In a city, as in life, we normally register only what we set out to look for. The anomalies, the absences, the troubling, somehow escape our attention. But when it comes to transport, everywhere the eye might wander there are valuable clues, both visible and invisible, for planners and policy makers. However, if we fail to use our eyes we miss out on valuable information. And as a result our cities do just that much less well.
The Highway Code: a collection of laws, advice and best practice for all road users, which mainly functions as a written basis for learning to drive as well as stipulating the letter of the law (licensing, required safety equipment, default rules, etc.) In Europe this happens at a national level, with room in some places for stricter local ordinances. In the US mainly a state prerogative. In all cases the code itself is the creature of the automotive age and is primarily concerned with defining the role and characteristics of motor vehicle driver and owner behavior.
Many European cities are of late starting to advance on the idea of establishing a far tougher “street codes”, specifically adapted to the special and more demanding conditions of driving in city traffic. This is becoming especially important as we start to see a much greater mix of vehicles, speeds and people on the street. If streets are for cars, well this is probably not a priority. But if they are “public spaces” and open to the full range of uses and users, then perhaps something along these lines is called for.
The idea is works is that legal responsibility for any accident on street, sidewalk or public space, is automatically assigned to the heavier faster vehicle. This means that the driver who hits a cyclist has to prove his innocence, as opposed to today where the cyclist must prove the driver’s guilt (not always very easy to do).
This is not quite as good as John Adams’ magnificent 1995 formulation whereby every steering wheel of every car , truck and bus would be equipped with a large sharp nail aimed directly at the driver’s heart– but it can at least help getting things moving in the right direction.
We propose to make this a major campaign theme of World Streets in 2018 and invite our readers to submit their reports, ideas and comments over the course of the months ahead.
If you look over toward the top of the left menu here, you will see that we have opened up a reader poll in an attempt to get your views as well. We also invite comment here on the results.
Some first references:
Livable Streets discussions of Street Code
What is Street Code?
Code de la rue – Belgium (Use Translate here as needed)
Code de la rue – France
Code de la rue – Wikipedia
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Bio: Founding editor of World Streets (1988), Eric Britton is an American political scientist, teacher, occasional consultant, mediator and sustainability activist who has observed, learned, taught and worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. In the autumn of 2019, he committed his remaining life work to the challenges of aggressively countering climate change and specifically greenhouse gas emissions emanating from the mobility sector. He is not worried about running out of work. Further background and updates: @ericbritton | http://bit.ly/2Ti8LsX | #fekbritton | https://twitter.com/ericbritton | and | https://www.linkedin.com/in/ericbritton/ Contact: email@example.com) | +336 508 80787 (Also WhatApp) | Skype: newmobility.)
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Basic principles and strategies of the New Mobility Agenda
The shift from old to new mobility is not one that turns its back on the importance of high quality mobility for the economy and for quality of life for all. It is not and should not be seen as a step down in terms of life quality.
If you do not know Chisinau and Moldova and want to have a first feel for how the transport scene works there, sit back and have a look. And as you will see from the vantage of what we call “sustainable mobility” it offers a very mixed scene, things that work, and others that could work better. Like virtually every city on this gasping planet. Let’s have a look.
Moldova Chisinau waiting for the bus