Preparing your next Car Free Day: Check out the fundamentals.

World CFD website top banner

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.

velib-guyWhy 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.

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SLOW CITY TRANSITION: NOTES FOR A THINKING EXERCISE

FB SC - Groningen streetThe idea of slowing top speeds on traffic in the city to reduce accidents and achieve other important systemic benefits would seem like a pretty sensible, straightforward and affordable thing to do. For a lot of reasons.  Let’s have a look.

* To get going, you may also want to check out our Slow City 2017 Reader and Slow City: Start here.

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World Streets International Advisory Council

ws-31jul12-hi-color

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.)

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Preparing your next Car Free Day: Check out the fundamentals.

World CFD website top banner

The First Car Free Days Challenge: Toledo Spain, October 1994

Short History: 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.

velib-guyWhy 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.

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The New Circular Economy: Vision, Strategy, Policy, Practice – An Introduction

– Eric Britton, ISG, Paris, 15 November 2017.

An Open Collaborative Policy Research Program

Making some progress in exploring the Circular Economy/Public Policy interface, in the context of our master classes and advisory program on Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy. Here is how things are starting to shape up at this still early point.

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Taiwan East/West New Mobility Innovation Challenge 2017. Events: Getting ready for Taiwan 2017 Collaborative Mission

Events: Getting ready for Taiwan 2017 Collaborative Mission

This year’s program combines site visits, brainstorming sessions, conferences, presentations and vigorous questioning, looking, listening and co-learning with my esteemed long time Taiwanese friends and colleagues.from 22 September to 4 October. Among the main events and presentations:

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What/who keeps holding back New Mobility reform in your city in 2017?

Penang pedestrian is king

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.

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SLOW CITY STRATEGIES: START HERE

Maylasia Penang pred crossing in traffic Pulau Tikus

FOR THE RECORD AND IN BRIEF:

A Slow City is an urban development vision and quantifiable target, the first step of which is  (a) to reduce traffic accidents and their human and economic costs to zero  in the city, by (b) strategically slowing down traffic, over all the parts and the system as a whole. This gives the city a measurable target output (accident data and on-street and in-vehicle ITS feedback) for evaluation and management purposes,  and an innovative platform to link and serve other sustainable projects and programs which are consistent to the theme: reforms and improvements that are Better | Cheaper | Safer.

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Leading the way: Visionaries, scientists, heroes and builders

Late night thoughts on some of the creative thinkers who over the last five decades have, each in their own highly individual ways,  entirely reshaped  our views of  a just, efficient and sustainable city.

Not to be too aggressive here, but if you, as a planner, decision-maker, activist or student, are not familiar with the thinking and accomplishments of  a fair number  of these champions of sustainable transport, sustainable cities and sustainable lives, then you have some important homework to do before you can really dig in, understand and make a contribution. And in each case the Wikipedia profiles provide only a preliminary introduction to get you started, along with a first round of  references to their work and contributions sufficient for you to start to understand their genius and contributions.

Let’s have a look at my personal shortlist of sustainability heroes, based entirel on A sample of people whom i have had the honor to know and work with. (You will no doubt have your on list, so please make it known and share them with slowcity@ecoplan.org.).

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________________ SLOW CITY READER ________________ From the Archives of World Streets: 2008-2020

FB SC bookstore plus eb back head

Useful background references from the archives of World Streets to lend a hand to planners, policy makers, researchers, NGOs, students, media and others concerned with the challenges of sustainable cities in general, and in particular those of calming traffic speeds in combination with other complementary measures to change, to improve  and to soften the face of  your city.

 25 Feb. 2018. Please note: Following to be updated to accommodate latest findings.

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Op-Ed. On Motorized Two-Wheelers in Taiwan (and cities around the world)

Taipei M2Ws at intersection - larger

World Streets has for some years now  pushed hard for the idea of an integrated strategic planning approach and operations plan for the better, safer use of motorized two wheelers in and around cities. This has largely been an uphill struggle.  Not to claim that there have not been innovations and improvements here and there. But for the most part, this creeping problem continues insidiously to take on ever great proportions, while those responsible continue to look elsewhere. We really need to do better than that.

Which is one of the reasons that since 2010 we have insistently solicited articles and references from different countries concerning M2Ws, which you can find here under  https://worldstreets.wordpress.com/tag/m2w/. This op-ed contribution by Dr. Wayne Gao was set off in a discussion which had as its origin a recommendation by the Britton Advisory Mission to Taiwan of 23-30 January, which you can find here 

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IS WORLD STREETS DOING ITS JOB? (We asked 100 of our readers for their views.)

And one hundred and one responded:

Some WS readers - 2

Some World Streets readers

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Better Choices | Planners Bookshelf . . . An invitation

–  SHARING, when it comes to transport, can work in many ways.

Introduction: I am hard at work on a book under the title Better Choices: Bringing Sustainable Mobility to Smaller Asian Cities, as described in the attached working note. Better Choices aims to inform and support planners, policymakers, civil society and others who must face the challenges of what is in effect a whole new way of thinking about transport in cities.

After numerous interviews and exchanges, it occurred to me that while we now have great search engines such as Google that can bring the world and all its complexity and crushing detail to our doorstep, in situations like this we need something more focused, concise and immediately useful by way of reference materials, particularly in areas and situations in which the local city team may not have deep competence. It’s good of course to have this level of help in print between the covers of a book, but better yet if it can be online, continuously updated, free and carefully made.

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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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What’s a Street? (Hint: It’s not a road)

streetsfilm-square-canada-montreal-cobble-stone-street-bike

                                                                             Credit: Team Bruntlett, Modacity Life. Montreal Canada

Contents:

1. Wikipedia reminds us
2. Selected WP “Contents”
3. Better Choices: Planners Bookshelf
4. World Streets on streets

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(BC) A “Better than Car” Mobility System

how should I get there - smallNobody is going to willingly  step down on the scale of comfort and economy. Fair enough, so let’s see how we can all step UP in terms of  life quality for all  with an equity-based transport strategy.

The objective here is to combine vision, policy, technology and entrepreneurial skills in such a way to create and make available to all a combined, affordable, multi-level, convenient, high choice  mobility system which for just about everybody should be more efficient than owning and driving a car in or into town.  Let us start with this as our goal and then see what is the work that must be done in order to turn it into a reality.

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(BC) What/who keeps holding back New Mobility reform in your city in 2016?

Penang pedestrian is king

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.

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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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Thursday: A breakthrough strategy for reducing car dependence in cities

india-guargon-car-free-day-bicyclist

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 CFD challenge was made in Toledo Spain on 19 October 1994.

Every day is a great day to take a few cars off the road, and think about it.  

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