We often hear that 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.)
To get a better feel for this from the perspective of day to day reality when it comes to trying to get wherever you want to go during morning rush hour in Tallinn, let’s have a look at a report by two Estonian researchers, – by Helen Poltimäe and Mari Jüssi, under the title . . .
Factors Affecting Choice of Travel Mode in Tallinn
Source: WHO http://www.who.int/heli/economics/econinstruments/en/
Economic Instruments encompass a range of policy tools, from pollution taxes and marketable permits to deposit-refund systems and performance bonds. The common element of all economic instruments is that they effect change or influence behaviour through their impact on market signals.
Economic instruments are a means of considering “external costs,” i.e. costs to the public incurred during production, exchange or transport of various goods and services, so as to convey more accurate market signals. Those “external costs” may include natural resource depletion, environmental degradation, health impacts, social impacts, etc.
Economic instruments facilitate the implementation of Principle 16 of the Rio Declaration, commonly known as the “Polluter Pays Principle.” The article states: “National Authorities should endeavour to promote the internalisation of environmental costs and the use of economic instruments, taking into account the approach that the polluter, should in principle, bear the cost of pollution with due regard to the public interest and without distorting international trade and investment.”
Walking to school
The following reproduces the full text of John Whitelegg’s opening chapter of his book, Mobility: A New Urban Design and Transport Planning Philosophy for a Sustainable Future, Straw Barnes Press. September 1, 2015. For further background on the 2018 online New Mobility Master Class program of which focuses on this introduction in the opening session, refer to: “Mobility, Death and Injury. (Let’s see what John Whitelegg has to say about this.)” at https://wp.me/psKUY-59l
In the 1950s as a primary school child in Oldham (UK) I had very limited mobility measured in terms of the number of miles I ranged over each week. Life was intensely focused on the locality, intense contact with other children who lived within 500 metres of my home, and intense outdoor play for as many hours as my parents would allow (usually more than they would allow). We children decided when to go out, where to go, with whom and what to play and from an early age acquired a great deal of proficiency in negotiation skills, dispute resolution and independent decision-taking.
Life was very good, full and rich and the low level of mobility contributed to that richness. Time that might have been spent in a car being taken to organized “things” was put to good use in ways we decided. We did not need to roam very far from home and we enjoyed our local streets, second world war air-raid shelters (dark, dirty and mysterious) and large amounts of untidy urban space.
Leading edge TDM strategies showing the way in Washington D.C..
* Report from David Alpert, Executive Director of Surface Transit of Greater Washington D.C.