Wednesday, September 30, 2009

World Streets and the One Percent Solution
(And that includes you.)

You know this as well as I do. There are no single, mega-dollar, build-it, big bang solutions for transportation systems reform. Only large numbers of, for the most part, generally quite small things. Small perhaps in themselves, one by one, but when you put all these small things together you start to get the new and far better transportation systems that we need and deserve. Large numbers of small things, each doing their part in concert. We call them "one percent solutions". And you are part of that process.

Likewise for World Streets. After seven months of unfailing daily publication and more than 85,000 readers we know we are doing an important job. But if we are to continue to appear we need the support of many people and groups. One percent solutions. Get next to us and push. For the planet, for your city, for your children.

* But before you take this any further, you may wish to have a look at what our readers are saying about World Streets and how it is fitting in with their daily work routines and quest for new ideas and perspectives. And why one hundred of them think it is worthy of your support. Click here for more -
1.The One Percent Solution
2. Program summary (Opens in own window)
3. Ten reasons why
4. Next steps
5. Afterword: Why one per cent?

1. The One Percent Solution

To support the work behind this four-year collaborative project, we have decided to turn to a certain number of cities, public agencies, transporters, consultants, foundations, certain private sector groups, and others known to us and leading the way through their own actions and efforts, and invite them to step forward and contribute a very small portion of the finances needed to cover the costs of the Journal.

Specifically, we are proposing an annual contribution from each on the order of one percent of our operating costs. Let us explain this somewhat unusual idea.

2. Program summary

To be quite sure that our case is fully understood, we would ask you to spend a few minutes with the following four-page PowerPoint summary which has been prepared to provide a brief but comprehensive overview of what this project is all about -- and which you can access directly here - (Opens in own window.)

Thank you for taking the time to do this. It makes it easier for us to give you the full context.
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3. Ten reasons why you should pitch in your percent:

1. Because it is the right thing to do. (And it is simple and cheap.)

2. It demonstrates that you give credence to critical vital climate/transportation link and the need for acting now -- and not waiting about for some kind of long term deus ex machina that may or may not solve your and the planet's problems.

3. World Streets is, or at least it can be, extremely time efficient for you and your team. The publication component of this four-part package can be channeled to your staff and associates in a way that eats up no more than a few minutes of their time. However it is also put before them in a form in which they can easily consult and expand their search for projects, concepts and tools they would like to know more about.

4. It does not bore -- to the contrary, it challenges and energizes the minds of its readers. It will make your smartest people smarter yet.

5. It gives you an efficient way to track some of the things going on at the leading edge not only in your own country or regional grouping. Its genuine worldwide, North/South, East/West (and South/North) focus, reporting from source, brings to your attention projects, ideas and clues that otherwise you are just about certain to miss.

6. By stepping forward you provide proof that you are part of the growing movement that is in the process of turning sustainable transportation from a marginal activity with a basically rhetorical feel-good spin, into the defining mainstream of 21st century transportation policy and practice at the leading edge.

7. By your initiative you are making World Streets available to others in your city or region and, in the process, creating an extended sense of common purpose which is largely still missing in most places.

8. By doing your bit, you are helping make these ideas and materials available to cities, researchers, activists, and others all over the world, including many others who otherwise cannot even afford this one per cent.

9. As a colleague and supporter, you and your team are in a position to work with the editorial staff to let the world know about your leading projects and accomplishments.

10. And finally, if you do not step forward to do this, who will?

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4. Next steps

Get in touch and we can talk about your subscription and about how to make World Streets work best for you. If you are working in an agency or some other group with funding, we hope you will talk to your bosses and others working there to see how they might find a budget to pitch in and lend a hand.

If you are on your own, even a single percent, which is on the order of USD 1,500.00 is likely to be too much. But don't be shy. You can always subscribe or make a personal gift in the amount you choose. For more on that please click here to

Finally we want this to be simple and for our part we have a number of ideas about how these sponsor relationships can be organized so as to have substantial impacts on the city or sponsor in question. But all of that in due course. For now get in touch and we can work out the details.

Eric Britton
Managing Editor

8-10, rue Joseph Bara 75006 Paris France | +331 4326 1323 | Skype: newmobility

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Afterword: Why one per cent? A sustainable transport lesson learned

This is a deeply symbolic figure in the context of the worldwide struggle to sustainable transportation - a world in which there are no Big Bang solutions. Rather our day to day reality is the challenge of highly complex, ever shifting, kaleidoscopic, almost often genuinely chaotic situations of many parts. These are the kind of real life situations that require the identification and then the careful orchestration of very large numbers of mainly quite modest actions and measures which, when rolled into a strategic multi-layer package of policies and services can make that big, transformational difference.

Carsharing is an excellent example of this complexity, though far from the only one. After more than a decade of work and presence on the front lines of policy and practice in the field (see for details), we can state with conviction that carsharing constitutes a vital building block for the move to sustainable transportation. Let me say that again in other words because this is a critical point.

Again . . . It is altogether unlikely that any place on this gasping planet is ever going to move toward a truly sustainable mobility system in the very short delay envisaged by our project unless there is a good dose of carsharing in its local solution package. Now this is an important point, which few cities and agencies have grasped thus far. And of course, it changes everything.

But that is not the end of the carsharing story. The other half of this mature vision of suitable transport in and around cities is that, even when carsharing is up and working to its full potential, it is only going to account for no more than one or two percent of all trips in the service area. Some seize this point and conclude that this shows that carsharing is not very important in the overall scheme of things. Wrong! It is critical. We have stated it in these terms for years: "Carsharing is the hammer on the last nail in the coffin of old mobility".

And, dear reader, that is exactly the nature of the complex building blocks and packages that make up sustainable transportation reform: they complement, they complete, and they synergize. And there are hundreds of them.

An excellent analogy of what we now hope to achieve in gathering support for World Streets.

6. Recent visitor map:

Last eighty people to pick up a copy of World Streets this morning. Are you there?

7. Pushing for Sustainable Lives: Car Free Day in Kaohsiung Taiwan

Who are these wonderful children, and what are we doing together? Well, they are part of a drum playing band organized for the public events in support of the car free day last week in Kaohsiung Taiwan. And what they are doing is showing you how they too are ready to push for sustainable transportation, sustainable cities and sustainable lives. You may note if you look closely that they live with Downs Syndrome, and judging from the smiles on their faces pretty well indeed.

Anyway, your editor much prefers their fashion to push to his own. And you? Are you ready to join us? It's an awfully small planet and one that needs you too.

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