As original organizers of the World Car Free Days movement, we are always attentive to finding ways to make real use out of these generally festive occasions. We have been working consistently on this task since the first program announcement in Toledo Spain at a major European conference in October 1994 under the title of “Thursday: A breakthrough strategy for reducing car dependence in cities“. (See http://wp.me/psKUY-U9)
This year we propose that considering cities may give some thought to the possibility of organizing on a pilot basis a special core Car Free Day event — specifically intended to examine, encourage and support cycling in cities. This makes sense: a Car Free Day is seen as an occasion to step back and think together about how your city is doing in the challenging transition from an essentially private car-based to an equitable and efficient mobility-based society. With this in mind we are proposing at the core of the other planned CFD events this year the tool of a “Civil Society State of City Cycling Audit” — in order to provide independent background and perspective on the state of safe and abundant cycling in their city. The following posting sets out the latest proposal for this “collaborative citizen self-audit”.
How, when and by whom exactly does the actual self-audit or collaborative benchmarking exercise take place. This is a matter for each city team to work out for themselves, but here are some first suggestions based on our past experience.
In laying the base for this project it is important to bear in mind that the three key elements include (a) the Twenty Key Questions and Criteria which are set out here, (b) the evaluation criteria (starting with the 0-4 scale), and (c) the composition and method of the local evaluating team.
Audit panel composition: (a) Local residents. (b) 100% daily cyclists. (c) Minimum 1/3, preferably full female parity. (d) Several seniors, several school cyclists.
With these in hand we are ready to start.
This is an interim report with suggested guidelines and background for organizing city cycling self-audits and events in support of cycling as a principle theme of World Car Free Days events in 2014.
As original organizers of the World Car Free Days movement, we are always attentive to finding ways to make real use out of these generally festive occasions. We have been working consistently on this task since the first program announcement in Toledo Spain at a major European conference in October 1994 under the title of “Thursday: A breakthrough strategy for reducing car dependence in cities“.
This year we are proposing that considering cities may give some thought to the possibility of organizing a core Car Free Day event specifically to encourage cycling in cities, and in particular at the core of the CFD events and preparations to encourage cities to conduct and share a “self-audit” in order to provide background and perspective on the state of safe and abundant cycling in their city.
The following is intended to provide for our readers a useful overview of the cycling component of the EC’s European Mobility Week, with a view to being useful both for cycle planning and programs and eventually as background for the planned city cycle audit activity presently being discussed as a possible component of a certain number off cooperating cities’ 2014 Car Free Days. This information has been extracted from their European Mobility Week Handbook which is available at http://goo.gl/ahWEyO
In the context of our search for creating a method for reliably and usefully benchmarking the sustainable transport performance of cities around the world – see https://worldstreets.wordpress.com/tag/benchmarking/ for first background – we would like to address our readers’ attention to the Copenhagenize Index for Bicycle Friendly Cities. In this short article you will find background information and reference on how they carry it out, as well as links to their results and conclusions.
We intend to continue to seek out and report on important benchmarking projects that can help us in our own thinking and efforts to create a more general approach to understanding city performance in the face of the tough challenges of sustainable transport, sustainable cities and sustainable lives. In addition to performance indicators for city cycling we are inventorying the state of the art in such areas as walking, public transport performance, parking, car restraint, mobility for specific underserved groups, shared transport, etc. Stay tuned.
As is by now well known to our regular readers, as part of our 2015/15 program to make progress in the development of a general theory of transport in cities, we are giving especial attention to the possibility and usefulness of improving understanding of how different cities around the world stack up with each other when it comes to the performance in terms of sustainability of their urban mobility arrangements. You can see more on that background by clicking to two recent entries at “Weekend fishing expedition: You have heard of about PISA course. But what about PISTA?” at http://wp.me/psKUY-3EU and International Sustainable Transport/Cities Award Programs at http://wp.me/psKUY-3F5.
Work in progress: Over the last dozen years or so we are seeing a growing number of international award programs aiming at naming and compensating cities which are leading the way to sustainable transport. We are opening this posting today with short descriptions of programs already known to us, and it is our hope that with the help of our readers we will be able to extend this listing and make it more useful. Let’s have a look at what we have found thus far.
PS. Our special interest in all this of course is the nomination process, and above all the multiple criteria for selection, weighing and judgment. Eventually we intend to expand coverage to take into account some the leading national and regional award programs.
“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” vs. “The important stuff can’t be measured”.
In this critical spirit let us see what happens if we put this idea of somehow addressing the performance of cities and countries when it comes to sustainable transport, in front of the collective intelligence of our readers in order to see if something useful can be done with it. But first to get the ball rolling, some disorganized pre-thoughts about PISA and . . . PISTA. And oh yes, stay tuned because this thing is just getting started.
The “humble” bicycle has a major role in 21st century cities, large or small, North or South, rich or poor. Getting city cycling right is a matter of high priority when it comes to local and planetary environmental impacts, solid economics, affordability, fossil fuel and resource savings, public health, equity, democracy and quality of life. For all of those of our cities around the world who have over the last decades bought into the car-plus-speed lifestyle without giving it much thought, getting this transition right is a significant technical, social and political challenge.
Fortunately there is a large and fast expanding base of experience and information on the topic, which should guarantee success for all those who are not too lazy or in too much in a hurry to do their homework properly and lay a successful base for their project.
Since 2002 European Mobility Week has sought to influence mobility and urban transport issues, as well as improve the health and quality of life of citizens. The campaign gives citizens the chance to explore what the role of city streets really is, and to explore concrete solutions to tackle urban challenges, such as air pollution. Local authorities are strongly encouraged to use the Week to test new transport measures and get feedback from citizens. It is also an excellent opportunity for local stakeholders to get together and discuss the different aspects of mobility and air quality, find innovative solutions to reduce car-use and thus emissions, and test new technologies or planning measures.
From the Archives:
Back in March of 2001 a reporter from Grist Magazine got in touch with Eric Britton of EcoPlan’s long-standing World Car Free Day program for an interview concerning progress in the run-up for the first Earth Car Free Day, being jointly organized at the time in partnership with the Earth Day Network for a 19 April 2001 blast-off. The interview eventually morphed into a week-long series of articles and reflections on various aspects (real and imagined) of the Car Free Day push which you will find below. (For original articles click to Grist at http://grist.org/article/britton-earthcarfree/full/).
Who, where in the world is looking at World Car Free Days this morning at http://ecoplan.org/carfreedays/ ?
(Last 200 visitors to the site)
Not to bury you in an enormous amount of materials and references, however if you are interested in finding out what is going on at the leading edge (and at times the lagging edge) of these strategies for reducing the number and negative impacts of cars in cities, here are some useful references based on our work in the field since 1994 .
Keynote presentation on the occasion of the Tenth Taipei City Car Free Day celebration. Eric Britton, MD, EcoPlan International on 22 September 2011.
For the full presentation (PDF) click here.
This is the full unedited text of the original 18 October 1994 presentation to the Ciudades Accesibles Congress in Toledo Spain organized by the Spanish Ministry of Public Works, Transport and the Environment, with the participation of Leber/EcoPlan International, Car Free Cities Initiative of the EuroCities program, and the Direction General XI of the Commission of European Communities. Continue reading
Every day is a great day to take a few cars off the street and think about it.
“Frog” wrote about this CFD shot taken in Wellington New Zealand: “This photo below shows the space fifty people in cars take, and the space taken by the same amount of people in a bus. It’s also supposed to show the space the same number of people on bicycles take up, but the cyclists seem to be mingling in sociably with pedestrians and and other gadabouts and gossipers. There’s even a couple cuddling in the corner! So the end result is you don’t really get a good impression of the space cyclists would take up if they all sat in tidy rows. I guess that’s either the benefit or problem with cycling, depending on your point of view.
Here is how the Car Free Days movement got started and has taken shape over the last 23 years. This is the first of a series of two articles which we update and post annually just prior to the September rush to get the latest batch of Car Free Day projects off the ground. We hope that these pieces and the references you find here are going to prove useful to those responsible for making a success of their Days in 2017. Getting a CFD right and making it a real success is no easy task and good knowledge of what has worked and not worked in the past should be useful. Continue reading
“Every day is a great day to take a few cars off the street and think about it.”
Here in brief is the story how the Car Free Days movement got started and has taken shape over the last 22 years. You will find the full story in the World Car-Free Days Consortium website at www.worldcarfreedays.com. * And the latest car free day news here. Continue reading