Monday, November 30, 2009

November 2009: This month on World Streets
Sustainable transportation on the run-up to Copenhagen.

Another busy month on World Streets -- with 10,468 visitors (roughly the average for the last several months) dropping in to pick up and at least scan a total of 20 new articles, touching on such exotic topics as politicians who can't count, heavy car lobbying by the divine Veronica Moss, lessons on how to honk to drive people off of the street, and above all a series of ideas and reports to see how we all might find a way to put COP15 to work for sustainable transport, sustainable cities, and sustainable lives (the other half of the Copenhagen coin admittedly, the people side). World Streets is there are making the voices of sustainable transportation heard. Join us and support World Streets, one of a kind.

One full month of World Streets in one click:

* Click here to directly address on-line November postings

* And here for the PDF covering the full month.

Who is reading Streets these days?

And here you can see where the last eighty visitors came from. Our typical pattern, with those huge white swaths in Africa and the former Soviet Union counties. That said, things are heating up nicely in China, Taiwan, and much of South-east Asia. Stay tuned.

Join in: Do your bit for our cities and our planet
Would you like to propose an article , topic or author for the November edition? If so, don't hesitate to contact our editor. And oh yes, we answer out mail.

Paying our bills:

We have not yet found the sponsorship needed to keep the journal afloat in 2010. The situation is very tough, so if you would like help us brainstorm on this or otherwise help us, please get in touch. I am sure that with energetic collaboration we will solve this problem and go on to do better yet in 2010. I kind of think the planet needs us. And I hope you agree. Don't be shy now. Get in touch. Lend a hand, this thing is heavy. And after all, it's your planet.

Eric Britton, Editor
* editor@newmobiltiy.org * Tel: +331 4326 1323 *Skype: newmobility.<

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1. 2. 3. World Streets quick search update:
Making the universe just a bit smaller and more manageable

It's a huge world out there and when you are looking for something that relates to the interests that bring us together here, Google is a wonderful tool. However even with careful use of key words, it often can be a source of confusion, given the very large number of things that it inevitably dredges up. With this in mind, we have set up three levels of more defined search that you may find of interest.

But first a quick intro: What is this?

The following is perhaps more understandable if we take a moment to put it into its broader context. Let's try:

World Streets tries hard to serve four important, rather different functions as a motor, all for, as we incessantly say, sustainable transport, sustainable cities, and sustainable lives. They include:

1. Journal: Daily source of information, stimulation and perspective

2. Resource: A world wide resource on sustainable transport and all that relates to it.

3. Collaborator. Ready and able to put people and expertise together to support projects and programs setting out to be the best.

4. Lobby: A driving force for the sustainable transport renaissance that our cities and planet so critically need and deserve.

The following is an example of how we try to serve that Resource responsibility.

The Three Search Engines:

1. Search World Streets content:
This first and most tightly defined search engine - looking specifically and uniquely at the content of World Streets since its first edition on 2 March 2009. You will find it just to your left (scroll down a bit), and if you pop in your search term it will call up the result in the main frame right here. Very handy.

2. World Streets: Key Sources, Links and Blogs:
This is second and considerably more inclusive search engine starts with your key words and then scans the full content of the growing list of carefully selected specialized programs, sources and blogs with whom World Streets has created working links. There are presently (as of 30 Nov. 2009) something like 176 such linked sources, and you can then with a single click scan their entire content from the second search box to your left.

3. New Mobility Knowledge Environment (Knoogle): This is more ambitious yet and is the result of a joint research project with a group at the University of Michigan, in which we created a new combined search engine that presently scans (at last count) 937 carefully selected sources. (A bit more on Knoogle will be found below. For the full story go to http://www.knoogle.newmobility.org/

If you are planning a trip or starting out on a new topic for research or a media piece, this can be a handy way to get started.

More on Knoogle New Mobility
The origins of the Knoogle project (KNOwledge + goOGLE) was a concern that while there are a growing number of capable programs and organizations working on the same important problems of transport, environment and climate that concern us here, we were seeing quite a bit of "silo-ing" of information and effort. Perhaps to be expected given the natural tendency of human beings and groups to be attached to and protective of what they see as their "turf", however in the present dire circumstances a very real threat to both better understanding of the challenges and of our ability to get together to create strong and informed consensuses for change.

Knoogle New Mobility 1.2 is the second iteration of a power search engine under development by the New Mobility Agenda in cooperation with the SMART program of the University of Michigan, and specifically tailored to help policy makers, local government, researchers, NGOs, activists, consultants, concerned citizens and the media keep up efficiently with the work and activities of the leading international groups, programs and sources leading the field of sustainable transport and sustainable cities worldwide.

We invite you to test Knoogle to view the results of a quick unified scan based on your selected key words, combing through more than one thousand carefully selected institutions, programs and sources that we view as leading the way in their work and competence in our heavily challenged sector world-wide. (And if you want to reach beyond your initial Knoogle datadump, you are only a keystroke away from a full database search.)

Knoogle developed as part of a project is getting underway in which we are looking into ways to create tighter linkages and better coordination between the fast expanding number of programs and agencies that are concerned with issues of sustainable transportation, climate, environment, etc. For full background on this project in process click to http://www.knowledge.newmobility.org And if you wish to get involved or contribute in any way please get in touch.

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Map: Who is reading World Streets where today?

* * Click map for higher definition version * *

The above map reports the last eighty locations checking into World Streets on the indicated date.

The last time we looked at the records we saw that World Streets was being picked up by readers in: Abu Dhabi, Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada Chile, China, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dubai, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Korea, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey Uganda, United Kingdom, United States, Vietnam.

Nice!

But just in case we are suffering from a bad dose of hubris, here is a list of the places in which, to the best of our knowledge, Streets had NOT yet been read or at least downloaded from here:

Afghanistan, Albania, American Samoa, Andorra, Angola, Anguilla, Antarctica, Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Aruba, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bermuda, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Cayman Islands, Central African Republic, Chad, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Comoros, Congo, Republic of (Brazzaville), Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cuba, Cyprus, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, East Timor Timor-Leste, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Gibraltar, Greenland, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guam, Guatemala, Guernsey, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Heard and Mc Donald Islands, Holy See, Honduras, Iraq, Ireland, Isle of Man, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Jersey, Jordan, Kiribati, Korea, Democratic People's Rep. (North Korea), Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Martinique, Mauritania, Mayotte, Micronesia, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Montserrat, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Burma, Nauru, Netherlands Antilles, New Caledonia, Nicaragua, Niger, Niue, Norfolk Island, Northern Mariana Islands, Oman, Palau, Palestinian National Authority, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Pitcairn Island, Qatar, Reunion Island, Romania, Rwanda, Saint Helena, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Príncipe, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, Sri Lanka, St. Pierre and Miquelon, Sudan, Suriname, Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands, Swaziland, Syria, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Tibet, Timor-Leste (East Timor), Togo, Tokelau, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Turks and Caicos Islands, Tuvalu, U.S. Minor Outlying Islands, Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Vatican City State (Holy See), Venezuela, Virgin Islands (British), Virgin Islands (U.S.), Wallis and Futuna Islands, Western Sahara, Yemen, Zaire, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Hmm, a round 173 countries. To us this serves as an eloquent reminder of all the work that needs still to be done.

And what do they read about when they come here:
Bicycles. Bicycle sharing. Bike/Transit Integration. Bus Rapid Transit. Buses. Car diets. Car free days. Car Free Planning. Car rental. Carpooling. Carsharing. Community Buses. Demand Responsive Transit. Digital Hitchhiking. DRT. Dynamic risesharing. Enforcement. Flextime. Free Public Transport. Full cost pricing. Green driving. Green parking. Hail & Ride. Hitchhiking. HOV Strategies. Infrastructure, Integrated Fare Systems. Jitneys. Land Use. Lane diets. Leading by example. Level playing field tax/write-off policies. Light rail. Media. Mini/Midi Bus. Mixed Use. Multi-modal strategies. New Mobility HUBs. Paratransit. Public Bicycle Systems. Public spaces. Ride Sharing. Road architecture. Road diets. Road pricing. School projects. Share taxis. Shuttle Services. Slugging. Small Bus Systems. SOV Strategies. Space sharing. Speed Reductions. Street Codes. Street Reclaiming. Street sharing. Tax policy. Taxis. Telecommuting. Telework. TDM. TOD. Traffic calming. Transit Encouragement. Transit malls. Transit Priorities. Universal design. Value Capture. Vanpooling. Vehicle Virtual HOV Use Restrictions. Walk to School. Walking. Workplace sharing. xTransit.

But when you boil it down at the end of the day, this all comes to SHARING in transport: gets us there best and fastest, great for our pocket book, good for neighborliness, and a lease on life for our poor planet.

Check it out at World Share/Transport Forum at www.ShareTransport.org .

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PS. Your editor is updating the above as reader reminders come in.


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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Transportation Majority. Can't politicians count?

Public transport? Cycling? Walking? Car pooling? Car sharing? Stuck at home? Elderly? Handicapped? Spend my hard-earned money for them? Bah! Who needs it? Why bother if it's just for a few marginal people? Let's concentrate on the big problems, those of the majority of people. Us drivers and our cars. We are the transportation majority.

In the world of human mobility there is, as it turns out, no one "big problem". And hence no big solutions. There is, for better or worse, just an ever-changing confluence of a very large number of different problems, different people, different desires, different daily life realities, different needs, different constraints, different priorities, different possibilities, and different decisions. And different actions. And different consequences.

The old mobility vision of society is essentially one of striding workers, with secure jobs, fixed hours, well defined trips, leaping into their car and then buckling up for "safe driving". Very nice.

All of whom well served by our "normal transportation arrangements", that is the huge and hugely expansive infrastructure that we continue to build and repair to support automotive transportation (and those largely empty cars).

Something like eighty percent of the local transportation funding in most cities of the world goes for that car-supporting infrastructure: roads, bridges, cloverleafs, tunnels, supporting elections, policing, accident prevention, and the long list goes on. Life is sweet.

Then there are "the rest", among them: the old, disabled, poor, rural, etc., etc. And of course the poor old disabled rural.

They too of course need to be catered to as well. Fair enough. Let's give them a bit here and a bit there too. But most of our hard-earned tax money is still going to be spent on providing high quality mobility arrangements for "normal people". That's right, isn't it?

Sorry but no, it's not at all right. It is in fact 100% wrong. It is wrong because it is grossly unfair and uncivil. And beyond that, it is also based on a false precept. Why?

Because that splendid vision of society with thee and me at the wheel with the wind blowing through our golden hair, simply does not jibe with reality. It never did in the past, and as our societies age it increasingly is absurdly contrary to reality. Here is the surprise, the kicker:

The "transportation majority" is not what most people think, transportation planners and policy makers among them.

The transportation majority are all those of us who increasingly are poorly served by the mainline, no-choice, car-based truncated service arrangements that eat up most of our taxpayer money and take away our choices. And each year, as our populations age this majority grows in numbers.

Here is a generic short-list of the people who make up this till-now all too silent majority:

1. Everyone in your city, country or electorate who does not have a car

2. Everyone who cannot drive

3. Everyone who cannot afford to own and operate a car of their own (And remember that costs a lot of after-tax money)

4. Everyone who should not drive (for reasons of a variety of impediments such as limitations associated with age, psychological state , , , ,)

5. Everyone who lives in a large city and for reasons of density, public health and quality of city life needs to have access to a non-car mobility system

6. Everyone who would in fact prefer to get around by walking, cycling or some form of shared transport who cannot safely or readily do so, because all the money is being spent on the car-based system which is fundamentally, and financially, incompatible with these "softer" and more healthy ways of getting around

7. Everyone who suffers from some form of impairment that makes driving or even access to traditional public transit difficult or impossible

8. Everyone who cannot responsibly take the wheel at any given time (fatigue, distraction, nervousness, some form of intoxication. . . )

9. All those who are today isolated and unable to participate in the life of our communities fully because they simply do not have a decent way to get around.

10. And -- don't lose sight of this! – in a few years you!

How do we work our way out of this? Simple, get out there and vote!

Vote for mayors, counselors and legislators who are ready to work for the transportation majority.

Vote for mayors, counselors and legislators who are ready to join the transportation majority and get to work and around their city by public transport, walking, bicycle, carpool, or carsharing. Or better yet some combination all of the above.

And don't vote for the other guys.

They will get your message.

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Editor's note:

Several of our readers have pointed out that while this may be interesting, the only way to make the point is to put numbers to it. Exactly! But this has to be done on a place by place basis, so one can hope that this will be done and that we shall be seeing the results of this important metric here and in many other places.


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Monday, November 23, 2009

Who is minding the store?
Activity at the leading edge of climate/transport nexus

To ensure the maintenance of a first class reference base for World Streets, it is important to ensure we are able to track the main sources of ideas and initiatives in the domains what are our concerns here – the challenging nexus of climate, environment, transport, cities, etc. Just below you have the current listing of groups and sources currently tracked here. Would you mind having a look and seeing if we are missing anything that should be included in our shared database?

I should mention that all of these sites are covered by several of our search engines, which you can see on the menu, Thus if you click our combined search engine here -- http://www.google.com/cse/home?cx=004787970323652826430%3Atpdfz_gy3b8 – you will find that your keywords are directed to scan the content of all of these sites. A handy way to follow progress and concerns at the leading edge.

Thank you for letting us know if there are programs, sources and sites that need to be added to this listing. It is for us all.

1. Active Transportation Alliance
2. African Community Access Programme (AFCAP)
3. Alliance for Biking & Walking
4. Association for European Transport
5. Bakfiets Cycle News
6. Better Transport (UK)
7. Bicycle Design
8. Bicycle Fixation
9. Bicycle Partnership Program
10. Bike-sharing Blog
11. Brazilian Pedestrian Association
12. Brookings Institute - Metro
13. C40 - Large Cities Climate Leadership
14. California Center for Innovative Transportation
15. Campaign for Better Transport
16. Carsharing US
17. Center for Neighborhood Technology
18. Centre for Science and Environment
19. China Dialogue
20. Cities for Mobility
21. CitiesACT (Asia)
22. Citistates Group
23. City CarShare
24. City Fix
25. City Mayors
26. CityRyde (USA)
27. Ciudad Viva
28. CIVITAS
29. Clean Air Initiative (CAI)
30. Climate Alliance of European Cities
31. Climate ark
32. Clinton Climate Initiative
33. Community Transportation Association of America
34. Copenhagenize.com
35. CROW - Technology Platform for Transport & Public space
36. ELTIS
37. ELTIS case studies
38. Embarq - Center for Sustainable Transport
39. Embarq - WRI
40. Energie-Cités
41. Energy Foundation China.org
42. EPOMM - European Platform on Mobility Management
43. EUROCITIES mobility
44. European Federation for Transport & Environmen
45. Feet First.
46. Flexibility.co.uk
47. Forum for the future
48. Friends of the Earth (Transport)
49. Frixo traffic reporting
50. Gehl architects.
51. Global Alliance for EcoMobility
52. Global Environment & Technology Foundation
53. global Transport Knowledge Partnership
54. Go For Green
55. Google maps bike there
56. Gotham Gazette
57. Green 2009
58. Green car congress.
59. Greenstreet Sweden
60. Grist
61. GTZ
62. Guardian-Transport/Environment
63. I Bike T.O.
64. I Walk to School
65. IBSR - L'Institut Belge pour la Sécurité Routière
66. IEEE
67. IFRTD
68. INRETS (France)
69. International Downtown Association
70. International Federation of Pedestrians (IFP)
71. International Transport Forum
72. International Walk to School
73. ITDP - China (photo library)
74. ITDP - Institute for Transportation & Development Policy -
75. Japan for Sustainability (JFS)
76. Key NewMob definitions
77. Knoogle combined search of all following blogs and sources
78. KonSULT
79. Land Transport Authority - Singapore
80. Livable City
81. Livable Streets Network
82. MindsinMotion.net
83. Mobility Magazine (South Africa)
84. Network Musings
85. New Economics Foundation
86. News from Amsterdam
87. Next American City
88. One Street
89. Oxford Transport Network
90. Pan Africa Bicycle Information Network
91. Parisar (India)
92. Partners for Public Spaces (PPS) i
93. Perils for Pedestrians
94. Planetizen
95. Polis
96. Practical cyclist Blog
97. Prevention Institute
98. Reconnecting America
99. Regional Community Development News
100. Reinventing Transport
101. Safe Kids
102. Safe Routes to School
103. Shared Space.Institute
104. Shrinking Cities
105. Sightline Institute
106. SMART - Inspire Mobility
107. Smart growth america
108. Smart Growth Online
109. Social Data
110. Spokes.org.uk
111. STPP
112. Street-Films
113. Streets Alive
114. Streetsblog (NYC)
115. Sustainable Cities Net
116. Sustainable Connections
117. Sustainable Development Gateway
118. Sustainable Energy Africa
119. Sustainable Urban Transport Project
120. Sustran - Global South Forum
121. The Commons
122. The Idea Factory
123. The Nation - Transportation
124. The PEP - Transport, Health & Environmen
125. the transport politic
126. Tne Infrastructurist
127. Transaid
128. Transition Towns
129. Transport Research Knowledge Centre
130. Transportation Alternatives
131. Transumo
132. Treehugger-transportation
133. UITP
134. UN Division for Sustainable Development (DSD)
135. Urbamet
136. Urban Buzz
137. Urban Design
138. Urban Design and Planning
139. Urban Land Institute
140. Urban places and spaces
141. Urban Transport Issues Asia
142. Urban Trransportation Monitor
143. Value Capture News
144. Velo Mondial
145. Victoria Transport Policy Institute
146. Virginia Tech Transportation Institute
147. Walk & Bike for Life
148. Walk to School (UK)
149. Walking School Bus
150. Wash Cycle
151. Where
152. WHO - Transport and Health
153. Wiki on Sustainable Transportation
154. Wikipedia entry (for comment)
155. WiserEarth (WE)
156. World Business Council for Sustainable Development
157. World Changing
158. World Resources Forum
159. World Resources Institute
160. Worldwatch Institute
161. Wuppertal Institute


One of our respected colleagues who had a look at this listing over the weekend, suggested that it might do well to be pared down a bit. What we are looking for is not every sits on the block that is looking into these matters for their specific local or limited purposes, but rather the programs that are reaching out to find information an clues that will be valuable to researchers, activists ,and policy makers wishing to stay on top of the key developments and trends world wide.


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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

Speakers
• 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

Participants
• 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 - http://www.gardenvilla.com.tw/eng/index.php

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 www.kaohsiung.sharetransport.org.

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
Susanlin0823@gmail.com 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
rory.mcmullan@ptrc-training.co.uk 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
eric.britton@newmobility.org Tel. +331 4326 1323 Skype: newmobility

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Guest editorial: What to do when public transportation fails

Recently the city of Philadelphia, experienced a six day long strike by the local transit authority, SEPTA. Subways and buses stopped operating only hours before the Monday morning rush hour leaving workers scrambling for alternative modes of transportation to get to the office.

- Submitted by Timothy Ericson, CityRyde, Philidelphia, PA USA

The strike also left many school aged children stranded and unable to attend classes. Even non-transit riders were frustrated with huge increases in vehicular traffic on all of the city’s roads and hiways. During the strike period, bicycle ridership skyrocketed in Philadelphia as it was the only option for many commuters to reach their destinations. The strike forced many residents to view the bicycle as a primary form of transportation.

Paris, France had a similar scenario back in October of 2007 when their transit workers went on strike. However Paris commuters had an option that Philadelphia commuters did not, they have a bike sharing system. Vélib’, one of the largest bike sharing systems in the world, experienced a tremendous increased in ridership during this strike. According to a New York Times article, Vélib’ trips almost doubled to 175,000 trips a day, and this was still before the system was completely installed throughout the city. City officials even installed temporary stations throughout the city to try and curb the demand. Although many Parisians complained that bicycles were not available, they were lucky to have a bike sharing system available to them when the city was paralyzed.

During Philadelphia’s transit strike CityRyde had the opportunity to demonstrate to city commuters a fully functional bike sharing system during the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia’s “Bike the Strike” event. (CityRyde would like to send a special thank you to all of the staff members of the Coalition who put together the event and allowed CityRyde to demonstrate along side them.) CityRyde’s CEO and co-founder was quoted in a Philadelphia Inquirer article saying, “Bike sharing has transformed cities around the world, and we’re hoping to do the same thing in Philadelphia.” Besides showing people “there are other options out there,” today’s demo of the idea was timed “to help push it along in the City Hall,” Ericson said.

This is a wake up call to cities all over the world to look into alternative forms of transportation. Bike sharing gives residents and visitors freedom to move throughout cities on an environmental friendly, cost effective bike sharing bicycle.

CityRyde demonstrated the Samba system which is currently deployed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

IMG00130-20091104-1638
Thanks,

Timothy Ericson
CEO and Co-Founder
CityRyde, Bike Sharing Experts
3225 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
USA: +1.215.475.5224 x200
Fax: +1.215.475.5011
E: tjericson@cityryde.com
www.cityryde.com
www.sparkmobility.com

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Honk! Ms. Veronica Moss loves cars more than people too.
(And she is not afraid to say so.)

In the interest of fairness, now that you have heard from a high source about how best to deal with all those common people getting in your way in India's crowded streets, you now have a chance to spend a few minutes with Ms. Veronica Moss, who has some points to make about the dangers of ceding valuable public space to ordinary people in the middle of New York City.

Just in today from our friends at StreetFilms in New York. In their words:

Veronica Moss Visits Times Square

by Clarence Eckerson, Jr. on November 16, 2009 |

She's back! The woman you love to hate (and hate not to love) Veronica Moss, a Washington, D.C. lobbyist for the Automobile User Trade Organization (A.U.T.O.) In this "chapter", she's getting her first gander ever at the new pedestrian-friendly Times Square and she invited Streetfilms along to record her virgin journey.

Naturally since she advocates for cars for a living with her every breath, her viewpoints are bound to rankle some of those in the livable streets camp. Here are a few splendiferous musings as she reminisced about the "old" Times Square - where visitors "had to fight" for every last inch of space:

• "Pedestrians are cystic acne on the teenage forehead of this city."

• "I used to feel this wonderful sense of being totally overwhelmed and being displaced when I walked through Times Square. And that's how it should feel."

Of course, that's nothing new for Ms. Moss, who first appeared on StreetFilms a few months ago in an "exclusive" interview -- http://www.streetfilms.org/meet-veronica-moss-auto-lobbyist -- to let us know how she feels about cyclists and pedestrians.

# # #

Veronica will do well as a member of the hurried moneyed class in India as well as in NYC. Somebody send her a ticket.

The editor

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Honk! Quite incredible they would fall for this.
(More on anti-social advertising in old mobility)

It is a rare day when anyone gets the matters which concern us all here quite as wrong as our friends from Bosch have it here. (One of a series of particularly egregious advertising abuses on the part of certain old mobility purveyors who just do not seem to be able to resist the temptation.)

From: Rutul Joshi, CEPT University, Ahmedabad
Sent: Sunday, 15 November, 2009 10:09
Subject: Bosch Horn commercial

A few days ago some enthusiasts in Ahmedabad initiated the 'no honking day' in the city. While some people are trying hard to make such initiatives a success, the TV commercials preach something else all together.



This TV commercial 'promotes' honking as a powerful way to ease 'congestion'! From start to the end - this commercial has all the possible wrong elements.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnzJFp6tfKU

A majority of the roads in metro cities in India have noise pollution levels above 80 decibels. Shouldn't such commercials be banned?

Rutul Joshi,
Lecturer, Faculty of Planning and Public Policy,
CEPT University, Ahmedabad - 380 009.
Contact: +91-79-26302470-134(ext.) Mob: +91-99240 76451
www.spcept.ac.in

# # #

In truth we take little pleasure to point the finger at someone like Bosch who are, who should definitely be, part of the solution to sustainable transport with their world level technology skills and industrial base.

But there are times when only your best friends will tell you. So, ahem! Dear Bosch. Don't you really think . . . ?

The editor

PS. And I am pretty sure that there is someone back at Bosch headquarters in Stuttgart who is not at all happy about this.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

World leaders in Singapore back off from COP15 targets.
Now what?

This is at least a double tragedy: a tragedy for our planet, and a tragedy for our ability to govern ourselves wisely. And in all this, the concept of sustainable transport is also a victim -- because the linkage of transportation system reform to climate considerations is just about the most powerful argument for rapid change we have.


----------------------------------------
Singapore, Nov. 15 (UPI) -- World leaders in Singapore backed off Saturday from a goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by roughly half by 2050.

Instead, leaders at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting approved a preliminary climate-change document that eliminated targets for emissions cuts.

A first draft of the document had called for a 50 percent drop from 1990 levels of greenhouse emissions by 2050, The Times of London said.

But that language was removed and the document was revised to say "we believe that global emissions will need to peak over the next few years, and be substantially reduced by 2050, recognizing that the time frame for peaking will be longer in developing economies.

Source: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/International/2009/11/15/UPI-NewsTrack-TopNews/UPI-33931258291186/

# # #

Now what?

Well, no one can say that we here at World Streets are really surprised. We have over the last months -- as the record amply shows here: http://tinyurl.com/ws-COP15 -- persistently and perhaps at times irritatingly warned of just this, and tried to do what we can to spark this debate and tighten the transport/climate link. Which is after all a very real one, and one which we can do something about.

Look, you and I know a couple of important truths in all this: The transport sector represents something like twenty percent of the GHG problem. And beyond that, the reality is – if you are prepared to dig deep -- that ours is the sector that is probably most amenable to mnassive rapid change. Because we know exactly what we need to do – drive down the quantum of mechanized travel (VMT/VKT) with impacting negatively on either quality of life or the economy.

And that is a challenge of the politics of transportation and behind that leadership and communication. That's all there is to it. How complicated can that be?

Our goal, our primary objective here at World Streets is to see if we can do our bit to develop and support a strong consensus for at least talking about such an approach. But so far so bad.

Until now we continue to be smothered by a combination of inertia and indifference on the one hand, and the fact that those powerful lobbies that are doing pretty well in a no-change or slow-change scenario are continuing to dominate pubic policy and the media. They are extremely cagey and advance theri cause with huge budgets and excellent communications skills (and I am sorry to say most effectively thus far).

But that's not the worst of it. Even, if you look carefully, many of our best environmental organizations and others in power, who should be rejecting the facility and the vacuity of this approach, you will see that their agenda, at the end of the day, accepts this go slow approach.

Now that's a real problem because: "Go slow" equals "give up".

How are we going to make our voices heard? We have to be more ambitious, more confident, and more effective. Think about it. This may be our only shot.


What about this? One city, one project, one person, one step at a time. That we can do.

Eric Britton

Editor, World Streets, Paris

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Archives: Sonnet for the Neighborhood Democratic Caucus.
In Honor of Kenneth Ewart Boulding

Paris. Nov. 1994: Kenneth Boulding, 1909-1993, was one of the magisterial figures in the field of social science of the second half of the twentieth century. In the last two years of his life, he took to writing sonnets, 216 in all between 1981 and 1993. We have taken one of these to sound the theme for our collaborative knowledge-building enterprise here on World Streets: "how to turn a heterogeneous caucus into a choir, singing the same good song, So, to democracy all should be turning When it is not just voting, but group learning."


Sonnet for the Neighborhood Democratic Caucus

They come -- a somewhat miscellaneous group
Of people gathered from the neighborhood.
Some may be naive -- some are fairly good
At jumping through the somewhat twisted hoop
Of politics -- not getting in the soup
Of disagreement, finding where they stood
On touchy issues that might mean they could
Lose the election; learning when to stoop,

And when to stand against a blatant wrong,
When to be quiet, when a little raucous,
And how to turn a heterogeneous caucus
Into a choir, singing the same good song,

So, to democracy all should be turning
When it is not just voting, but group learning.

- Kenneth Boulding, Boulder, Colorado, 14 April 1992

Who was Kenneth Boulding?

Professor Boulding was internationally known for his innovative and sensitive work in the field of economics, Along with the presidency of five other major scholarly societies, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science ,he was elected as president of the American Economics Association. He taught at universities on three continents, wrote more than thirty significant books and hundreds of articles, pamphlets and papers, and was awarded numerous honors for his work not only as an economist pushing the forefront of his profession, but also as a humanist, futures thinker and major activist in the field of peace and conflict resolution.

Ken Boulding was a profoundly democratic man, a Quaker (the Society of Friends), a loving and diligent work partner with his wife, the eminent Norwegian-born sociologist Dr. Elise Boulding, and both a worrier (about our ability to survive the challenges of the modern world) and an optimist (he decided to dedicate his life to doing something about it anyway).

Books in Print by Kenneth Boulding

The following lists the available titles of books by Ken Boulding from Books in Print. They can be ordered through your local book dealer which is what I am sure he would have preferred) or of course any of the booksellers that ply the net.

• The Future: Images & Processes
• The Future: Images & Prophecies
• National Images & International Systems
• Structure Of A Modern Economy
• There Is A Spirit: The Nayless Sonnets $4.50
• Toward A New Economics
• Three Faces Of Power
• Conflict And Defense
• Economics As A Science
• Meaning Of The 20th Century
• Beyond The Bomb
• Mending The World: Quaker insights on the social order
• Economics Of Human Betterment
• The World As A Total System
• The Organizational Revolution: A Study In The Ethics Of Economic Organization
• Preface To Grants Economics
• Evolutionary Economics
• Disarmament And The Economy
• Ecodynamics: A New Theory Of Societal Evolution
• Redistribution Through The Financial System
• Stable Peace
• Economics Of Peace
• Peace And The War Industry
• Mayer Boulding Dialogue On Peace Research
• The Evolutionary Potential Of Quakerism
• The Image: Knowledge In Life And Society
• New Nations For Old
• Collected Papers Of Kenneth E. Boulding
- - - - -
# # #

Editor - Late night thoughts:

Late last night as I was tossing, turning and thinking about how we are going to be able to find a way to continue World Streets, my thoughts turned to Ken Boulding, who in his latter years also had his active mind at times keeping him up in the middle of the night. What he did often on those occasions was to click on the bedside lamp, pick up a pen and quietly write notes -- but also from time to time one more of his several hundred sonnets, including the one you can see here. (His dear wife, Elise Boulding, told me about this when I called to ask her permission concerning the following.)

It was back in late 1994, one year after Professor Boulding's death, when we were just cranking up the first iteration of our collaborative web presence (see http://www.xability.com/commons/comdedic.htm), that I decided to seek permission to dedicate the first year of our new worldwide group learning enterprise and "somewhat miscellaneous group" in honor of Professor Boulding, whose work had marked me deeply back in the days when I was something of an economist stretching for new ideas and clues about why people do the things they do. I contacted his wife, Mrs. Elise Boulding, who kindly gave me permission to do just that.

Today, fifteen full years later and at a time when competence in matters of world peace and conflict resolution have rarely been so important, his poem, his work and his example come to mind. "To democracy all should be turning. When it is not just voting, but group learning."

That sounds to me much like what you, dear reader, and we are trying to do here. And you will I am sre agree: we have to try a lot harder. This is a challenge we should not fail.

Eric Britton, Paris

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Cycling your brain (It really could use a bit of fresh air)

Have you noticed? Just about all of the planning and decision making in our underperforming, all too often dysfunctional sector is terribly familiar. Priorities are set, terms of references written up, responsibilities defined, teams created, schedules posted, instructions issued, tools identified and applied, observations made, meetings arranged, reports written, recommendations communicated and the whole process grinds ahead to its inevitable destination – more often than not, bingo: old mobility! But if you look closely, the very mechanism, the process, is pretty much the same we were seeing back in the middle of the last century when we were planning and implementing many of the messes we now find ourselves in. Hmm.

So the moral of the story is that we need to take some very different approaches to identifying and then to starting to resolve the most pressing of our problems.

There are some out there, fortunately, and here is one you might wish to spend at least a few minutes with. They call it the NewMasterdam Bike Slam, and back in mid August as it was forming up we announced it here .



Well the Slam has been run, and the ocean spanning organizers have just completed a small illustrated booklet that sets out some of the process, as well as some of the recommendations they came up with. Here is more on that, together with the link so that you can review their results.

Their announcement, just in today:

Booklet on the New Amsterdam Bike Slam
While the Bike Slam teams were hard at work, leading experts from urban planning and design, transportation policy, cultural anthropology, and advocacy gathered on September 11 at the Center for Architecture to discuss “Global Trends in Sustainable Transportation Policy,” especially as they pertain to New York City.

Throughout the day, the primarily American audience was treated to perspectives from a multitude of exceptional speakers who offered opinions wide and varied, including how Dutch cities integrate economic benefits with the planning of space; population groups who are harbingers for significant mode shift (women and elderly); and the strong connections between growing cycling and lowering carbon emissions. Perhaps most inspiring is the consistent theme that benchmarks are not indications for achievement and mark the end of the project, but are markers for improvements and going further.

Special guests of the day included Christopher Ward, Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and Janette Sadik- Khan, New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner.

# # #


Download the booklet here. - http://www.aimsterdam.nl/bestanden/AIM-NABS

Keep on peddling. It will only do you good.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sixteen practical things you can start to do today to combat climate change, get around in style & meet some nice people

After many decades of a single dominant city-shaping transportation pattern (i.e., old mobility) -- 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. An important pattern that is thus far escaping notice at the top.


"On the whole, you find wealth more in use than in ownership."
- Aristotle. ca. 350 BC
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 (i.e., old mobility) -- 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 places and institutions directly concerned.

However 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 often wealthiest and most livable) cities -- not just a watered down or second-rate transport option for the poor. With this in view, we are setting out 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.

Sixteen sharing options you may wish to give some thought to:
1. Bikesharing

2. Carsharing (formal and informal)

3. Fleetsharing

4. Ridesharing (carpools, van pools, hitchhiking, slugging - organized and informal).

5. School share (Walking school bus, walk/bike to school)

6. Taxi sharing

7. Shared Parking

8. Truck/van sharing (combined delivery, other)

9. Streetsharing (example: BRT streets shared between buses, cyclists, taxis, emergency vehicles)

10. Activity sharing (streets used by others for other (non-transport) reasons as well.)

11. Public space sharing

12. Workplace sharing (neighborhood telework centers; virtual offices; co-workplace; hoteling)

13. Sharing SVS (small vehicle systems: DRT, shuttles, community buses, etc.)

14. Time sharing

15. Successful integration of public transport within a shared transport city (Including bus and rail)

16. Knowledge-sharing (including via World Streets)
For more:

1. Lyon Conference: If you want to learn more about this, consider going to Lyon France for their conference on transport sharing later this month (30 November, in French) - http://newmobilityagenda.blogspot.com/2009/11/transportation-sharing-and-sustainable.html
And while you are there, you can do worse to spend some time to see how they are progressing on the sharing front themselves: bikesharing and carsharing are both in place and doing well. And if you keep your eyes open you will see more.

2. Kaohsiung Conference: Or next September think about coming to Kaohsiung Taiwan for their first International Conference on Sharing Transport - see www.kaohsiung.newmobility.org . Again, a city that is already into bike sharing and looking hard at taxi sharing, among others.

3. You: And tell the world about your events, papers, media, accomplishments, problems and your ideas.

4. Us: And stay tuned to World Streets. We do sharing.

5. And now a few words from our sponsor. (30 seconds)

Pedal Power Doc on Sharing: Quick interview with Eric Britton
from Cogent Benger on Vimeo.


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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cars like cigarettes? NoAuto calls for immediate limitations on car advertising in Italy

World Streets is by no means an anti-car paper. However if you follow us you may have noticed that we have some pretty developed ideas as to fewer cars, slower cars, and, when we have them on the road, with more people in each of them. But above all, more choices for all. At the same time we keep an eye on friends like NoAuto in Italy, who are pushing for tighter controls on automobile advertisements. (And who in their right mind can argue with that?)

The following text represents a loose translation of the introduction to an article which appeared in our sister publication, Nuova Mobilità – http://nuovamobilita.org – on Tuesday. After this short introduction you will be able to click to the original posting in Italian or to a machine translation in English.

From NoAuto:

Over the years we have become accustomed to seeing television and other public advertisements showing cars in situations that are at least improbable, often dangerous, and certainly not appropriate for a sane and responsible society.

But can advertising policy and practices be redefined so as not to be misleading and frankly dangerous?

Yes it can. There are already limitations on advertising for other unsafe products such as cigarettes, dictated by the importance of protecting public health. Why not introduce similar limitations for publicity for cars?

Certainly when it comes to talking publicly and commercially about what is perceived as the most "common" means of transport, at least in the minds of many people in the Western world, we will do well to learn some of the lessons from the various campaign around the world which over the last decade have created significant constraints on advertising for (and public use of) cigarettes and other noxious tobacco products.

The benefits resulting in a decrease in cigarette consumption are widely recognized and now after years of work on the part of medical and public health interests accepted --while those arising from a change of travel behavior are in the collective imagination, at least thus far, counterbalanced by an alleged decline in the quality of life. This of course is sheer nonsense.

For this reason the non-profit Italian public interest group NoAuto, Association for Alternative Urban Mobility, is announcing a campaign to introduce specific limits on car advertising . It is hope that this could at the same time to boost publicity and reflection on more responsible products, services and strategies relating to the field of New Mobility.

The following is the statement of NoAuto's call for creation of a firm public policy concerning responsible advertising of cars.

* For the original Italian text, please click to http://nuovamobilita.blogspot.com/2009/11/lauto-come-le-sigarette.html

* For a quick machine translation into English - http://translate.google.com/translate?js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fnuovamobilita.blogspot.com%2F2009%2F11%2Flauto-come-le-sigarette.html&sl=it&tl=en&history_state0=

# # #

NoAuto is an Italian public interest association promoting a system of mobility alternatives to the car: MORE public transport, safety for walking and cycling, decreased congestion and pollution, reconquest of urban space, healthier lives, are among the objectives. Their weekly paper hosts a regular feature of the association.

Read: www.noauto.org
Write: info@noauto.org

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Transportation, Sharing and Sustainable Development : Conference in Lyon, France. 30 Nov. 2009

Our entire and often disputatious new mobility family members agree on some things, less on others. But one important, even central point that we keep coming back to is the growing importance of sharing in transportation - as opposed to necessarily having to own everything you move around in. But it is one thing to do it, and quite another to know what you are doing. Which is what the Lyon meeting is all about.

On November 30th a consortium of French university and transport groups and agencies are organizing a one day meeting in Lyon under the title "Modes partagés et mobilité durable" which is bringing together experts from Canada, Switzerland, the US and France reporting on carsharing, bikesharing and ridesharing.

* For full conference details (in French) click to http://entpe.fr/fr/content/download/3839/23547/file/LPA_RENCONTRES.pdf

Here is our loose translation of the opening statement:

The concerns of sustainable development continue to grow. And there is not a day that the transport sector is not singled out as a critical contributor to the mounting problems of pollution, consumption of nonrenewable resources, public health or safety.

At the same time different approaches are emerging to contribute to the achievement of more sustainable transport, including the development of alternatives to the more typical transportation arrangements long favored by planners and policy makers in the past. Shared modes such as carsharing (car clubs), ridesharing (car and van pools) and self-service shared bicycles (PBS or public bicycle systems) are among these emerging alternatives, and are opening up new ways to travel, new ownership arrangements, and new modal choices.

Although shared transport modes are increasingly present on the street and in political discourse aimed at promoting more sustainable transport behavior, there are as yet few tools to allow us to properly assess their contribution. Almost everywhere, carsharing schemes, shared bicycles or preferential measures to favor ridesharing are being implanted, but more often than not without having well structured understanding of their market potential, the condition necessary to favor their success, or an objective assessment of their role in the global transportation system of an agglomeration.

The November 30 meeting in Lyon will be looking at these issues with presentations by scientific experts, operators and politicians. Full information is available on the meeting here (in French).

# # #

World Streets, the New Mobility Agenda and many of our partners and colleagues worldwide are highly interested in the concept and the reality of sharing, and you will continue to see extensive coverage of projects, programs, and events which can help us better understand this important sustainable transport tool. Stay tuned.

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Monday, November 9, 2009

A COP15 Reader and Resource

If you have a morning to spend researching the state of the art and opinion on the forthcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009 in Copenhagen (COP15), you may wish to have a look at the collection of 170 key resources called up by our Knoogle (KNOwledge + goOGLE) combined search engine.

If you click here to http://tinyurl.com/knoogle-COP15 you will see the results.

For the record, Knoogle New Mobility 1.1 is the first iteration of a power search engine developed by the New Mobility Agenda in cooperation with the SMART program of the University of Michigan, and specifically tailored to help policy makers, local government, researchers, NGOs, activists, consultants, concerned citizens and the media keep up efficiently with the work and activities of the leading international groups, programs and sources leading the field of sustainable transport and sustainable cities worldwide.

Knoogle is being developed as part of a project in which we are looking into ways to create tighter linkages and better coordination between the fast expanding number of programs and agencies that are concerned with issues of sustainable transportation, climate, environment, etc. For full background on this project in process click to http://www.knowledge.newmobility.org And if you wish to get involved or contribute in any way please get in touch.

The current version of Knoogle (1.2) searches a total of 618 carefully selected sites and sources that have been carefully chosen to provide leading edge coverage of developments and news in the specific area of sustainable transport and new mobility. (For the record, full Google search for COP14 calls up more than 167,000 sources. A bit more than a morning's work.)

You can also review World Streets complete coverage of COP15 b clicking to http://tinyurl.com/ws-COP15.


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Friday, November 6, 2009

"Boys will be boys." And why it is important to change this in the world climate debate and decision structure

Editorial: In the triple nexus that is the defining concern of World Streets – namely, mobility, land use and climate – we have to be ready to take stock and face up to the reality that most of the problems we face today in each of these areas are the result of the domination of an "old order", a certain way of seeing and doing things. What have we got wrong? What can we do about it? And what might this mean to COP15 and beyond?

(This is the latest in a continuing series of articles that World Streets is contributing to the run-up to COP15 -- in which we are trying to get under the skin of the process that is, see it or not, shaping the debate and the decisions. A process that we feel strongly now needs to be fundamentally redrawn if our planet and the future of our children are to be ensured. (List of related W/S articles follows below.)
Can we spot the fundamental underlying problem that is shaping, and limiting, the whole process debate? And if so, how to make a big, defining difference fast?

Here is our analysis and our proposal.

What about this as a real problem that is deforming the world climate debate?

Recalling the old saw that many of the problems we face today are in all too many the result of someone's earlier "solutions, let's consider briefly how those old solutions were largely shaped in our particular case.

In this context it is useful to recall that just about all of the decisions which have brought us to our present impasse in our particular underperforming sector have devolved from a form of political organization, society and decision structure that was (and is) almost entirely dominated by . . . males.

And more than that, in the areas that concern us particularly in this instance, by males who just happened to be owners and drivers of cars. And in the process, by various devices and reasons, males who are ineluctably tied into the car culture. Hmm.

(And very much by the way, one of the really big problems with culture as a driver of decisions is that, by its very nature, it tends to be so deeply imbedded in everyday life and values that it becomes almost entirely invisible. Invisible perhaps, but still very much there and, in this case among others, in the driver's seat.)

Now it strikes this one observer that, if there is any truth at all to this reasoning, it is time past to give it some real attention, because perhaps somewhere in all this may lie some valuable clues as to how to turn this situation around.

How to make better decisions, including in the important decision fora that in many ways shape our lives and our planet? For example, in the board rooms of great corporations and financial institutions? In congresses and administrations at all levels of government? And in international meetings and negotiations such as those defining COP15 and all that we would like to hope will follow?

So now on to our proposal:

Change the decision structure, and move from today's reality in which in almost every country (and every delegation for COP15) the delegations are by and large not only male dominated in terms of the numbers of men in leadership roles, but also by and large shaped by a largely male vision of society, and of the priorities and possibilities that underlay our decisions as to what to do next.

So now that we know that, let's change it.

And if on the one hand I am not at all sure as to how to execute this sharp turn, how in terms of the actual mechanisms to get this particular elephant to turn on a dime, I can promise you that once we have done it, once we have restructured our delegations and the underlying decision structures so that there is "full parity", male/female, a very different vision will emerge. And with it different decisions and actions to preserve the planet and the future patrimony of our children and grandchildren.

A final word on the concept of "gender balance".

Image three different types of decision fora: (a) all male, (b) mostly male, and (c) gender balanced.

Now, it is my observation that (a) and (b) invariably end up being pretty much the same in terms of their tone and outcomes, (with the all too rare case where there may be an exceptionally strong, aggressive even woman or women in the miniscule minority. There indeed you may see some sparks fly and different outcomes. But how often does this occur?).

On the other hand when you approach "gender balance" (let’s define it for now as a minimum of 35-40 % participation of the "other sex" - whatever that might happen to be), you open up a very different kind of social, communication and decision environment. The fact is that (a) and even (b) are in almost all cases dominated by male values, even if in most cases these may not be entirely palpable. But they are there and they influence the terms, and the outcome, of the debate and the decision process.

So when it come sorting out our planet, let's all get behind this concept of full gender parity at all stages of the climate debate, and decision process. Because if we don't we are going to lose this war.

I promise you.

Eric Britton
Editor, World Streets

PS. If you have any doubts about this ask the Norwegians and the other Scandinavians about it. They will set you straight fast.

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For your reference, from World Streets in 2009:

1. Winning the World Climate Game: Brainwork challenge- Oct. 26, 2009
2. "COP15? One thing that can change the debate right now!" - Nov. 5, 2009
3. "International agreements take too long. We only have months, not years, to save civilization – Nov. 4
4. Sustainable transport on the road to COP15? "In my humble opinion we are not ready." – Oct. 23
5. Sustainable transport on the road to COP15? (We are a generation of great talkers.) – Oct. 20
6. Women as our metric for sustainable lives: Leadership role – Oct. 5
7. The Year of the Woman in Transport – Part II “Don't treat women equally”. Sept. 3
8. 2010: The Year of the Woman in Transport (Now, how do we get there and where do we start?) – Sept 2
9. Message to COP15 Copenhagen: Think Sustainable Transport - July 14


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Thursday, November 5, 2009

COP15? One thing that can change the debate right now!


"Following the outstanding example of Norway in leadership positions in both public and private sectors, create full gender balance in all delegations and decision councils shaping the climate debate and recommendations".
This is our answer to the following question that was posed to our readers in the World Streets feature article of October 26th:
To make a significant difference in COP15 . . . what is the ONE BASIC THING we could do right now to change the game, the rules, so that our planet has a decent chance. Something deep and fundamental. Something that upsets the old order that has failed us for so long.
We shall go into our reasoning behind this in more detail tomorrow (I promise you, it changes everything), but for now kindly and for your convenient reference find the full text of the original 26 Oct. piece reproduced below:

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Winning the World Climate Game: Brainwork challenge

Let's assume that the world climate negotiations in general-- and all in the run-up to COP15 in December and its aftermath -- need a shot in the arm, a game-changer, in order to begin to break a deadlock that has gone on all too long at huge cost to the planet and future generations. Do you accept this as something worth at least considering? If so . . .

After having observed closely this largely failed process for many years, here is one thing I have concluded about our dilemma:

The challenge (the planet) is clearly a lot bigger than the problem-solving apparatus we have put in place to deal with it. Does that seem about right to you?

So what about this as an analogy to stimulate our thinking? We are trying to play a game, say like tennis. We have a ball, net, court, lines, etc. Should be easy enough, eh?

However, in the climate case the ball (the planetary challenge) is clearly far bigger than the court (the existing problem solving frame) into which we need to hit it. Oops.


So what is the solution? Obviously to turn it into something that is not a travesty, and at least possible, we would have to redraw the court, somehow reshape and redimension the problem solving process.

(Of course if we want to shrink the ball, i.e., do less for the planet, we can do that too. In fact, that looks kind of familiar.)

How might we handle this challenge in the case of the climate process? What could be the game-changer(s) that would allow us to have a shot at winning.

This is to invite your suggestions as to ONE BASIC THING we could do to change the game, the rules, so that our planet has a decent chance.

Something deep and fundamental. Something that upsets the old order that has failed us for so long.

Please send your nominations and ideas to the editor@worldstreets.org, and also we invite you to post them directly to the Comment section which you will see just below.

Let's see if we can solve this one by putting our heads together.

The editor

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