Report from China: Op-Ed by Robert U. Ayres
In December I travelled to the city of Kunming, in Yunnan province, China. The occasion of the trip was to attend a conference on planning and give a talk on economics at that conference. The host was the newly appointed provincial Governor, who is also the Communist Party Chairman for Yunnan. The organizer was the former chief planner for Singapore, and the attendees were academics and civil servants in the urban planning departments from all of the major cities of organizer was the former chief planner for Singapore, and the Yunnan province. I was invited on short notice (only two weeks) and I was asked to provide a copy of my talk in advance, without much detailed information about the actual situation. What I did know about China was more applicable to Beijing and Shanghai than to Kunming. So, I had to “punt”, as they say.
City and EcoPlan cooperate to create new model for sustainable transport in Third World cities
In brief: 
I’ve been meaning to respond on other issues as well so I’ve added in some thoughts about taxis.
Congestion contributes to both public health and environmental emergencies. My understanding is that global warming and its effects are the new mobility paradigm, rather than smart phone apps and their technological interface with mobility. In fact, by focusing on ride-sharing apps, many people are even further marginalized.
The public needs an evolutionary viable alternative that will significantly reduce Vehicle Miles Travelled (VMT). The new “ride-sharing” taxis do not do this in any significant way and they are not “sharing”, (a misnomer), when they are not truly shared .
All taxis should be mandated to be shared by passengers, transporting to their maximum capacity. The public can easily hail a taxi from designated service-side areas (remember the simple change through paint?) or use their ride-sharing apps. Will this change public transport? Certainly it will, and it can even enhance it because with this system, one can now get to the bus stop, train station, and the proverbial first and last mile.
I applaud Paris’s efforts but I disagree with both the City Engineer and you, Eric. If true alternatives existed, smart people would of course use them, but to date, they don’t exist in most cities in significant quantities and so we have ubiquitous congestion, and public health and environmental emergencies. Insufficient alternative transport is certainly a reality in most cities contributing to congestion and this is why the “ride-sharing” “non-taxi” apps, an alternative, have exploded, but once again, some people are further marginalized as they are excluded from using apps for many reasons.
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Ann Hackett – firstname.lastname@example.org