Friday, July 31, 2009

New Mobility Hubs: Connecting the dots

The next generation of urban transportation is about connecting the dots, bringing diverse innovations together in ways that work better for users than the single occupancy vehicle alone.
- Sue Zielinski reports from Ann Arbor MI USA.

Sue Zielinski introduces the New Mobility Hubs program, an initiative of City Connect, Ford Motor Company, the University of Michigan SMART project and local partners, with ongoing projects in N. America, Germany, India and South Africa.


# # #
Recognizing that neither alternative fuels nor pricing alone will save the day in this rapidly urbanizing world, a groundswell of transportation innovation is arising worldwide. However these innovations are too rarely linked in way that can provide a convenient, practical, affordable door-to-door trip for the user. The next generation of urban transportation is about connecting the dots, bringing diverse innovations together in ways that work better for users than the single occupancy vehicle alone.

Connecting the Transport Dots Regionally and Globally

Imagine a day, when steps from your door, or even from inside your home or office, you could enter a vital network or grid of New Mobility Hubs, places near you that connect a whole range of transport amenities including buses, trains, streetcars, clean fuel taxis, auto rickshaws and car share or bike share vehicles, and in some cases, day care, satellite offices, cafes, shops and entertainment.

In more connected communities this is all brought together by a cell phone or pda that offers real-time information on arrival and departure times and availability, as well as access to other information. The pda also allows you to quickly and easily pay for these affordable modes and services with a single wave past the reader. You can transfer seamlessly from one mode of transportation to the other, informed of schedules and options all the way, using the best mode for the purpose, gaining access to car share at one hub, and dropping it off at another to pick up a waiting bus or train. It’s easy, it’s convenient, it’s affordable, and it’s 21st century.

For the user, hub networks connect an integrated set of services, products, and technologies door-to-door, addressing the “last mile” challenge. For the developer and operator, hub networks are scalable, starting by linking what exists and adding and enhancing as budget and will materializes. Since the key is connecting rather than competing interests, the process and the product includes rich and poor, a range of backgrounds and needs, and urban and suburban. For government leaders, this achieves social, environmental, and economic goals. For businesses in the emerging New Mobility Industry, this offers innovation opportunities that generate Open Source Transportation, spur Public Private Innovation, and supply the emerging market for sustainable urban transportation globally.

New Mobility Hub Networks exist or are being developed in Bremen, Toronto, Chennai, Cape Town, D.C., Atlanta, Ann Arbor and more.

Click here for more.

Susan Zielinski, Managing Director, SMART, susanz@isr.umich.edu,
Sustainable Mobility & Accessibility Research & Transformation, www.um-smart.org
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan USA

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The One Per Cent Solution

The goal is to put World Streets on a solid financial footing, to ensure its continued high quality contribution through 2012. After the first year of highly acclaimed daily publication, we are off to a strong start but are going to need outside support to continue. Fortunately, we have a plan:

* 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. Click here for more - http://tinyurl.com/ws-readers.
Contents
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?
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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 - http://tinyurl.com/ws-sum. (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 per cent:

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 no -- 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. It 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 consumes 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 from time to time 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 contribution and about how to make World Streets work best for you.

At the same time you will be a good world neighbor, helping others as you help yourself. The other half of sustainability is generosity. But you already knew that, didn't you?

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
editor@worldstreets.org | +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 www.carshare.newmobility.org 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:



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Thursday, July 30, 2009

How Soon Will Cutting Transportation Emissions Save Money?

From the rough and tumble world of US transportation politics, Elana Schor of DC.STREETSBLOG.org takes an independent look at the Moving Cooler report, and tries to help those of us who do not necessarily understand DC-speak what it means for the real world.

Elana Schor, Washington DC, Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Anyone who kept tabs on the House's climate change bill last month recalls much acrimonious ado about the plan's impact on average American pocketbooks. The GOP tossed out cost estimates that turned out to [2] be manipulated, while nonpartisan projections showed the bill actually saving [3] money for low-income families.

But the unfortunate truth [4] about the House climate bill is how little incentive it provides for reducing the carbon footprint of the nation's transportation sector, which accounts for about 30 percent of total U.S. emissions.

So how much would it cost to seriously tackle transportation emissions, through transit expansion, land use, and strategies to encourage less driving? A new report [1] released this morning by a coalition of government agencies and environmental groups offers a groundbreaking answer to that question.

The Moving Cooler report, as it's known, divided an array of emissions-reduction tactics into bundles, reflecting the likelihood that several of them will be instituted at once as part of a larger climate effort.



Pictured above is the chart that depicts the "long term/maximum results" bundle -- in plain English, a package deal of congestion pricing, high-speed rail, expanded transit and inter-city passenger rail, car-sharing, more HOV lanes, and increased highway capacity to clear bottlenecks.

The estimated savings from those proposals begin to outweigh the costs of implementation around 2016, according to the report, which was co-sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration.

But for other bundles of tactics, the savings from reducing emissions are more immediate; for others, they are more far-off. What about a package focusing on improving the efficiency of transportation systems, with highway expansion, speed limit reductions, and freight capacity boosts, but less attention to transit and rail?

That bundle would begin to save money by around 2022, the report found, with total savings reaching a peak of $80 billion per year in present-day dollars. Adding transit and rail to the mix nearly doubles the estimated savings, as the chart depicted above shows.

Another bundle of tactics focused on those that can be implemented right away at a low cost, though some of them also face considerable political opposition: congestion pricing, urban parking restrictions, transit fare reductions, and eco-driving. That package saves money almost immediately, the report's authors found.

Implementing the report's full array of solutions would result in estimated emissions reductions of as much as 24 percent every year. If that could be achieved, by 2050 the transportation sector would have provided one-fourth of the total greenhouse gas cuts required under the House climate bill. Of course, that's a tremendous "if."

The process starts, as one panelist involved in the report noted today, by recognizing that transportation has a major role to play in the climate bill and making it a prominent part of the discussion -- more prominent, even, than the debate over [5] how long to wait before re-writing federal transportation policy.

# # #
Article reprinted with permission from Streetsblog Capitol Hill: http://dc.streetsblog.org

URL to article: http://dc.streetsblog.org/2009/07/28/how-soon-will-cutting-transportation-emissions-save-money/

URLs in this post:

[1] Moving Cooler: http://movingcooler.info/

[2] turned out to: http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/04/mit-scientists-republicans-misusing-my-climate-change-paper.php

[3] actually saving: http://news.moneycentral.msn.com/provider/providerarticle.aspx?feed=AP&date=20090622&id=10043858

[4] unfortunate truth: http://washingtonindependent.com/49985/public-transit-loses-to-polluters-in-climate-bill-subsidies

[5] the debate over: http://dc.streetsblog.org/2009/07/27/a-make-or-break-week-for-transportation-begins-on-the-hill/

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"Solving humanity’s most pressing problems". Comments?

The Buckminster Fuller Challenge
"Each year a distinguished jury awards a $100,000 prize to support the development and implementation of a strategy that has significant potential to solve humanity’s most pressing problems and the 2009 results are in!"


(All text and graphics here taken from prize announcement at http://challenge.bfi.org )

From Buckminster Fuller Challenge release:
Congratulations to the winning proposal by the Smart Cities Group at the MIT Media lab: Sustainable Personal Mobility and Mobility-on-Demand Systems.

2009 Grand Prize Winner: Sustainable Personal Mobility and Mobility-on-Demand Systems

And here it is:

* For full article click to http://challenge.bfi.org/home

Your comments are warmly invited here.

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Thinking out loud about the World Naked Bike Ride.

If you have narrow notions about how people should get about in cities, World Streets is probably not the place for you. We take a big house approach. It's the only way to go. Which means that every day brings its fair share of surprises, rattling in more often than not without advance notice from many different places, different kinds of people, with a huge span of ideas, values and concerns. Look what slipped through the door late last night. New Mobility without frills.

- Charles Montgomery reporting from Portland OR USA


Reflections on the World Naked Bike Ride
- by Charles Montgomery
Portland, June 14, 2009
At midnight, near the rail yards of northwest Portland, a drum chorus began a thunderous steam engine beat. Riders drifted out of the night like schools of fish. Their eyes and their bicycles reflected the incandescent glint of streetlamps. The skin of five thousand naked bodies glowed pale. A few people wore shoes. Some even wore helmets. But for the most part, it was bare bottoms jiggling in the murky light, and breasts too, and penises, humbled by the chill breeze.

My companions and I thought it would be amusing to witness the World Naked Bike Ride. We had no intention of joining. But how can you witness thousands of remarkably beautiful people hooting and howling and chanting, seemingly overjoyed, not just by their own nakedness, but by the sudden shock of freedom and camaraderie it offered--how can you move among such a spectacle and not be compelled to rip off your own clothes, to hide them under the roadside clover, and join the ride?

Reason fell away. I sheepishly peeled off my jeans, and then my shirt, and my sweater, and my socks, and I would have stopped there, but Omar ripped all off but his boots, and Christine, a young woman I had hired as a research assistant only a month before, stripped down too, and although I was appalled at the unprofessional intimacy that bottom-baring implied, underwear was peeling from bodies all around me, so I peeled too. I left my belt around my waist, and hung a few long stocks of clover from it, faintly approximating a skirt.

We joined a flow of thousands, squeezing out of the industrial district, past the beating drums, over the tracks, under the freeway. After a few slow-motion collisions, we found our legs, narrowly avoiding each other as we wobbled through bottlenecks and around corners.

There were three, four, now five thousand of us, and the tail lights flowed like a river of red sparks, pouring ahead into the canyons of the city, while a tail of white headlights followed behind.

I found myself bouncing on my front shocks like a kid. I wiggled my bum. I didn't think I was that kind of person. But damn it, I wiggled, and I hooted and yelped—we all did—as we cruised down between rows of restaurants and bars.

Portland's Saturday night bar crowd had poured out onto the street to watch us. They lined the road as though we were a parade. That seemed natural. After all, it's not every day that you see a few thousand naked people cruising down Burnside. But the people did more than watch us. They cheered us on. They rose their fists in the air and howled along with us. They reached out to us as we rolled past, hands open, imploring us to slap their palms. Why? I couldn't say at the time. They were clearly surprised, and for the most part they seemed delighted by the spectacle and the rupture in normalcy, but there was something more to their enthusiasm. They seemed to want to join with us.

There is of course a political element to the World Naked Bike Ride. It began in 2004 as a protest against the domination of urban roads by cars. The riders' nakedness was a poetic reference to society's "indecent exposure" to the ills of car culture. It was a metaphor for their vulnerability on the street, and of course a way to make headlines for an anti-fossil fuel message.

In Portland, the naked riders spoke earnestly of a different kind of city, one where streets might be reclaimed from cars and made safer for everyone. These were people who volunteered to help strangers move between homes with their bicycle trailers, just to prove it could be done. They painted plazas and murals on neighbourhood intersections, in an effort to reclaim just a little bit of the asphalt. They welded bicycle frames together to fashion hulking, giraffe-like contraptions, so they could see above the roofs of SUVs as they rolled through the streets. They were certain that their bicycles could save the world from war and climate change and the ravages of consumer capitalism. They yelled, "less gas, more ass," as they rolled along, and we joined in as though it were the chorus of a church hymn or a marching cry.

And now here we were, rolling together through downtown, and the bar crowd lined the streets, and people held their pint-glasses out to us so we could gulp their micro-brewed beer, and some of those people were so overcome with the spectacle that they actually unbuckled their belts and let their pants and underwear fall to the pavement.

There they were, standing, grinning, beer in hand and pants around ankles, shouting a strange kind of solidarity. One fellow was so convinced that he dropped all his clothes and just sprinted alongside the bicycles, down the street, until he collapsed with exhaustion. Women ripped their tops off in the same gesture, hands in the air, blue cell phone screens waving back and forth over their heads.

I felt like a strange kind of hero, and I reached out to those crowds as though with every touch of my hand I was passing on some incalculable benediction, some gift, an affirmation: Yes, this is happening. Yes you are a part of it. Yes, the city is so much wilder and more full of wonder than you assumed it was when you left your home.

When the police caught up with us, their cruiser lights flashed red and blue, but they had no interest in arresting the naked. They anticipated the procession's route, and they parked their cruisers in the cross streets in order to save us from the dangers of crossing cars. And they laughed: great, generous belly laughs.

The Naked Bike Ride was all so outrageous and outwardly frivolous, it was tempting to accept that the ride was nothing more than an act of circus-like fun. But that would be wrong.

I understood this when a pack of us squeezed through the crowds of onlookers in Portland's Old Town and broke away, up onto the Burnside bridge. It occurred to me that at most times, most of that vast and elegant piece of infrastructure, five of its six lanes, was off-limits to all but those who inhabited vehicles powered by internal combustion engine. It was a fantastically dangerous place a place, just like most roads in the city. We rarely question such tragedies, because we simply can't imagine our cities working any differently than they have since we were children.

But when you and your friends are weaving and bobbing—flying, really—up its vast, smooth surface, the bridge feels like a launching pad to the stars. And because you are not the person you were even an hour ago, your mind takes flight as well, and you imagine that the bridge, the off-ramp, the boulevard, the avenue, the grid, all the asphalt-covered places that the city has lost could be regained and transformed. They could shed the old way, just as easily as you shed your clothes. And something that for so long has been unthinkable, now seems possible. The city could change.

It was a wonderful feeling, not foolish at all. We promised ourselves we would hold onto it as we dispersed back into the night.


Charles Montgomery is an award-winning writer and photographer who tells stories about people, cities, science and myth. His next book, Happy City, will look at how this science is being used to fix broken cities in America and around the world. You can check out Charles at www.charlesmontgomery.ca


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Report: Carsharing in the United States 2009

This just published four thousand dollar (EUR 2,995.00) report, in its own words: "Provides Insight into the External and Internal Factors Affecting Consumption and Trends". The table of contents and list of figures provide a checklist of what they consider worth looking into. Check them out here.

DUBLIN --Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Car Sharing in the United States 2009" report to their offering. The following text is taken verbatim from their marketing materials, for which we thank them. (Note: they spell car share, etc. as two words?)

About this report

This report explores the car sharing market in the US. It provides insight into the external and internal factors affecting consumption and trends and what they mean for future sales, as well as promotional campaigns and industry innovations. Specific questions that are answered in this report include the following:

* What effects do rising gasoline costs and the economic downturn have on the overall market?
* What companies and interests control the car sharing market?
* How can consumers who are committed to their vehicles be persuaded to purchase a car share membership?
* Where will the car share market be in 20 years and what cities are the leaders?
* What companies are innovating within their segments, and how can others learn from their success?
* How can car sharing operators partner with municipalities and other industries to boost awareness and participation?
* How can car share operators take advantage of the economic downturn to appeal to consumers seeking budget-conscious transit options?
* What media are industry leaders using to deliver effective marketing campaigns and what actions need to be taken to improve visibility?

Some of the Topics Covered:

* Downturn in rentals forces some car rental companies to pursue sharing
* As new car sales decline, consumers may rely more on car sharing
* Municipalities encouraging car-sharing incentives for new home developers
* Toyota launches electric brand targeted just for car-sharing users
* Municipalities, corporations creating exclusive pacts to car share
* Car-sharing Segments
* Key points
* Car sharing is controlled by Zipcar, car rental companies, non-profits
* Zipcar
* Key points
* Zipcar dominates car sharing, having vehicle fleets in more than 50 cities
* Zipcar emphasizes convenience more than environmental advocacy
* FastFleet generates revenues through selling car-share technology
* Rental Car Companies
* Key points
* Car rental companies alter car-share market by launching branded service
* Connect by Hertz
* WeCar
* U Car Share
* Non-profits
* Key points
* Non-profit car-share programs strive to decrease driving in urban areas
* Key non-profit car-share programs
* Brand Qualities
* OZOcar promotes environmental stewardship through hybrid-only fleet
* Curvy Road's car-sharing plans provide exclusive rights to fantasy cars
* Innovation and Innovators
* iPhone applications connect passengers, drivers together to share rides

List of figures:

Figure 1: Consumer vehicle miles traveled, all U.S. roads and streets, 1998-2008

Figure 2: Annual membership fees and rates and cities available, national U.S. car-share companies, 2009

Figure 3: Zipcar ad, 2009
Car Sharing—Consumer Awareness
Key points
Car-sharing awareness dramatically low; growth potential high

Figure 4: Car share awareness, by gender, March 2009
Early career professionals likely to show more awareness than older peers

Figure 5: Car-sharing awareness, by age, March 2009
Car-sharing awareness rates highest with the wealthiest respondents

Figure 6: Car share awareness, by household income, March 2009
Awareness highest on both coasts; room to grow in nation’s middle, south

Figure 7: Car share awareness, by region, March 2009
Car Sharing—Participation
Key points
Car share membership skews low, suggesting opportunity for growth

Figure 8: Car-share participation, by gender, March 2009
Respondents aged 25-34 are most likely to have car share memberships

Figure 9: Car-share participation, by age, March 2009
The most affluent are most likely to be car-sharing members

Figure 10: Car-share participation, by household income, March 2009
Car Sharing—Reasons Against Participating
Key points
Vehicle ownership primary concern among potential car share members

Figure 11: Reasons against car-share participation, by gender, March 2009
Vehicle inventory needed most in neighborhoods where younger users live

Figure 12: Reasons against car-sharing participation, by age, March 2009
Middle-income households present challenge for car-share operators

Figure 13: Reasons against car-sharing participation, by household income, March 2009
Impact of Race and Hispanic Origin
Key points
Blacks and Hispanics more aware of car sharing than whites

Figure 14: Car share awareness, by race/Hispanic origin, March 2009
Hispanics show tendency to be more loyal to car sharing than others

Figure 15: Car-share participation, by race/Hispanic origin, March 2009
Hispanics more likely open to car sharing, whites more tied to personal car

Figure 16: Reasons against car-share participation, by race/Hispanic origin, March 2009
Appendix: Trade Associations

Companies Mentioned:

* Aldi (USA)
* Alfa Romeo
* Automobili Lamborghini Holding S.p.A.
* Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG)
* Avis Budget Group, Inc.
* Bebo Inc
* BMW of North America, LLC
* Chrysler LLC
* DaimlerChrysler AG
* Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, Inc.,
* Enterprise Rent-A-Car Company
* Facebook, Inc.
* Ferrari S.p.A.
* Ford Motor Company (USA)
* Greenfield Online
* IKEA USA
* Kohl's Corporation
* Mazda North American Operations
* National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA)
* Porsche Cars North America, Inc.
* Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd
* Sirius Satellite Radio Inc.
* The Hertz Corporation
* Toyota Motor Corporation USA
* U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
* University of Michigan, The
* Volkswagen of America, Inc.
* Washington Post Company (The)
* Yelp Inc.
* Zipcar, Inc.

To order the report click here:


- - -

The logo that appears above belongs to our friends Carshare Vermont - www.carsharevt.org. - whom we thank for sharing and who will put at your disposal a nice clean car for $15.00/month plus $5/hour and $0.25 mile. You don't have to worry about paying for gas, maintenance, repairs, insurance, car washes, changing winter tires, parking,or 24- hour emergency assistance. And the environmental benefits to the planet are included in the price. Cheap!

* Click here to go to Burligton Vermont and pick up your shared car today.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Public Bikes – How big a system? And why?

One of the complaints currently being voiced in the UK press about the new public bike start-up in the city of Bristol is that it is too small, insufficiently visible and generally hard to get at – and that it thus fails to achieve the level of massive use that is necessary if what you want is a city transformation project. Is that what your public bicycle project is supposed to do? Transform your city?

It can you know. Not all by itself of course but if you put it together with a carefully thought out integrated package of new mobility measures you can create a powerful component of the transformational process. (For background on the Bristol project see our 23 July piece on this “Thoughts on a shared bike project in the UK: Part I” at http://newmobilityagenda.blogspot.com/2009/07/shared-bike-project-in-uk-part-i.html for background.)

For some useful perspective on this you may want to check out the example of Paris and the Vélib' through a handful of short videos, plus one full length TV documentary, all of which can be accessed here with a single click.

* A 30 second trailer announcing the PBS documentary on Vélo Liberté and the Greening of Paris – at http://www.pbs.org/e2/transport.html

* 3 minute, interesting because it provides some discussion of why a big ambitious project was for the team behind the project in Paris’s’ City Hall was the way to go for Paris - same link, just below the above.

* An extended 6 minute version which hones in on the relationship between bikesharing and carsharing (lesson: proceed with caution, but be sure to proceed!) - at http://blip.tv/play/AcvUegA

* The full half hour PBS documentary can be viewed (small screen but entirely viewable) if you click to http://www.e2-series.com/, click Webcast, then Paris.

* Words from a satisfied user, from Vélo Liberté.

Copies of the DVD of the full e² transport series can be obtained for $25.00 from the Public Broadcasting System bookshop via http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=3333834&cp=&sr=1&kw=paris&origkw=paris&pg=2&parentPage=search#Details

Additionally, if you want another perspective on Vélib, have a look at the enjoyable Streetfilms piece: Vélib' – The Greening of Paris - http://www.streetfilms.org/archives/velib (8 minutes). And the Perils for Pedestrians interview here at http://blip.tv/file/2363567/.

Brainfood from Paris. Bon appétit!



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Monday, July 27, 2009

Walking to School - Italian style

"Piedibus" -- "Walking Bus" in Italian -- is the first article posted from our newly-born sister publication, Nuova Mobilità. And to open up our minds to the big and varied world out there, here it is in the original Italian -- with a convenient one click link to a workable if not perfect machine translation into English. If you want to know, you will know. Buon appetito.

- Enrico Bonfatti reporting from Bergamo, Italy
* Click here to read the Italian original. (In own window)

* Here for the rough English machine translation:

* And here for our article of 22 July introducing and explaining plans for the Nuova Mobilità sustainable transport daily in Italy.
Editor's note:

This is the category -- children, schools -- which is very important as a new mobility tool on a number of grounds and is therefore one to which we shall be getting considerable attention in the months and years ahead.

This first posting on Piedibus in Italy will shortly be followed by reports from "Walk to School", "Safe Routes to School" and similar national programs in Europe and North America, and, to the extent to which we can find them, in other parts of the world as well.

It is truly impossible to get too much of this great idea. So thank you Enrico Bonfatti from Nuova Mobilità and to you Massimo Vassallo from Piedibus were taking be time and trouble to report to us on these developments in Italy.

Some handy international references:
* International Walk to School program- www.iwalktoschool.org/
* UK "Walk to School" initiative -- www.walktoschool.org.uk/
* International Walk to School in the USA -- www.walktoschool-usa.org/
* Safe Routes to School - http://www.activetrans.org/walkandroll
* Safe Routes to School (Canada) - http://www.saferoutestoschool.ca/
* Feet First Walk to School (New Zealand) - http://www.feetfirst.govt.nz/
* To search all our Key Links & Sources for related sites - here


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Tools: Combined searching all World Streets key links

There are a number of powerful tools you can access here, mainly through the left toolbar. But since this site is still insufficiently indexed for clarity (stay tuned!) here is one you may have missed. A combined search engine that with a single click searches the contents of all 135 (at last count) Key Links & Sources identified as among the outstanding sources of information on matters of interest to our readers.

______________________________________
* Click here to call up combined search engine for your key words (Own window) ______________________________________

Just to be sure we are quite clear on this, what this search engine does is to go into all the groups sites and sources to search them for any content that matches your keywords (using the usual conventions to narrow your search).

And here for your convenient inspection is the latest list of sites and sources. We invite you to have a look and, if you would, to let us know about any programs and URLs you think should be on this list. This will help us all. Thank you.

To link to the individual programs, scroll down the left toolbar to the Links section and find the group or program you wish to check out. Click!
1. Active Transportation Alliance
2. Alliance for Biking & Walking
3. Bakfiets Cycle News
4. Better Transport (UK)
5. Bicycle Design
6. Bicycle Fixation
7. Bike-sharing Blog
8. Brazilian Pedestrian Association
9. Brookings Institute
10. C40 - Large Cities Climate Leadership
11. California Center for Innovative Transportation
12. Campaign for Better Transport
13. Carsharing US
14. Center for Neighborhood Technology
15. Centre for Science and Environment
16. China Dialogue
17. Cities for Mobility
18. CitiesACT (Asia)
19. City CarShare
20. City Fix
21. City Mayors
22. CityRyde
23. Ciudad Viva
24. CIVITAS
25. Clean Air Initiative (CAI)
26. Climate Alliance of European Cities
27. Climate ark
28. Clinton Climate Initiative
29. Community Transportation Association of America
30. CROW - Technology Platform for Transport & Public Space
31. ELTIS
32. ELTIS case studies
33. Embarq - Center for Sustainable Transport
34. Embarq - WRI
35. Energy Foundation China.org
36. EPOMM - European Platform on Mobility Management
37. EUROCITIES
38. European Federation for Transport & Environment
39. Feet First.
40. Flexibility.co.uk
41. Forum for the future
42. Friends of the Earth (Transport)
43. Frixo traffic reporting
44. Gehl architects.
45. Global Alliance for EcoMobility
46. global Transport Knowledge Partnership
47. Go For Green
48. Google maps bike
49. Gotham Gazette
50. Green 2009
51. Green car congress.
52. Greenstreet Sweden
53. Grist
54. GTZ
55. Guardian Transport
56. I Bike T.O.
57. I Walk to School
58. IEEE
59. IFRTD
60. INRETS (France)
61. International Federation of Pedestrians (IFP)
62. International Transport Forum
63. International Walk to School
64. ITDP - China (photo library)
65. ITDP - Institute for Transportation & Development Policy
66. Japan for Sustainability (JFS)
67. KonSULT
68. Land Transport Authority - Singapore
69. Livable Streets Network
70. Mobility Magazine (South Africa)
71. Network Musings
72. One Street
73. Oxford Transport Network
74. Pan Africa Bicycle Information Network
75. Partners for Public Spaces (PPS) i
76. Perils for Pedestrians
77. Planetizen
78. Polis
79. Practical cyclist Blog
80. Prevention Institute
81. Reconnecting America
82. Regional Community Development News
83. Reinventing Transport
84. Safe Kids
85. Safe Routes to School
86. Shared Space Institute
87. Shrinking Cities
88. Sightline Institute
89. Smart Growth America
90. Social Data
91. Spokes.org.uk
92. STPP
93. Street-Films
94. Streets Alive
95. Streetsblog (NYC)
96. Sustainable Cities Net
97. Sustainable Connections
98. Sustainable Development Gateway
99. Sustainable Energy Africa
100. Sustainable Urban Transport Project
101. Sustran - Global South Forum
102. The Commons
103. The new mobility Idea Factory
104. The PEP - Transport, Health Environment
105. the transport politic
106. The Infrastructurist
107. Transaid
108. Transition Towns
109. Transport Research Knowledge Centre
110. Transportation Alternatives
111. Transumo
112. Treehugger.
113. UITP
114. Urbamet
115. Urban Design
116. Urban Design and Planning
117. Urban Land Institute
118. Urban places and spaces
119. Urban Transport Issues Asia
120. Urban Trransportation Monitor
121. Value Capture News
122. Victoria Transport Policy Institute
123. Walk to School (UK)
124. Walking School Bus
125. Wash Cycle
126. WHO - Transport and Health
127. Wiki on Sustainable Transportation
128. Wikipedia New Mobility entry (for comment)
129. WiserEarth (WE)
130. World Business Council for Sustainable Development
131. World Changing
132. World Resources Forum
133. World Resources Institute
134. Worldwatch Institute
135. Wuppertal Institute

Again, anything missing you think should be there? Click here to let us know.

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Perils for Pedestrians comes to Paris to learn about Vélib

Perils for Pedestrians is a monthly cable TV program dedicated to improving the quality of the pedestrian environment in the US and Canada. Perils' director John Z. Wetmore came to Paris to interview some of the locals to get their views on bicycles, public space, and Vélib' for a series for North American cable television.

- John Z. Wetmore reporting from Paris


Wetmore to Britton on Vélib'
One of these looks straight at Vélib' and captures a 15 minute dialogue with the editor of World Streets. You can pick up Mr. Wetmore's questions and their exchange by clicking here to http://blip.tv/file/2363567/. (Interestingly enough, while this program was shot here in Paris last winter it actually arrived here on the day of Velib's second anniversary - see "Happy birthday Vélib', now you are two".)

The two full length programs which you can access directly from here include:

Perils for Pedestrians - Episode 157: Paris 1 and 2 http://blip.tv/file/2359879

1. Perils travels to Paris to talk with Jean Paul Lechevalier about walking in Paris and their public interest group, Les Droits du Piéton (The Rights of Pedestrians), active for many years here in Paris and in many other parts of France through their national association.

Contact:
Les Droits du Piéton - http://www.pietons.org
Maison des Associations du 1er Arrondissement
Forum des Halles - Cidex N° 209
75045 Paris cedex 1e
Tel/Fax : 01 43 35 08 04 pieton@wanadoo.fr

2. Perils looks at the Vélib' public bicycle system in Paris with Eric Britton of New Mobility Partnerships and World Streets (above).


Episode 158: Paris 3 and 4 - http://blip.tv/file/2361252/

3. Perils talks with two young cyclists to get their views on day to day cycling in Paris.

4. Perils talks with Norma Mashaal of "MDB - Mieux se Déplacer à Bicyclette" ("Better to Move around by Bicycle"), Paris's oldest and most active cycling group to get the big picture on cycling in the City of Light. (Executive summary: The success of Vélib' was not in fact born in one day.)

Contact:
MDB - Mieux se Déplacer à Bicyclette. http://mdb-idf.org
32 rue Raymond Losserand, 75014 PARIS
Tél : 01 43 20 26 02 courrier@mdb-idf.org

Both episodes will be screened on The Universityhouse Channel in the U.S. on July 21 and 28. Check your local station schedule for exact times.

# # #

Editor's comment:

In the context of Vélib' and the more general "Greening of Paris" program behind it and many of the other mobility innovations that are on-going here, how many times have we received radio, television, and film teams from around the world who come to Paris to meet, observe, interview, and try out for themselves some of the new mobility modes which are together changing the face of this city? In the last two years alone we have shaken the hands, looked in the eyes and tried to answer the questions of filmmakers and reporters from places as far away as India, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Pakistan, Australia, and the United States.

It is a consistent pleasure to receive and work with them. It is also a real learning process for us each time. And all this has led to a growing inventory of media almost all of which are freely available to anyone on the planet with a single click. (For a working guide to many of these that we have participated in, let us point you to www.media.newmobility.org.)

Image after image, program after program, film after film, all of this work is slowly coming together to get the word out. Each project has its own special touch. Nothing is redundant since there is a huge and needful world out there and these are new messages.

Do you have an idea for a video, podcast, radio or television program on any of the topics which we are working hard to cover under World Streets? If so, do not hesitate to get in touch. One by one, step after step, we will together get the message out.

Related New Mobility media:

* PBS prime time documentary (Dec. 2008), now available at http://www.e2-series.com/, click Webcast, then Paris.

* Vélib – The Greening of Paris - http://www.streetfilms.org/archives/velib (8 minutes)

* From bikeshare to carshare (Not so fast!) - http://blip.tv/play/AcvUegA (5 minutes)

* Rethinking Streets in Paris - http://www.streetfilms.org/archives/rethinking-streets-in-paris/ (6 minutes)

* Mobilien: Paris’ Version of Bus Rapid Transit - http://www.streetfilms.org/archives/mobilien/ (4 minutes)

* Vélib' cycles in Paris (7 Aug. 2007, 10 minutes) Interviews and images on the occasion of the opening of the Vélib' project in Paris. Cycling as a new form of urban public transport. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDBfwU6zni8

* Vélib' Cycles in Pune (12 Aug. 2007, 9 minutes) A Vélib' project in Indian cities. Is it possible? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLjT9g11y-4

* The Greening of Paris (Vol. 1)
Draft of one part of a film under preparation in support of the Greening of Paris component of the New Mobility Agenda's program "Reinventing Transport in Cities". - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTHXawO-t0Y. (The full rushes (19 minutes) can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTHXawO-t0Y)

* Contested Streets A documentary produced by the New York City advocacy group Transportation Alternatives with
new footage of reclaimed streets in London, Copenhagen and Paris and features interviews with leading figures in NYC, London, Paris and Copenhagen. - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YF4Q2badOng



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Update: World Carshare month on World Streets

Three quarters of the way through World Carshare month, a quick resume of action and accomplishments thus far, along with a small shopping list for our active collaborators of work to be completed in the weeks ahead, hopefully.

Quite a reasonable flow of materials and comments have come in as a result of this first attempt on our part to see what happens if we provide a specific topic focus for one month of attention and collaborative inputs under World Streets. If you click here or under the corresponding item on the toolbar just to the left, you will be able to call up all of the articles and commentaries received under this topic heading to date.

Interesting reading if you wish to know more about this great way to get around, and as you certainly know there is always ample space for your comments and questions. This being one of the potential advantages of this kind of wide open collaborative knowledge-building operation.

We would draw your attention to the following map which records the location of visitors coming into the world carshare program site over the last 24 hours, and which gives a very good idea of the physical geography of carsharing. The overall pattern you can see here is pretty much consistent with what normally comes in through our World Carshare site. The continuing heavy concentration in Europe and North America, with the ANZ countries jogging just behind. The developing East Asian axis, the occasional ding from Saudi and the Emirates, but for the most part the Middle East, Africa and even Latin America dead as doornails. We present this latest map here as food for thought.



Next steps:

We are staying right at the heels of the 462 registered members of World Carshare, and intend to encourage and push as best we can in order to bring over to our World Streets readers more information, in the form of:


* Country profiles

* World Carshare supplier inventory update

* Commentaries on critical issues for Carsharing

Two points to close out this brief note:

First, as with bike sharing projects as well, it is our long held and continuously reinforced position as students of carsharing operations around the world that the key inhibiting factor to more and better services continues to be in the insufficient understanding of city administrations and local government concerning the benefits of these two great ways of reducing traffic and its associated environmental and other damages. There is very definitely a real international brief to do something about this.

Second, we can be absolutely sure that the carsharing postings and inputs here will continue well past the end of this month,; however once we have a more complete view of this month's accomplishments, we will be reporting on that as well.

Carsharing: A new mobility transport mode that every city and community on the planet should be looking at for near term implementation. Carsharing is ready to go. What about your city? What about you?

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Transport Refugees – Victims of unjust transport policies

The term “refugee” if used in the context of transportation would normally be understood to mean “the movement of refugees”. But what we fail to comprehend is that for various reasons it is our own transport systems, and the values and decisions that shape them, that are making many of us “refugees” in our own cities? It does not have to be this way.

- Sudhir Gota and Bert Fabian, Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities



The term “refugee” term if used in the context of transportation would most often be understood to mean “the movement of refugees”. But what we fail to comprehend is that it is our own transport systems which make many of us “refugees” in our own cities.

The social discrimination and exclusion of large groups of people from fair transport in many places creates an unbalance in society which leads to further victimization. The growing externalities of inadequate transport further aggravate the poor quality of life of what is in many places a very large group of people. Not some kind of marginal hence to some trivial minority.

Let us consider the following statistics from the latest report on road safety just out from the World Health Organization : "We are responsible for our future" (click here for article and details of this report on World Streets):
i) 1.27 million people are killed in traffic crashes every year.

ii) In addition, road crashes cause between 20 million and 50 million non-fatal injuries every year and are an important cause of disability.

iii) In low-income countries of South East Asia over 80% of those killed are vulnerable road users (the poor, the weak, the very young, the very old, the disabled).

iv) Outdoor air pollution alone causes an estimated 800,000 deaths each year.
v) 150,000 deaths occurring in low-income countries each year due to climate change

vi) Research on noise pollution is indicating that it causes more deaths than heart disease.

Clearly our present transport arrangements are daily becoming more and more injurious to the health of the people. However despite this visible reality, when it comes to planning transport and investing in the sector we consistently neglect the needs of such people. In fact, we manage to do worse than simply neglect.

Let's take an example: the current debate in India on an “engineering marvel” in Mumbai city – a sea bridge of 4.7Km length costing approx 366 million USD. This bridge is fully “access controlled” and prevents the movement of pedestrians, cyclists, two and three wheelers in the heart of the city.

Instead of making the systems “barrier free and accessible to all”, we in fact treat disadvantaged people as barriers to mobility and thus set out to make the system “free from such barriers”. This is our public policy.

There is something seriously wrong with a system which invests huge resources on physical infrastructure, and which isolates the victims from the beneficiaries and impoverishes them in the process.

This unfortunate trend is duplicated in many other Asian countries which prevent the growth of non motorized transport under the pretext of “fighting congestion”.

Another worrisome trend is the exploitation of land by improving its value by such infrastructure, which makes the poor citizens refugee migrants in their own cities. They are obliged continuously to migrate inside city from one place to another in search of cheaper housing, thereby imposing upon themselves sacrifices of transport , time and quality of life.

Worse, many cities in our poorer countries have transport systems which are “gender insensitive” -- which creates inequalities in the society by preventing the employment accessibility by offering them limited accessibility.

Transport Refugees constitute such people who are often made “invisible” when we plan, execute and finance transport systems.



# # #

For more discussion of transport refugees, click here to http://cai-asia.blogspot.com/2009/07/transport-refugees-victims-of-unjust.html

About the authors:
Bert Fabian has worked on transport and environmental issues in the last 10 years and has been with the CAI-Asia Center for 7 years. He enjoys the outdoors and cycling in his spare time.

Sudhir Gota – a former highway designer has abandoned designing roads to work on sustainable transportation issues. He enjoys doing research.

Both are from Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities

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Thoughts on a shared bike project in the UK: Part I

A newspaper article generally critical of the new bikeshare scheme in Bristol UK cites the city's abundant hills and a general absence of bikes and stations as obstacles to success. We decided to publish the original piece (fair use) here, and then invite the team responsible for the project to state their case. What is actually going on in Bristol?

A Paris-style bicycle scheme in Bristol? Now there's an uphill slog

* Click here for Guardian article by John Crace of Tuesday, 22 July 2009.

On a rainy morning, few takers for country's first citywide ride-and-go plan:

It's a miserable morning in the centre of Bristol. The rain is tipping down and only a halfwit would think of hiring a bike in this weather. So count me in.

Ride-and-go cycle schemes are a familiar part of the cityscape on mainland Europe. Barcelona, Amsterdam, Paris and Berlin all have well-established cycle networks, but somehow Britain has always rather lagged behind.

There are small local schemes in Southport, Cardiff, Hammersmith and Fulham, in London, and only yesterday Blackpool's opened for business. But the closest we have to a whole-city scheme is in Bristol – Britain's first designated Cycle City – where Hourbike operates with some support from the council.

The deal is straightforward. You register for a one-off fee of £10 and for that you get a code that lets you turn up to one of the cycle hubs and ride a bike. The first half-hour is free, any time over that works out at about £1 a hour (the idea is to undercut local car parking charges) and you can return the bike to any of the hubs dotted around the city.

Through the drizzle, I punch in the code, the electromagnetic lock is released and I have control of Daniel. The bikes all have names which are cuter than the cycles themselves because they are on the streets 24/7 and the idea is to make them solid and anonymous so that people don't nick them.

So Daniel and I are ready but where to go for a test cycle? There are three other hubs in the centre and a couple more on the edge of the city near the University of the West of England, but I've no idea exactly where as there isn't a map. Never mind. Andy, the street cleaner, should be able to help out. "There's one outside the Royal Infirmary," he says, "but I can't say I've seen anyone using the bikes at either place." Are you round this way often? "Every day".

So I head off to hospital and soon discover another reason – apart from the weather – why no else is on a hire bike: it's almost impossible to go anywhere in Bristol without going up a hill (I wonder if I'll see any locals with colossal Tour de France-style muscled thighs). At the infirmary there's a couple of bikes corralled at the hub, but still no sign of riders. Jim, a hospital technician, says he has never seen one.

There's a bus stop next to the hub and no sign of a bus. Jo has been waiting for at least 10 minutes. Would she fancy a go on a bike? "It sounds like a good idea," she says, "but I don't think so."

But it's all downhill from here. "Maybe another time."

I cycle round aimlessly for a while longer looking for another Hourbike but then reckon enough's enough and tie Danny up for the day and head home.

It's still early days. There are large parts of the city that still aren't covered, though the bigger problem is winning punters' hearts and minds. Tim Caswell, the managing director of Hourbike, which started the Bristol scheme earlier this year, refuses to be discouraged. "We've got about 300 people registered so far," he says. "And with the help of the council we're looking to increase the number of hubs and bikes so we've got most of the city covered. This is the way forward and we are committed to it."

Getting it right is easier said than done. You can't really pilot them by sticking a couple of bikes in the centre of town and hoping for the best, because people won't see the point. It's only when the full infrastructure is in place that it works. So you've got to be prepared to invest – and so far, especially with local government feeling the pinch, councils have tended to play safe by doing nothing.

"There's a tendency to think there's only one model," said Phillip Darnton, who chairs Cycling England, an independent body set up by the government to promote pedal power. "Not everything has to be on the scale of the Paris Velib or TfL's proposals for London. These are both large schemes aimed at significantly reducing commuter congestion: towns such as Southport, which has also just opened a cycle-hire scheme, are looking more to recreate the ambience of the seaside town, so they need something much less intensive."

Even so, Britain does not have the best track record when it comes to promoting cycling. A bike hire scheme in Cheltenham has just closed and the London mayor, Boris Johnson, has managed to get on the wrong side of several councils with his plan to tear up several of their car parking bays to install cycle hubs and rob them of some revenue – so there's still a lot of politicking to be done before London comes on stream.

So how come we're so rubbish at cycle schemes and mainland Europe has been so successful? "It's partly cultural," said Marie, a Paris resident. "Cycling is seen as normal in France, whereas in Britain it's often more about macho types in Lycra. But it's also because people are less afraid of cycling in Paris because our drivers are so much better than yours." Now there's a thought.

# # #

* Click here for reader comments to Guardian article. If you are interested in bike sharing or bikes in cities for that matter, these diverse voices make an interesting read.

* And here for the Hourbike promotional video

Next: We will now invite Tim Caswell, the managing director of Hourbike, the group responsible for this project, along with the city of course who are in fact the owner of this project, to hear what he has to say about the project and more generally his views of bikesharing in Britain, including perhaps why thus far the UK has lagged well behind the first tier countries.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

W/S August Dialogue: Italy and Nuova Mobilità

The idea of taking a central theme for an entire month of focused collaborative dialogue is working out quite nicely with the choice of carsharing as our July topic showing the way. With not quite two weeks left to "complete" this first series of exchanges, we are now gearing up for the rest of the year. Next stop on World Streets 2009: Italy and Nuova Mobilità. Benvenuti a tutti.

Here is the provisional list of topics to which we propose to give particular attention in the monthly focus sessions over the remainder of this year - subject to your feedback and advisory comments.

1. New mobility in Italy (August)
2. Sustainable transport in Africa: What next? (Sept.)
3. Public Bicycle Systems: World developments and planning (October)
4. Climate emergency: The role sustainable transport (November)
5. Women in Transport: Necessary pattern breaks (Dec.)

Other topics waiting in the wings for 2010: quite a long list at the top of which, again subject to your ideas and feedback, are: China, Green shared taxis, BRT, planning for the uban poor, and new mobility strategies for rural and suburban areas.

World Streets will of course be publishing day after day interesting and useful articles on all these topics and many others as outstanding projects and topics are brought to our attention by our Sentinels and other international collaborators. None of us can afford to wait; the climate emergency demands immediate and sharp action. Which requires information and then knowledge. And that is where World Streets comes in.

Next stop on World Streets: Italy and Nuova Mobilità.


The reasons for giving this collaborative Italian project early priority are three-fold: (a) Its usefulness to fill a gap as a trusted neutral Italian language source with one-click links to information and perspective on the full range of leading new mobility developments worldwide. (b) Our good fortune in finding an Italian team willing to work with us on a volunteer basis for the half year or so it is going to take to get it off the ground. And finally (c) the way in which we hope that, in time and with work, the Italian project will develop into a first-cut technical and organizational template ready to aid other language/country versions to follow in the year ahead.

1. New Mobility for Italian readers

Italy provides an interesting and in many ways quite typical example of how the diverse strands that we call sustainable transport or new mobility are (or are not) being woven together to create better transport and better cities within a country or language area. Now as you will be seeing, the new mobility concept is in fact gradually taking hold in Italy, but it is still very much in a minority position and when implemented for the most part occurs on a project by project basis -- and only here and there with a broader unifying strategy. On this last score there is still plenty of room for progress. (But to be perfectly frank, there are few places in the world which have thus far really started to put all the pieces together.)

Italy has a strong claim for immediate treatment on the grounds that we have had the good fortune to collaborate there with Italian colleagues lead by Enrico Bonfatti who showed up fully bilingual, understanding the underlying concepts and ready to get to work on them. Over the last two months we have worked with them day by day to lay a base for the first World Streets’ spin-off, Nuova Mobilità, which you can now visit, work with and profit from at http://nuovamobilita.blogspot.com/

Nuova Mobilità has two functions within Italy:

Window on sustainable transport in the world:
First, to provide a window on the world of new mobility for those Italian readers who are more comfortable working in their own language. To do this, the editorial team selects daily articles from World Streets and other sources which they feel will be of particular interest to the Italian reader. They then both translate and adapt them for the Italian context, with adjustments and contextual information to make them more informative for the Italian reader in search of new ideas, leads and approaches.

Window on sustainable transport in Italy:
But Nuova Mobilità also has an important “internal” function within Italy as well, namely that of providing a central information and exchange point for outstanding projects and programs, and problems and barriers inhibiting change, that are going on in various cities and parts of the peninsula. There are a number of programs and web sites already active in the sector in various places, but most of these focus on a specific problem or approach -- for example cycling, public transport, carsharing, school transport, climate issues, environmental concerns more generally, for specific cities, etc.-- Nuova Mobilità can serve as a valuable clearing house function, with its global/local orientation.

Editorial independence:
Like World Streets, Nuova Mobilità retains complete independence in terms of editorial content and the views expressed. Moreover, the program is informed by a consistent set of guiding principles which you will find spelled out in the Mission Statement.

2. Nuova Mobilità: Template for future country/language editions:

One of the main potential contributions of Nuova Mobilità is that it is put before you not as a plan or a promise, but as an operational working entity already in place and there to serve as a pioneer and concrete example for other country/language editions. Of course it can be improved in many ways, including technically, and that is part of the task of both the Italian team and the collaborators at World Streets. But Nuova Mobilità exists, it is there, it works, and it is already in place to perform valuable functions.

It is our view that despite the enormous reach of the internet and the availability of ever-better (and free) machine translation services, native language coverage is needed by many people in many places. The reality is that it is not all that easy reading every day in a second or third language. Most of us do best working in our mother tongue. The task of full and rapid comprehension of a fair body of materials that come in day after day, already difficult enough for most topics, becomes even more challenging in a new area such as this which continuously brings in many new, less familiar concepts, and along with them a new and fast-evolving vocabulary, thus adding yet another level of complexity to the challenge of understanding what is really going on.

Thus it is our firm intention to find other language/country partners to work with them to build on the Italian example which can be exported in its entirety to serve as a sort of first-stage template for future language/country editions.

To this end, we are already in preliminary discussion with eventual Spanish, French and German language partners the possibility of building on this example with new dedicated websites and supporting programs in the months ahead. But the list of countries and languages of course need not end there. Nor should it.

# # #

For more information on Nuova Mobilità:
Contact: Enrico Bonfatti, editor@nuovamobilita.org
http://nuovamobilita.org
Skype: nouva.mobilita
Mission statement: http://nuovamobilita.blogspot.com/2009/06/nuova-mobilita-mission.html

To read Nuova Mobilità in bare bones but pretty workable machine translation into English: http://tinyurl.com/ws-nm-english

# # #

Now all that remains is for us to hear from you on these and possibly other candidate topics. For that you may wish to click the Comment link just below.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

New Series: How can Streets save the world auto industry?

The world automotive industry churns out new cars, buses and trucks at a clip of about 70 million vehicles per year. And whatever the difficulties facing certain manufacturers in countries and regions in which they are located, and whatever may be your personal preferences, it is not about to go away. What can World Streets do to help?

For starters we can tell you about the streets, the very place in which all those vehicles you design and produce have to make their way. And if you tune in here you will see that the world's streets are changing fast, and in their new life they are very different from the ones that you planned for and cohabited with in the past. It will be important for you now to dig very deep to have a sophisticated understanding of what the streets of the (very near) future are going to look like. Because that's where your product and your business is going to make it, or break. And the winners will be the first ones out of the gate.

Cars, buses and trucks are part of our mobility future. In addition to the new ones that are coming in at that healthy deca-million clip, we currently "enjoy" an inventory on the order of not far from one billion motor vehicles of all types and sizes in various parts of our gasping planet, not including, famously, the rising swarm of motorized two wheelers that are baffling planners and policy makers in cities around the world.

Of course 99 out of 100 of these vehicles burn fossil fuels, and most of them not very efficiently at that. The environmental and climate implications of this cocktail are of course enormous.

But, like it or not, motorized automobiles are part of our future and thus it would be cosmically silly to turn our back on them for reasons of personal preference or hopes that they might just go away.

For this reason the realities of automobiles, including the ways in which they are designed, produced, marketed, packaged, paid for, owned, used, and eventually disposed of are a very important component of the New Mobility Agenda. It is thus our intention to give this our full attention, and as of next week we will begin to post the first articles in this important series.

A hoped-for dialogue and synthesis between old and new mobility. Stay tuned. Better yet, jump in and be a part of it.

Share your ideas with the editor here via editor@worldstreets.org.

Thanks to http://strangenewsnow.blogspot.com/2008_06_01_archive.html for the original of our well tempered image above.


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