CAPITALIST TRANSITION ON WHEELS: Cars, motorbikes and mobility in Hanoi

Arve Hansen’s excellent PhD thesis on the transition from bicycles and walking to motorbikes and cars in Hanoi is available here bit.ly/2MJEPOU. Thanks to Javier Caletrío <jmontfra@hotmail.com> and our friiends at the UTSG for the heads-up and to the Mobile Lives Forum for the following texte excerpts from their summary presentation at  </jmontfra@hotmail.com>http://bit.ly/2Np3BJB

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1. What is your research topic? What thesis are you defending?

 * Interview with the author, Arve Hansen of the Center for Development and the Environment, University of Oslo. 

My overall research topic is consumption and development, and I am particularly interested in changing consumption patterns in contexts of rapid social and economic changes. In my PhD thesis I studied the transition from bicycles and walking to motorbikes and cars in Hanoi. In other words, I studied a transition from very low-carbon mobilities to high-carbon mobilities. I approached the topic at the intersection between macro-scale processes of economic development and everyday mobility practices. And in Vietnam’s capital city, understanding contemporary mobilities first and foremost requires an understanding of the motorbike, a so far surprisingly understudied vehicle in the mobilities turn.

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“Transport Refugees” – Victims of Unjust Transport Policies (From our 2009 archives and worthy of your attention today)

Maylasia Penang pred crossing in traffic Pulau Tikus

The term “refugee” if used in the context of transportation would normally be understood to mean “the movement of refugees”. But what we fail to comprehend is that for various reasons it is our own transport systems, and the values and decisions that shape them, that are making many of us “refugees” in our own cities? It does not have to be this way.

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A Walk along the Street of Harmony in Penang

Penang Street of Harmony Project celebrates mutual tolerance illustrated by this amazingly cosmopolitan microcosm.

– Anwar Fazal takes us for a walk down the Street of Harmony in Penang.

The island of Penang, Malaysia, has long been a magnet for a multitude of people from all over the world and has over the last two centuries succeeded in integrating countless cultures and religions into its very fabric.

Penang  is very special.  It was a place that opened up for all the communities of the world. That particular special flavor, sometimes in many places in the world, is all too often lost over history. But in Penang, uniquely, it continued.

There is much Penang can teach the world today about acceptance and harmony in diversity.

* * * Walk down the streets of Penang with Anwar Fazal. |  View: https://vimeo.com/219493364

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Bravo Gurgaon: Implementing a Step By Step CFD Strategy

INDIA GUARGON CAR FREE DAY BICYCLIST

(This is an excellent example of what CFDs are for. Step by step innovation)

MCG plans to lay cycle tracks in all major roads within 3 years

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A BRT FOR PENANG (Great Idea but Mind the Gap)

BRT lane in latin america - itdp

BRT – Bus Rapid Transit – a well-known transportation strategy which since first pioneered Curitiba Brazil in 1974 has seen many successes, and a fair number of disappointments. Fortunately all these projects are quite well documented, such that a real shared learning experience is underway.  Today there are more than two hundred cities on all continents with working BRTs, of a huge variety of variations. All of that is well known and abundantly covered by the literature.

The great thing about BRT is that, if you get it right, it not only serves as a high performance option to being stuck in traffic in your car, but that it also provides an opportunity for rethinking the street system and provide improved contusions for cyclists and pedestrians. But without a doubt the second most important contribution of BRT is that it takes space away from cars, while at the same time giving the drivers a better option.

BRT in Penang

BRT is a great and, I would say without hesitation, even necessary strategy for Penang. However a word of caution: BRT is not an option that you buy off the shelf and plop down on the street. It is something that a city and its team of advisors have to work very hard to study, tailor and implement to meet the unique specifications of your city.

So as part of our learning curve just in is an excellent article on a hotly contested BRT start-up (and shortly close-down) in New Delhi which is getting considerable attention not only there but in the transport world more generally. Today we share with you a report by one of the principal advisors to the project, Professor Dinesh Mohan of the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, along with a few references that see all this from other perspectives.  (We thank the author for permission to reprint here.)

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Journal of World Transport Policy & Practice. Vol. 21, No. 1

 

EDITORIAL

This issue of January 2015 marks the start of our third dec­ade of publication and it is appropriate to use this occasion to africa cyclists bus bit onlythank the hundreds of people who have written articles for the journal over the last 20 years and carried out the onerous task of external reviewer and kept us on our toes with comments, criticism and suggestions. I am especially grateful to the support and encourage­ment I have been given by Eric Britton in France, Helmut Holzapfel in Germany and Paul Tranter in Australia. When I think of this team of wonderful people I know that sustainable transport will very soon migrate from the world of rhetoric to the world of delivery.

I also want to thank Jeff Kenworthy (Curtin University in Australia but now working in Frankfurt) who in addition to sending us a steady flow of truly excellent articles has kept up a running commentary on world events and was instrumental in success­fully connecting this journal with a funder and a partner (announced below).

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Welcome to KNOOGLE

Introducing World Streets Worldwide New Mobility Knowledge Browser, 3.0

brain2KNOOGLE: Use it like Google, but . . . the great advantage over the usual Google search is that (a) it is much more compact and focused in its offering, because (b) it scans and reports on the work and offering of the carefully selected key sources that are leading the way.

Click here to test KNOOGLE: http://knoogle.ecoplan.org

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Happy New Year from Pune: Traffic – Just like all of the rest of us

india car traffic

This New Year’s editorial contributed by Sujit Patwardhan focuses on his home city of Pune, India’s eighth largest city with five million people densely packed into a land area of about 700 sq. km. But despite the vast dimensions of their problems, the potential solutions are basically the same as those encountered by cities around the world that are struggling with these challenges. As Sujit reminds us, the key, the crux, the indispensable thing that will do the job is to apply the strong medicine which most cities and national governments find simply impossible to swallow: namely major curtailing of car access,parking and traffic in the city. And yet, and yet  . .

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Victoria Transport Policy Institute. Fall 2014 Newsletter

This carefully compiled seasonal report from Todd Litman of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute is a fine tool and up to date source guide for researchers and policy makers worldwide. We are pleased to present it in its entirety here, together with references you will find handy to take these entries further. Thanks for your fine continuing work Todd.

Vtpi Litman Canada

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Sustainable Penang/New Mobility Agenda: 2015 Challenges

Lyon, 23 November 2014

malaysia penang dangerous street crossingDear Penang Friends and Participants in the Sustainable Penang/New Mobility Agenda program,

An end-year note from Lyon to let you know that in the year ahead my colleagues and I intend to persist in our efforts to support the efforts to bring sustainable transport to Penang.  For the time being and to keep the project alive, this takes the form of (a) maintaining our Sustainable Penang/New Mobility Agenda website at https://sustainablepenang.wordpress.com  (currently being kept up to date and followed by 153 people both in Penang and beyond) and the supporting Facebook site at https://www.facebook.com/SustainablePenang  (117).  (You can see a bit more about how these information and exchange points are working in the two maps at the end of this posting.)

After careful consideration I have come to two conclusions about the reality of the transport situation in Penang which I firmly believe are critical to your future and which I would now like to share with you.  Good news, and less good news.

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Separating women from the mainstream of life

Demand for women-only public transport rising globally

A headline in The Rakyat Post, a self-proclaimed independent daily in Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur published an article under this heading. You can read the full text here.

mexico - women only metro

Editor’s note: This saddens me greatly, not only for the indignities, affronts, and dangers suffered by women in these cases, because somewhere out there must be a better solution than this.

121 years ago for the first time, and only as a long, hard and for the most part lonely fight,  did women gain the right to vote as full equals in New Zealand — and it has taken more than a century for women to be able to exercise full voting rights in all but a handful of countries in the world. It has been a long and hard battle, and one is not sure that such measures as discussed in this article are really a step in the right direction.

Complex problems in complex systems tend to resist single solutions.

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Op-ed: Political behaviour is largely non-rational

When one considers how things have gone in the last decades or thereabouts, it is not easy to believe in the survival of civilization.

brain surgeryI do not argue from this that the only thing to do is to adjure practical politics, retire to some remote place and concentrate either on individual salvation or on building up self-supporting communities against the day when the atom bombs have done their work. I think one must continue the political struggle, just as a doctor must try to save the life of a patient who is probably going to die.

But I do suggest that we shall get nowhere unless we start by recognizing that political behaviour is largely non-rational, that the world is suffering from some kind of mental disease which must be diagnosed before it can be cured.

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International Sustainable Transport/Cities Award Programs

STA graphic 2010Work in progress:  Over the last dozen years or so we are seeing a growing number of international award programs aiming at naming and compensating cities which are leading the way to sustainable transport. We are opening this posting today with short descriptions of programs already known to us, and it is our hope that with the help of our readers we will be able to extend this listing and make it more useful. Let’s have a look at what we have found thus far.

PS. Our special interest in all this of course is the nomination process, and above all the multiple criteria  for selection, weighing and judgment. Eventually we intend to expand coverage to take into account some the leading national and regional award programs.

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Oye Delhi! Please mind the traffic

india delhi massive traffic jamZinnia Sidhu writes from Delhi

Delhi’s mindless traffic causing breakups since Papu learnt how to drive. The BIG WHITE elephant in the city. Oho! Not Papu, the traffic silly. The unnecessary evil. I genuinely believe that Delhiiets fortunately or unfortunately spend at least 50% of their waking hours in the car listening to Radio Mirchi, while simultaneously banging their heads on the steering wheel, texting, taking Instagram worthy shots, and not to mention swearing once in a while.

Picture this.

The Ring Road’s total length is 48km and is a six-lane carriageway. This was designed to carry about 75,000 vehicles a day. But the road carries 1.6 lakh vehicles per day and is expected to carry about 4 lakh vehicles by 2016!

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How Can Higher Speed Limits Save Lives

Before your blood pressure start to go off the chart dear colleague, have a careful look at what Dr. Aaron Carroll, also known as the Incidental Economist, has to say on what may appear to be a counterintuitive approach to our favorite topic (or at least one of them) speed and safety.

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Dinesh Mohan on The Streets of India, v. 2.0

The Streets of India 2.0

– Indian Institute of Technology Delhi. New Delhi. 22 June 2014

In response to your invitation to comment on the possible new launching of the Streets of India 2.0:

1.       I think you should [continue on this] because a lot of people seem to get information from such sources.

2.       Many expats out of India and other well wishers want to help their “unfortunate brothers and sisters” living here in a “corrupt inefficient land”  They want us to get our act together and reproduce an America or Europe in India. I guess that’s not going to happen. 

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Thinking on Equity/Transport: Todd Litman, Canada

no excuses sir

We are inviting comments and background information on this our central concept behind this project, i.e., what is this thing we call transportation equity all about? We are looking for a variety of views and perspectives on our topic and not some kind of warm and glass-eyed unanimity. If we cannot handle contradictions and fuzziness, then we are not about to make headway on a challenge of this level of complexity. The following valuable contribution and bibliography comes in from Todd Litman, executive director of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute in Victoria Canada.

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Weekend weirdness: Where Can I Buy “Eric Britton”?

eric britton strange non book-smallNormally your editor tries very hard to keep all postings here focused on the important topics which you will find introduced in our original Mission Statement of 2009, but here exceptionally is a more personal short story which raises some puzzling problems. And I may not be the only one in our extended sustainability family who has run up against this particular weirdness. Continue reading