Friday, November 20, 2009

It was there all the time: Putting shared transport to work.
* Share Transport 2010 – Conference in Kaohsiung, ROC *

The all but invisible (unless you were looking for it) trend behind true sustainability in the transport sector is . . . sharing. We now know that the only way to significantly reduce the CO2 load of our transportation arrangements is through corresponding reductions in motorized traffic (VMT/VKT). Which means efficiently getting more people and goods in those vehicles still plying the road. And to do this well, we need to learn a lot more about sharing.

Kaohsiung 2010 Conference plan in brief

The objective of this International Conference - the first of its kind -- is to examine the concept of shared transport (as opposed to individual ownership) from a multi-disciplinary perspective, with a strong international and Chinese-speaking contingent. The goal of this event is to bring together leading thinkers and sharing transport practitioners from around Taiwan, Asia and the world, and to provide them with a high profile opportunity to share experience, perspectives, ideas, and recommendations on this important trend.

The concept of shared transport is at once old and new, formal and informal, and one that is growing very fast. However to now attention has focused on the technical details of each project and approach -- as opposed to stepping back first to gain a broader understanding of the basic human, societal, and economic trends and realities behind this kind of behavior more generally.

But something important is clearly going on, and the Kaohsiung event will be looking at this carefully, in the hope of providing a broader strategic base for advancing not just the individual shared modes, but the sustainable transport agenda more broadly

Background: Sharing in the 21st century - Will it shape our cities?

After many decades of a single dominant city-shaping transportation pattern - i.e., for those who could afford it: owning and driving our own cars, trucks, motorcycles and bicycles, getting into taxis by ourselves, riding in streets that are designed for cars and not much else -- there is considerable evidence accumulating that we have already entered into a world of new mobility practices that are changing the transportation landscape in many ways. It has to do with sharing, as opposed to outright ownership. But strange to say, this trend seems to have escaped the attention of the policymakers in many of the institutions directly concerned.

Largely ignored by the transport policy establishment perhaps but transport sharing is an important trend, one that is already starting to reshape at least parts of some of our cities. It is a movement at the leading edge of our most successful (and wealthiest and livable) cities -- not just a watered down or second-rate transport option for the poor.

With this in view, we are setting out to come together to examine not just the qualities (and limitations) of individual shared mobility modes, but also to put this in the broader context of why people share. And why they do not. And in the process to stretch our minds to consider what is needed to move toward a new environment in which people often share rather than necessarily only doing things on their own when it comes to moving around in our cities worldwide.

As a contribution to international understanding in this fast emerging but largely unexplored field, the city of Kaohsiung is organizing, together with an international team from the Chinese Institute of Transport (CIT), the Global New Mobility Project, Megatrans Taiwan, and National Taiwan University, a three-day international conference and brainstorming session to take place from 16 - 18 September 2010, in which a number of people working at the leading edge of these matters will come together, first to examine together the general concept of sharing in the 21st century. And then, once this broader frame and understanding has been established, go on to consider how sharing as an organizational principle is working out in each of the individual mobility modes which are rapidly gaining force in cities around the world.

Sharing in Transport (Quick introduction)

Below is our latest list of the shared transport modes to be considered by the conference. (This list to be prioritized, pruned and consolidated as useful for the conference. Only selected topics will be covered by the formal sessions.)

1. Bikesharing
2. Carsharing (includes both formal and informal arrangements
3. Fleetsharing
4. Ridesharing (carpools, van pools, hitchhiking - organized and informal).
5. Taxi sharing
6. Shared Parking
7. Truck/van sharing (combined delivery, other)
8. Streetsharing 1 (example: BRT streets shared between buses, cyclists, taxis, emergency vehicles)
9. Streetsharing 2 (streets used by others for other (non-transport) reasons as well.)
10. Public space sharing
11. Work place sharing (neighborhood telework centers; virtual offices; co-workplace; hoteling)
12. Sharing SVS (small vehicle systems: DRT, shuttles, community buses, etc.)
13. Cost sharing
14. Time sharing
15. Successful integration of public transport within a shared transport city? Including bus and rail
16. Team sharing
17. Knowledge-sharing (including this conference)

Initial conference details (to be finalized)

Event: Three day international conference and planning workshops

Dates: 16-18 September 2010.

Theme: "It was there all the time: Putting shared transport to work in our cities"

Location: City of Kaohsiung, Taiwan, ROC

Hosts: City of Kaohsiung, with support of the Chinese Institute of Transport and National Taiwan University

• Presenting the leading edge of thinking, policy and practice in this fast emerging field.
• Panel of distinguished international speakers will be joined by Taiwanese and Chinese leaders

• Researchers, city administration, activists, NGOs, students, media, and suppliers to the sector
• From Taiwan, China, South-East Asia and all other interested

Participant questionnaire:
Each participant is invited to fill out a short questionnaire prior to registration, to help the organizers structure the conference and in particular the breakout sessions on the various share modes to serve the needs of the group better. Comments and suggestions are also welcomed, and the organizers commit to answering your communications and questions.

Call for papers: (To follow.)

Poster sessions invitations: (To follow.)

Other events in planning stages:
There are several other closely related events that are to be integrated into the program. While final details are not yet available, but here are several of the events that are presently under discussion:
1. Integrating the meeting with the 2010 Kaohsiung Car Free Day (the seventh in their series since 2003)
2. Ditto for a New Mobility Week presently under discussions.
3. A possible New Mobility Master Class (again focusing on Kaohsiung)
4. Working links to the Taipei Low Carbon Cities program
5. Kids Sharing Channel (Open school project)
6. University Media project:
7. A guided tour program for visitors taking them to key sharing and new mobility projects and cities in both Taiwan and the PRC.

Language: Chinese/English. Full translation of all sessions

Sponsors: Under discussion. Both private and public sector partners being invited to participate.

Conference venue: Garden Villa Kaohsiung -

Media: The program will be media rich, all the way through from using the latest Web, internet, videoconferencing and virtual presence technologies, to extensive use of film and videos to provide a higher impact and more rapid understanding of the principles. Goal is to share conference freely and broadly.

For further information: Contact details just below.

Why Kaohsiung?

The city of Kaohsiung is taking this initiative because it realizes that most of our cities need new thinking and new approaches to resolving the insufficiencies of our present transportation arrangements, theirs included. The city is putting new ideas and real resources into their transport challenges. They have has already introduced one of the first shared bike projects in Asia, are looking into taxi-sharing, have been celebrating Car Free Days since 2003, and are building cycling infrastructure at a steady pace. Carsharing is a new idea for Kaohsiung and visitors will be able to see how they are approaching it as one more shared transport option.

The city has a spanking new metro, but the transport means of choice for about two thirds of all trips is the South Asian special, motorized two wheelers. There is something about "seeing the future" as you observe this striking pattern on the street, and it pushes the mind to consider how to come to grips wiht this new and largely unmapped phenomenon.

So when you come to Kaohsiung for the conference in September, you will also be able to take advantage of a two day new mobility tour of the city's transportation arrangements, challenges and plans for the future. Planners and policy makers from cities around the world are going to recognize a lot of what they see in Kaohsiung.

The conference materials pack will contain extensive background on and leads to further information on each of these topic areas. To be made available before the meeting convenes.

The conference address is

For more, contact:

For Chinese media, participation, sponsor and administrative contacts:
Susan Lin, Project Leader
Mega Trans International Corporation
Hansheng East Road
Banciao City Taipei County 22066 Taiwan Tel. +886 922 661 235

For meeting logistics, overall organization and UK contacts:
Rory McMullan, Project Manager
PTRC Education and Research Services Ltd.
1 Vernon Mews, Vernon Street,
W14 0RL United Kingdom Tel. +44 (0) 20 7348 1970 Skype: roryer

For matters relating to content, ACOST, speakers, jury and moderating
Eric Britton, Program Chair:
New Mobility Partnerships
The Commons/EcoPlan international
Le Frêne, 8/10 rue Joseph Bara. 75006 Paris, France Tel. +331 4326 1323 Skype: newmobility

Print this article