Shortlist of Transformative Realities and Trends
One of the great recompenses of having watched the sustainable transportation and related technology developments evolve over the course of several decades, is that if one takes the time to step back and scan the evidence for pattern breaks, one can readily spot a certain number of trends, fundamental structural changes, quite a few of which bode well for a different and better future for transport in and around cities. Here are a handful of the fundamental underlying changes which I have spotted over the last decades on the mobility beat and which I would like to share with you this sunny COVID morning.
Let’s start with a simple listing and then go on to brief comments in an attempt to clarify. It’s only a start.
G. K. Chesterson put it like this: “If a thing is worth doing . . . it’s worth doing badly”
(We’ll leave it to you to sort that one out: . . Eric@ecoplan.org)
With one eye to laying the base for our work and collaborative programs , we are currently in the process of updating and extending this list of distinguished international colleagues, each of whom is hard at work day after day on challenges, projects and programs, alone and with others, all in support of the principles of sustainable development and equity, in cities and countries around the world. It is our intention to have the revised and expanded version of this panel listing online by end May 2019, as part of our celebration of the first ten years of our collaborative work in support of World Streets.
Since our work program is being totally shifted to the the challenge of achieving sharp near-term decreases in gases causing global warming — CO2, CH4, N2O, PFCs, etc., — and in particular those emanating from the local mobility sector, we hope to encourage shorter or longer contributions from the members of our advisory panel on this critical topic
The revised version of this posting (end April 2020) will include some explanatory materials to clarify the process by which this “New Mobility Majority” is in the process of overtaking the old attitudes, approaches and policies which have been largely responsible for our gross under-performance in the sector, all the more important as the 21st century noose tightens in terms of climate, local environment, energy supply, scarce resources, the economy, congestion, poor service quality for the majority, and the long list goes on. (In the meantime we want to hear from you with your ideas and outstanding nominations for the panel. And if you spot errors or omissions on the following or anywhere in our work, yes please do get in touch and let us know.)
Ladies, males and independent thinkers: Do you notice anything in particular in the following sequence of images of a hugely important challenge for our planet, or at least the species? Let’s say, some kind of pattern as you move from scene to scene? Or, better yet, some kind of weird, insistent, let’s go so far as to say sick pattern?
The following set of a handful of images offers a pretty fair overview of the so-called ‘manning table’ for this particular mission, i.e., saving the planet.
We often hear that sustainable transportation reform is going to require massive public investments, large construction projects, elaborate technology deployments, and above all and by their very nature are going to take a long time before yielding significant results. This is quite simply not true. This approach, common in the last century and often associated with the “American transportation model”, no longer has its place in a competitive, efficient, democratic city And we can start tomorrow, if we chose to.
To get a feel for this transformative learning reality let’s start with a quick look at a first lot of ideas for Slow Street Architecture as a major means for reducing traffic related nuisances, accident prevention and improving quality of life for all. These approaches are not just “nice ideas”. They have proven their merit and effectiveness in hundreds of cities around the world. There is no good reason that they cannot do the same in your city. Starting tomorrow morning.
(For further background on external sources feeding this listing, see Sources and Clues section below.)
The Cultures of Mobility
What message could a private citizen, an engineer no less, from a small city of a country with barely two million inhabitants send to the Secretary of Transportation of the United States of America? Happily, there is more to transport and social policy than mere size. So if you decide to continue reading, I may have a modest message for you after all.
This evening, 6 February 2009, an interesting event will take place in my city. A thematic event has been organized, dedicated to the “Culture of Mobility”. In this we want to show (again) at the culture of mobility and the culture of the city are one and the same.
Maribor, my beautiful city, the second-largest in Slovenia, is to become the cultural capital of Europe in 2012. Today’s event will start with a documentary film to open up the perspectives of transportation decision-makers in the city of New York, “Contested Streets: a Mobility Tour of Four Great World Cities”. “Contested” takes its point of departure the old habit of automatically building new infrastructure for cars every time a traffic problem arose. The world-famous and world-practiced “forecast and build” culture
The First Car Free Days Challenge: Toledo Spain, October 1994
Whereas Car Free Days have been organized in cities around the world all over the year for the last two decades, there is inevitably a spate of high activity in the month of September, much of it the result of the European Commission’s continuing commitment to both the concept of Car Free Days and their own European Mobility Week. And each year we here at World Streets dig into our archives and dust off one or two of the classics as a timely reminder of the fact that the Car Free Day concept has been around and doing its bit since the first international announcement and challenge was made in Toledo Spain on 19 October 1994.
Why do we bother to do this year after year? After all, there is copious documentation and background available at a click, as a quick tour of Google of those three little words yields somewhat more than 55,000 entries, including a fair if distinctly uneven introduction in the Wikipedia article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Car-Free_Days. The problem is that most of this material seriously misses the point, and as a result often handicaps cities and groups wishing to organize a Day (a week or month close) to underestimate potential of this approach. The trick is that all of this is quite a simple as it may at first glance appear.
To this end, here we are once again minding the store with the original 1994 article announcing the concept, along with several others from our archives which would appear here in the coming days. A general reference which the reader may find of use is the general introduction which appears here – https://worldstreets.wordpress.com/tag/car-free-days/. You will find at the end of this reposting, three separate annexes which provide supplemental background on (Annex A) New Mobility – 1988-1994 Program Summary; (B) Other Tools to Get the Job Done; and (C) a listing of more recent references.
THE FIVE PERCENT 2020 CLIMATE CHALLENGE
The World Climate Emergency // // The New Mobility Action Plan
You never change things by fighting against the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete. — Buckminster Fuller
Communication to individuals and groups contacting us to express interest in knowing more about the Five Percent Challenge program, cities and projects in 2020
Thank you for your expression of interest in our shared concerns about our cities and our planet. We are honored and look forward to being able to follow progress in your related work and projects as well.
Looking ahead — and just so it is clear — as a result of a vigorous recentering of my priority concerns for 2020 and beyond, I have shifted the totality of my work and engagement to the World Climate Emergency — and the following six key words and references: Climate.Cities.Space.Time.Action.NewMobility.org.
2020 PARTNER SEARCH:
The 2020 project is aiming to network and bring together . . .
–By Katrin Jakobsdottir, prime minister of Iceland, New York Times of Aug. 17, 2019
Eyjafjallajokull, Iceland’s sixth-largest glacier, gained worldwide recognition when the volcano lurking under it erupted in 2010. Large levels of volcanic ash caused air travel disruptions in Europe, and news reporters across the world struggled with the difficult pronunciation of Eyjafjallajokull, much to the amusement of us native speakers. A less-known and less-tongue-twisting glacier is Ok, which is on a mountaintop in Western Iceland.
But Ok is no longer a glacier.
The ice field that covered the mountain in 1900 — close to six square miles — has now been replaced by a crater lake. It is certainly beautiful, surrounded by patchy snowfields, and is now the highest lake in Iceland. But that beauty quickly fades in the eyes of anyone who knows what was there before and why it is no longer there. Ok’s disappearance is yet another testimony of irreversible global climate change.
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* Article continues at https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/17/opinion/iceland-glacier-climate-change.html
Discussion document for policy makers & civic leaders
– Paul Chatterton, School of Geography, University of Leeds, UK. Full text HERE
This climate emergency is also a ‘city emergency’. Most of the world’s population will soon be urban. Cities are locked in to high energy throughputs, are responsible for about three-quarters of global GHGs and energy use, have ecological footprints larger than their city limits, and remain locked in to high-growth, high-consumption lifestyles.
In the context of growing awareness of the severity of climate breakdown, the central role cities play in this, and the lack of rapid action, municipalities around the world are declaring ‘climate Emergencies’. To date 40 municipalities in the UK have signed such a declaration. Worldwide around 50 million now live in cities that have declared emergencies. This is an exciting addition to city level action through, for example, the C40 Leadership Group and the Global Covenant of Mayors.
– – – – – – – – > Working draft update of 12 December. To be finalized over month.
WORLD STREETS is betting its future on the coming immediate-term transition period led by certain ambitious, responsible cities, nations, organizations and citizens in different parts of the world to come together to break the downward pattern of ever-increasing climate stress — and before the challenge to plan and execute highly aggressive near-term initiatives aimed at sharply cutting greenhouse gas emissions from the mobility sector. And doing all this while working with proven tools, policies and strategies that harness cost-effective, readily available, measures, technologies, operational and management competence. And our job is to support them as best we can.
What is Lunchtime Streets?
Lunchtime Streets Chancery Lane. Tuesday 3rd – Thursday 5th September find out more below!
Lunchtime Streets is an event that removes motor traffic from a street over a lunchtime period, so people can enjoy their lunch in a safer and more pleasant environment.
Making the streets safer for people is key to both the City of London Corporation’s and the Mayor of London’s Transport Strategies.
We use this type of temporary project to measure the effects and perceptions of the local community when reducing traffic at a peak times, when most people are travelling on foot or bicycle will be key to making the streets safer. The results of the study may lead to future enhancements of the public realm.
It is also a great way to enjoy your lunchtimes. We welcome the involvement of local working, studying and residential community.
Greta Thunberg is right on target when she and the School climate strikers say “save the world by changing the rules”.
This is a critical reference and tool set for World Streets readers, introducing the full contents as of 6 March 2019 of the TDM (Transportation Demand Management) Encyclopedia of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute headed by Todd Litman. All the more than one hundred resources and references cited here are available online. The full report is online at: http://www.vtpi.org/tdm/
Transportation Demand Management (TDM, also called Mobility Management) is a general term for strategies that result in more efficient use of transportation resources. This Encyclopedia is a comprehensive source of information about innovative management solutions to transportation problems. It provides detailed information on dozens of demand management strategies, plus general information on TDM planning and evaluation techniques. It is produced by the Victoria Transport Policy Institute to increase understanding and implementation of TDM.
How important is TDM for transport/mobility planners, policy makers or concerned citizens and civil society? It is very easy to answer that question, which boils down to this: If you do not have on your team first rate competence in TDM measures and references, then you are in the wrong business. TDM is the first line of defense of sustainable transport planning and policy!
The TMAPP Planners Toolbox:
To take full advantage of the fundamental structural differences between Old and New Mobility, it can help to reflect on the five necessary different steps of analysis and action suggested by the expression TMAPP – which sets out five alternative views or ways of bridging space, which of course is what transportation is supposed to be all about. These are the essential building blocks of a full-function sustainable transport plan for your city. If you have not integrated the best of each of these essential steps into your plan, it is time for a bit of continuing education.
Since TDM (Transportation Demand Management) is a key pillar of the New Mobility Agenda strategy, and of our now forming-up Five Percent Challenge Climate Emergency program, it is important that the basic distinctions are clear for all. In one of our recent master classes, when several students asked me to clarify for them, I turned the tables instead and asked them, since we are now firmly in the 21st century, to go home, spend a bit of time online and come up with something that answered their question to their satisfaction. Here is what they came up with, taken whole hog from http://bit.ly/2rTxHrr (which we then lightly edited together and offer for your reading pleasure).