Do It Like The Dutch & Danes: Guide To Becoming A Bike Friendly Mecca

Why are some European cities cycling mad? And how can other cities copy their infrastructure? ECF spoke to Kalle Vaismaa, co-author of the book “Best European Practices in Promoting Cycling and Walking”. (Article source: European Cyclists’ Federation ECF)

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No Parking, No Business 3: Walking and cycling perspectives

Continuing  our coverage of the open “No parking, No business” conversation, more on walkability impacts/local economic development impacts, this time  from Todd Litman: selected references  from the “Walkability” chapter of the Online TDM Encyclopedia of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute.  Continue reading

No parking, no business 2: What happens in the store.

On 23 June we asked the following open question to our readers “Has anyone out there ever run across a solid report or study showing that local businesses suffer financially when a zone is pedestrianized or made bike-accessible? Or that real estate prices take a nose dive when such improvements are made? Most of us here are familiar with the other side of this coin, but it occurred to me that this such critical references might be useful to us all, given that these local conflicts and claims come up time and time again in cities around the world.” Continue reading

No Parking, No Business 1: What if the other guy actually has a point?

Last Saturday morning, the 23rd of June, I thought to ask an open question to several of our New Mobility Agenda fora as follows:

Has anyone out there ever run across a solid report or study showing that local businesses suffer financially when a zone is pedestrianized or made bike accessible? Or that real estate prices take a nose dive when such improvements are made? Most of us here are familiar with the other side of this coin, but it occurred to me that this such critical references might be useful to us all, given that these local conflicts and claims come up time and time again in cities around the world.

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The Battle for the Street: Who won? Who lost? What next?

[Have a look at this good historical piece by Christopher Gray which appeared in today’s New York Times under their Streetscapes/Traffic Wars rubric.]
IN the future, perhaps our time will be known as the first decade of the Bicycle Wars, with righteous armies fighting over traffic lanes, bike paths and sidewalks, indeed over the very purpose of the streets themselves. Like many wars, it’s a question of territory, and the pedestrian has been losing for years. Continue reading

World Transport Policy & Practice – Vol. 17, No. 2

The Journal of World Transport Policy and Practice is the long-standing idea and print partner of World Streets and the New Mobility Agenda since 1995. The Summer 2011 edition appears with articles by Bruce Appleyard, Joshua Hart and Graham Parkhurst, and Peter Newman and Jeff Kenworthy. In the article that follows you will find the lead editorial by founding editor John Whitelegg. (For a more complete introduction to World Transport click here.)

– – – > To obtain your copy of WTPP 17/2 click here. Continue reading

Walkability Assessment in 13 Asian Cities

The poor state of pedestrian facilities in some Asian cities was highlighted in the report published by the Asian Development Bank and the Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities. Ironically, the lowest walkability ratings are found to be along public transport terminals and schools where footpaths, pedestrian amenities and access for persons-with-disabilities are sorely lacking. Continue reading

The Battle for the Streets of New York City

What was the song? “If you can do it here you can do it anywhere. New York New York”? Well there just may be something to that. Here is some of the latest on how the proponents of more and safer biking in New York City are using social media to gain support from the citizen base, while at the same time an irate lobby is doing its best to keep the streets as they were and, as they hope, ever shall be. Amen Sister. (BTW, this is by no means a unique conflict. It could be your city.) Continue reading

New York City Memorial Project: Remembering walkers and cyclists killed on the city’s streets

On Sunday, the NYC Street Memorial Project held the 6th Annual Memorial Ride and Walk. According to the New York City Department of Transportation, 151 pedestrians and 18 bicyclists were killed on the streets of New York City in 2010. Participants called for stronger measures to reduce traffic fatalities. The ride culminated by installing a “Ghost Bike” in front of Brooklyn Borough Hall for the unnamed pedestrians and cyclists killed in 2010. Continue reading

What percent of your city’s street space is allocated to non-car uses

The pie chart you will find just below  graphically illustrates the state of street space allocation today in New York City, after four years of hard work on a committed local effort by city government and many associations to free street space for pedestrians, bikes and buses. All that for less than one half of one percent of the public space given over to cars. So here is our question this morning: Do things look any better in your city in 2011? We invite your reports and comments. Continue reading

Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City

The author of this careful and quite extensive book review of the battle for America’s streets is Karthik Rao-Cavale, a graduate student at Rutgers University and an associate editor of our sister publication, India Streets. He writes: “This review was originally written for a class I am taking with Prof. John Pucher here at Rutgers University. I am putting up this review here even though the book reviewed talks mainly about the United States, because I feel that the lessons learned are most immediately applicable to developing world. It is a lengthy read, but I hope you will enjoy it.”

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Op-Ed. Kaohsiung 2010 Papers: Share/Transport in India – Threats, Challenges, Opportunities

Sharing is an inherently natural process of establishing a joint use of resources It is a primarily self-initiated and regulated process. In this regard share transport can be seen as an informal, unregulated or loosely regulated, low-cost (even works on micro credit, when loose change is unavailable to complete the transaction), small or medium scale sharing of transport infrastructure (such as roads, streets and spaces) and/or vehicles in time and/or space. Sharing of Transport in this format, across the Indian Sub-continent and indeed many other developing countries in South-East Asia, has always been a part of the informal public transport network and is mostly as old as the city itself. Continue reading

Letter from Nepal: When roads are claiming people’s lives

The number of cars in Kathmandu Valley has increased tenfold over the last 15 years, largely because banks have had few other viable investment opportunities amid deteriorating security conditions.  According to the Department of Transport Management, there are 444,700 registered vehicles in Bagmati zone, most in the Kathmandu Valley. Kathmandu Valley claims to have one of the highest mortality from pedestrian accidents in South Asia. There is no single day that passes without the news of road accidents claiming lives of the people.  Nepal needs to come up with an integrated framework on pedestrian road safety, urban planning and transport infrastructures that will promote sustainable urban modes of transport in the country. This integrated framework must coordinate all actions of government ministries and departments working on road safety, infrastructures and traffic issues.

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No Accident! Traffic and Pedestrians in the Modern City

As most of our regular readers are well aware, World Streets is no friend of speed in cities. To the contrary, it is our firm position that a considerable number of the basic objectives associated with sustainable mobility and sustainable cities can be achieved if we do no more than to reduce top speeds in and around our cities in a strategic and carefully thought-out way. The great technological virtuosity of traffic engineers and technical planners permit us to do this, while at the same time retaining a well working transportation system, a healthier city, and a viable local economy. Listen to what John Rennie Short and Luis Mauricio Pinet-Peralta have to tell us on the subject.
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Promoting road safety and clean air in Kathmandu

This is the second article in a series coming in from Nepal, showing how the combination of traffic restraint and the push toward the creation of pedestrian- friendly areas is giving results in their capital city. The reader should bear in mind that the traffic situation on most of the city streets is extremely chaotic and dangerous, above all as a result of the explosion of fast-moving two wheelers. The city also suffers from major air quality problems due to a noxious combination of heavy traffic, dirty engines, thin air, natural meteorological factors and its location in the high Kathmandu Valley.

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Paris’ Plan to Kick Cars Off Its Riverbanks

In the pages of World Streets we lean heavily to giving attention to concepts and policies which promise near-term relief from the worst abuses of old mobility. But this does not mean turning our backs on longer-term thinking and strategies, as long as they do not contravene the basic sense of priorities which are needed for a consistent and effective sustainability policy. Here is a brief article that appeared in this week’s Time magazine which reports on views, pro and con, about the possibility of converting some significant chunks of Paris’s urban highway for uses by people, instead of cars.

Paris’ Plan to Kick Cars Off Its Riverbanks

– by Jeffrey T. Iverson,Paris. Time Magazine, Wednesday, Apr. 28, 2010

On a recent Sunday in Paris, stroller-pushing parents, rollerbladers and cyclists eased their way up and down an unusually tranquil stretch of the Seine’s left bank. Normally this road is filled with thousands of cars zipping along, but once a week it is transformed into an oasis of calm as part of an experiment by City Hall to see what happens when cars are banned from Paris’ riverbanks. So far the experiment, which has been going on for the past few years, is proving popular. Delphine Damourette, 31, a Montmarte resident whose cobblestoned neighborhood is a rollerblader’s hell, says the traffic-free Sundays give her a taste of her city as she most loves it — during summer vacation, when Paris slows down, cars disappear, and pedestrians reclaim the Seine. “It would be great if Paris were like this all year long,” she says. Soon, she may get her wish.

If Mayor Bertrand Delanoë has his way, by 2012 the 1.2 miles of left bank expressway between the Musée d’Orsay and the Alma bridge will be permanently closed to automobiles, while traffic on the right bank will be slowed, all with the goal of turning the urban highway into a “pretty urban boulevard.” The estimated $50 million project — dubbed “the reconquest of the banks of the Seine” — calls for the development of 35 acres of riverside, with cafés, sports facilities and floating islands. “It’s about reducing pollution and automobile traffic, and giving Parisians more opportunities for happiness,” Delanoë said at the April 14 project unveiling. “If we succeed in doing this, I believe it will profoundly change Paris.”

But Parisians have already been through several years of policies — some drastic, some less so — aimed at ending the automobile’s reign in the capital. Are they ready for another transformative transportation project? Deputy Mayor for the Environment Denis Baupin, who as transportation chief from 2001-2008 launched tramways, bus lanes, bike paths, the Vélib’ public bikeshare and other schemes — all while weathering virulent criticism and monikers like Khmer Vert — thinks they are. “If we can talk about reconquering the banks of the Seine today, it’s because we first had the Sunday [closures] … which allowed people to acclimate to the idea that it was possible, pleasant and positive,” he tells TIME. “Mentalities have changed, and desire has grown for a city that’s going somewhere, that’s transforming and becoming more ecological.”

In seeking to take back the Seine, though, City Hall has started a new fight on one of the most historic battlegrounds in Paris for competing visions of the capital. The 1967 creation of the right bank expressway was part of a wider plan to crisscross the capital with high-speed roads, reflecting former President George Pompidou’s belief that “Paris must adapt itself to the automobile.” That philosophy hit a roadblock in 1975 when grassroots opposition successfully blocked plans for an elevated left bank expressway that would have passed in front of Notre Dame.

The victory was a benchmark for France’s nascent green movement and constituted “the last gasp of the Los Angelesation of Paris,” says Eric Britton, Paris-based economist and founder of the transport think tank New Mobility Agenda. “It was the beginning of another idea about how to handle mobility, transport infrastructure and the environment in general.”

Yet 35 years later, more than 30,000 cars still zip down the Seine expressways every day, and for critics of Delanoë’s idea, like French radio commentator Marion Ruggieri, they are “no less than the umbilical cord of the capital for everyone working and living in the suburbs.” Worried about how closing the river’s banks to traffic will affect those who depend on their cars to make a living, Ruggieri told France INFO radio, “Bertrand Delanoë wants a museum city, petrified in its clichés, reserved to tourists and the privileged, all this in the name of pollution.”

Other detractors scoff at City Hall’s claims that traffic diverted by the project will be absorbed into the upper quays and that drivers’ commutes will only increase by 6 minutes. Environment deputy mayor Baupin, however, is confident that, when forced to, people will change their habits. It’s already happened. Thanks to municipal policies such as lowering speed limits and replacing thousands of parking spaces with wider sidewalks and bike and bus lanes, daily car trips in Paris were reduced by 450,000 from 2001-2008. The hope is that by making the river banks automobile-free, more drivers will leave their cars at home and use the east-west-running bus lines, metro, and RER commuter trains along the Seine — all currently under expansion.

But in the end, they may have no choice. “This thing is inevitable, the reclaiming of waterways is happening worldwide,” says Britton. “Major cities like Bordeaux and Lyon have banned automobiles from their river banks in recent years and invested millions to develop green promenades, tramways and other transportation alternatives — projects widely embraced by residents today after initial skepticism. Outside of France, transformations have taken place even in industrial cities like Bilbao in Spain — which since the 1990s has cleaned up the infamously polluted Nervión river and moved its port downstream to reclaim its banks — and Kaohsiung in Taiwan, the country’s busiest port, where the city has transformed shipyards and military complexes into green space and leisure areas.”

Baupin believes that all these examples point to a permanent shifting of the tides. “Not a city in Europe would build the Georges Pompidou expressway today,” says Baupin. “The movement has finally reversed.” Technically that won’t be confirmed until Paris City Council votes on the project in July. But with the right bank to still be partially occupied by cars whatever happens, Baupin and the Greens won’t be fully satisfied. “This is only a step,” he says. It seems the banks of the Seine haven’t seen their last battle yet.

Source: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1985219,00.html

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About the author:
Jeffrey T. Iverson has been reporting from Paris as a TIME Magazine contributor since 2007. Born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, he graduated from New York University with a master’s degree in French Studies and Journalism in 2005, and today writes on a variety of subjects including Paris city politics for TIME, Paris Magazine and other publications.

Honey, you gotta slow down

It is the consistent position of this journal that much of what is wrong with our current transportation arrangements in cities could be greatly alleviated if we can find ways just to slow down.  A bare five miles per hour over the speed limit on a city street, and . . . Continue reading

Listening to children

Journal of World Transport Policy and Practice
Volume 15, Number 1. March 2010
Editorial – John Whitelegg:

This issue contains two articles that on first reading may appear totally unrelated. This is not the case. The Kinnersly article – “Transport and climate change on a planet near you ” – is a comprehensive reflection on the links between economic growth, poor quality democracy, lack of will to deal with sustainability and biodiversity and the perversity of reckless decision taking that supports a business as usual (BAU) model of the world.

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Honk! “A Cidade a Pé” (The Walking City) Or how to adjust our mental maps of our city

A perfect idea! Such a brilliant idea, such a simple idea . . . that there is not one city on this crowded planet that is at least a bit proud of itself who should not be thinking about organizing along these lines at least once a year. The true genius of this approach is that it is uncomplicated, doable, and positive. Moreover, it is hugely inclusive – after all what could be more inclusive than walking — as well as deeply anchored in the culture of the place. Bravo Aveiro and all of you behind this terrific project.

Editor’s note: We cannot too much stress the strategic importance of taking a positive approach to rethinking our cities — really quite important given the extent to which some of these otherwise festive sustainable transport events have often taken a sharp negative turn. Nobody learns from conflict, no citizen wants to have an idea thrust down their throat.

Here you have some preliminary information just in from the organizers and quickly translated by machine, and for what it lacks in terms of linguistic beauty the underlying concept more than compensates. We have requested the organizers to share with us an analytic report for publication so that you will be able to follow and perhaps be inspired by the approach taken in the ideas expressed by all those present.

The City Council of Aveiro Portugal is organizing on 18 March an International Seminar on “The Walking City” in the Cultural and Congress of Aveiro, between 9:00 and 18:00.

The seminar is part of European Mobility Project Active Access, integrated in the European Intelligent Energy Europe, which the city of Aveiro is one of 17 European partners within the network of cities promoting the mobility measures.

The event aims to disseminate and discuss the main objective of European Project “Active Access,” promoting policies that improve mobility and cycling, especially in walking as a transport form — by modifying the “mental map” of citizens in actual practice — helping citizens to become more aware of the nearby opportunities for shopping, services and leisure in their neighborhoods. Participants will include representatives and experts from several European partners.

It will be attended by members of the Active Access consortium, policy and decision makers, municipal, regional and national mobility professionals and is also open to members of the public. You can download the program and registration form here.

Active Access

The European project aims to achieve a reduction of energy consumption and emissions, and improving the public health, supporting local business and also increasing the sense of belonging to a place, strengthening the ties of neighborhood and implementing the urbanity.

The project is a network of European partners, set up by Napier University (consortium leader) and the cities of Koprivnica in Croatia, L’Aquila in Italy, Szeged in Hungary, Austrian Mobility Research, the city of Tartu in Estonia, the Energy Agency Harguita, the Cyclists’ Club of Hungary, the National Center of Health of Slovenia, the German Institute of Urban Affairs, the Energy Agency Prioriterre of Annecy in France, the Energy Agency de Ribera in Spain, Cities 4 Mobility, University of Cyprus, Walk 21 and The Association for Urban Transition.

This members of the network will meet in Aveiro on the 16th and 17 March, prior to the 18 March Seminar.

* Program and Registration Form: Click here

* And here for more on the EU Active Access program:


Sustainable transport survey identifies five types of travellers

A new study from Germany of attitudes towards transport and mobility has identified five groups of travellers. The groups differ significantly in their choice of transport, distance travelled and the impact their transport choices have on the environment in terms of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

– by ClickGreen staff. Published Sat 30 Jan 2010 16:50 http://www.clickgreen.org.uk/research/trends/121060-sustainable-transport-survey-identifies-five-types-of-travellers.html

The transport sector is responsible for a large share of urban air pollution and for nearly a fifth of the GHG emissions from the European Economic Area member countries.

According to the European Environment Agency, the increase in CO2 from transport could threaten the ability of the EU to meet Kyoto targets. In the EU’s Sustainable Development Strategy, transport is identified as a priority challenge.

Sustainable mobility options can be made more attractive to the European public through soft policy measures, such as public awareness campaigns and marketing for public transport.

However, their success depends on targeting different groups that exist within the public.

The study interviewed 1,991 citizens living in three German cities on their use of and attitudes towards transport. The analysis indicated that there are five different ‘mobility types’ of people:

1. Public transport rejecters. These believe public transport provides little sense of control or excitement. They are not open to change and see access to mobility as very important.

2. Car individualists. Similar to public transport rejecters, but are open to change and consider privacy more important.

3. Weather-resistant cyclists. Positive towards bicycles and will cycle even in bad weather.

4. Eco-sensitised public transport users. Positive towards public transport and are highly influenced by their environmental conscience.

5. Self-determined mobile people.
Perform the highest percentage of trips by foot; they do not consider mobility important and are not open to change.

Each group comprises around 20 per cent of the participants surveyed. Unsurprisingly, the public transport rejecters and car individualists produce the largest total GHG emissions from transport use (both public and private), at over 2000 kg of CO2 equivalent each per year.

The remaining three groups all have total GHG emissions under 1000 kg of CO2 equivalent per person per year. Self-determined mobile people have the lowest total GHG emissions from transport use, at just over 500 kg of CO2 equivalent per person per year.

Residents in suburban areas used cars more often. However, there were no significant differences in distance travelled and level of GHG emissions between those that lived in suburban, inner-city and city-district areas. Young people in single households and two-or-more-person households covered the most distance by car and had the highest GHG emissions. Pensioners had the lowest.

The five ‘mobility types’ have a strong predictive power for transport choice and associated GHG emissions. This approach has proved more predictive of transport choice than geographic or socio-demographic approaches. Focusing on mobility types could be a starting point for soft policy measures by helping select and prepare information for the different groups.

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One point about those five mobility types if I may. They look rather German to me, perhaps Nordic. The categories in Delhi, Denver or Dar es Salaam will doubtless look a bit different. There is a lot of culture in mobility, never mind climate, geography, economics and the rest. Still, food for thought.
* Waiting for the bus in Cape Town. Credit: Mobility Magazine

Note: The ClickGreen report does not indicate its source, but we shall look for it and report here when we find it as a Comment to this article. In the meantime of course comments and further references most welcome.

The editor