Monday, March 9, 2009

Slowth

This entry is offered here as a sort of movable feast. Rough and ready at this point, it can be greatly improved, both here and in the Wikipedia entry which I hope you will junp in on to do your bit. (Image may be subject to copyright.)

Some selected Streets references:
To win the war of new mobility, sustainable development and social justice, we need to change to vocabulary which, heavily encumbered with the luggage of the past, conspires to lock us in to the old way of thinking, speaking, and ultimately doing things.

If we are to be up to the sustainability challenges and the behavior changes that necessarily go with them of this difficult 21st century turning point, we are going to have to redraw the lines of the court and develop a vocabulary that reflects the necessary lucidity of thinking needed to break the impasses. Otherwise for sure are going to find ourselves once again in a lose/lose situation.

Here then is one word which I have been proposing and using, largely without success, the better part of a decade and I put it before you with a certain pride: slowth. About two years ago I created a Wikipedia entry for it, however I have been challenged because the entry lacks references and hence is subject to eventual removal, The gamekeepers over there suggest that “the best way to address this concern is to reference published, third-party sources about the subject”. Fair enough.

So my question to you is that, if you have a feel for the concept, can you possibly take the time to go in and make it a more solid reference? You can either work directly ohn the WP site, or alternatively ship your corrections, additions here and we will do the rest. The text presently reads like this:

Slowth (From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slowth)

Slowth is a transport planning concept, usually deployed in congested urban environments, where transport is calibrated for lower top speeds, but the result is shorter overall travel times across the entire system.[1]

The concept of slowth is sometimes compared to the story of The Tortoise and the Hare; the paradoxical notion that slowing the top speeds of transport will when properly engineered allow more people to get to their destinations more quickly. An example is that where there is sufficient traffic congestion, a bicycle may get to its destination more quickly than say a Ferrari. When a city adopts a policy of slowth, the top speeds will be lower, but congestion decreases because the slower speeds result in steadier traffic flow.[1]

This is a powerful model which urban planners and traffic engineers, with a few notable exceptions, are only recently starting to take seriously. An important new mobility concept, it is also referred to as "slow transport".

In the report "Speed Control and Transport Policy" (Chapter 10, on speed limits in towns, Policy Studies Institute, 1996) Mayer Hillman and Stephen Plowden describe an experiment in Växjö, a Swedish town of 70,000, which showed very small time penalties arising from some fairly substantial speed reductions at 20 junctions. The Swedish researchers used the results to simulate what would happen if similar speed-reducing measures were introduced at 111 junctions throughout the town and concluded that there would probably be a small net time saving. [2]

In recent years it has gotten steadily increasing attention both in the literature but above all as part of the on-street sustainable transport strategies of a growing number of leading programs and projects around the world (See listing below).

1 Proponents
• John Adams, United Kingdom.
• Donald Appleyard, United States.
• Eric Britton, France
• Dan Burden, USA
• David Engwicht, Australia
• Jan Gehl, Denmark
• Ben Hamilton-Baillie, United Kingdom.
• Mayer Hillman, United Kingdom
• Hans Monderman, The Netherlands
• Peter Newman. Australia
• Stephen Plowden, United Kingdom

2. See also
• Cittaslow (Slow cities movement, in English)
• Home zones
• Livable Streets
• New Mobility Agenda
• Pedestrian#Pedestrianisation
• Public space management
• Road traffic control
• Shared space
• Slow movement
• Street hierarchy
• Sustainable transportation
• Traffic calming
• Walkability
• Walking
• Woonerf
• World Streets


3 References
Disappearing traffic? the story so far. London: Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Municipal Engineer, Paper 1272, March
The paradox of congestion., Wood, K (2007). In IPENZ Transportation Group Conference, Tauranga, New Zealand 10-10-2007
Speed Control and Transport Policy, Policy Studies Institute, London, 1966. Mayer Hillman and Stephen Plowden
Gutman, Manisha (2008-02-03). "The Greening of Paris" (in English). The Hindu. http://www.hindu.com/mag/2008/02/03/stories/2008020350050400.htm. Retrieved on 2008-03-08.
Effekten av Generell Hastighetsdampningt i Tatort - C Hyden, K Odelid, and A Varhelyi. Lund Institutionen for Trafikteknik, Pub: 1992

4 External links
• Wolmar, Christian, "Power to the pedestrian," The Independent, (London), Jun 17, 1996

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