -2

Cooperative barn raising in rural America

As part of preparing the way for a sponsored project, the last six weeks here were given over to work aimed at laying a firm organizational, working tools and communications base for the actual project. As of this date here are the main building blocks already for the most part in at least beta  working order and ready to go as soon as the sponsors and partners give the green light:

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Penang: Peer exchange on PTMP tasks and accomplishments to date

We hear once again from Mr. Teoh Huey Hooi who comments on July 23 on the following graphic issued by the SRS team with government support. He tells us that “this comparison is obvious, Halcrow just a conceptual guideline, Penang Forum just opposing and did nothing. SRS is the most professional one.”

Interesting interpretation, but let’s have a closer look.

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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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