Thursday, March 31, 2011

Carsharing is dead, long live . . . car rental?

We have been reading and hearing quite a bit in the French media, and in particular in the context of the city of Paris's ambitious planned Autolib project, that "carsharing is dead in France". Which came as something of a surprise given that our own read of the evidence does not at all square with this position. So we asked Nicolas le Douarec, who has something of a record in bringing carsharing to Paris, what he thought about that death warrant. His heady response follows.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sempé: A Short History of Social Mobility

A Short History of Social Mobility in five small frames - from a collection of drawings and pastels that first appeared in the edition “Nothing is easy” (Rien n'est simple) by Jean-Jacques Sempé, published a century ago in 1962.  But even back then the message was howlingly clear. Amazing to think of how little it is understood two generations later, even though the indisputable proof is right before our eyes. If only we choose to look.

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Are the telework, telecommuting guys way behind the curve?

I have the feeling, but admittedly in some ignorance. . .  that the telework, telecommuting guys may be way behind the curve. That is, quite possibly not quite up to the challenge of the times.

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World Streets Weekly: Edition of 28 March 2011

* * * Click here for Weekly Edition of 28 March 2011 * * *

- – - > To receive Weekly Editions freely in 2011: click here

This week's titles:

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Honk! OpenStreetMap: Visualizing spatial data

Going into our third year of publication, World Streets thus far offers to our readers close to one thousand easily retrievable original articles and twice as many illustrative graphics on a broad range of tools, measures and topics that relate in some useful way to the up-hill push to sustainable transport policy and practice in and around cities, worldwide. But until now we have not published a single article on OpenStreetMap. This is a significant oversight of an important tool which we would now like to remedy.

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Interview with British Transport Secretary / Attitudes towards the car

From: Simon Field [] The Guardian interviewed UK Transport Minister Philip Hammond last week: you can read Andrew Sparrow's piece in full here: Throughout the interview you will see that Hammond refers to carbon as the problem, largely ignoring or dismissing other concerns about the car. Read More via Network Dispatches

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Managing Two and Three-Wheelers in Asia

Drivers of two-and three-wheelers are vulnerable to road accidents and deaths, and are exposed to high levels of air pollution. Two and three-wheelers remain important modes of transport in many Asian countries and cities now and in the future, and contribute to a large share of GHG emissions, air pollution and traffic congestion.

The project aims to encourage greater inclusion of two and three-wheelers in national plans and policies for urban planning, transport and environment, to address these issues.

Activities include:
• Preparation of a report to provide policy-makers and city authorities in Asian countries and cities updated information on issues relating to the increasing use of motorized two and three wheelers, including the various policies and regulations that have been and are being implemented by various Asian countries and cities.
• Preparation of a report for the Philippines focusing on alternative technologies for replacing 2-stroke three-wheelers

Donor: PCFV, CAI-Asia Center, PCA

Duration: November 2008 - December 2010

CAI-Asia contact: Bert Fabian, bert.fabian(at)

download full report here.

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Op-Ed. Time to put a stake in the ground

Our friend and occasional contributor from Lahore Pakistan, Hassaan Ghazali, is a very severe critic not only of transport policy and practice in his country, but also of the many cultural and political facts of life which form the fundamental bedrock of the decisions which shape (or misshape) the sector (and with it our day-to-day lives). Bad decisions, very bad decisions in our sector, are rarely just accidents or one-off occurrences. They are deeply embedded, almost invisible to most, and there are entrenched reasons behind them, whether in Pakistan, Paris or Peoria. Here he explores man/car/technology relationships which can be seen in many places around the world.  In short, most of us have a problem with the car. But it's not the car that is the problem. It's us. That's the first thing we need to come to grips with. All of us in fact. Read on.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

BMW enters the one-way carsharing market

Those premium German car companies must know something we don't! BMW announced it was getting into the one-way carsharing business in Munich, with a fleet of 300 BMW 1-series and Minis, starting in April; followed by 500 vehicles in Berlin.  They're calling it "Premium Carsharing".

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Monday, March 21, 2011

The Battle for the Streets of New York City

What was the song? "If you can do it here you can do it anywhere. New York New York"? Well there just may be something to that. Here is some of the latest on how the proponents of more and safer biking in New York City are using social media to gain support from the citizen base, while at the same time an irate lobby is doing its best to keep the streets as they were and, as they hope, ever shall be. Amen Sister. (BTW, this is by no means a unique conflict. It could be your city.)

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mobility, Democracy and Politics: Interview with Monsieur le Maire

What's happening on the new mobility scene in France in 2011? Here you have, in French but with good subtitles, an interview by one of the outstanding political innovators in the field of sustainable transport policy and practice in France. Roland Ries is serving his second term as mayor of Strasburg, and at the same time heads up the national transport political group GART. He also, by the way, as a member of the French Senate drafted the law defining carsharing in France, thus opening up a part of the way to more and better carsharing nation-wide. Spend three minutes with this short video to get a feel for what the leading edge in France is thinking and doing about transport in cities. You will quickly see that this is a world-level message. Play it for your mayor and talk to her about it.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New York City Memorial Project: Remembering walkers and cyclists killed on the city's streets

On Sunday, the NYC Street Memorial Project held the 6th Annual Memorial Ride and Walk. According to the New York City Department of Transportation, 151 pedestrians and 18 bicyclists were killed on the streets of New York City in 2010. Participants called for stronger measures to reduce traffic fatalities. The ride culminated by installing a "Ghost Bike" in front of Brooklyn Borough Hall for the unnamed pedestrians and cyclists killed in 2010.

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A family of small mice needs some help with new mobility

Today we want to tell you about a children's book on our subject, and beyond that to see if any of you out there might be interested in lending a hand so that we can create a handsome electronic version, and possibly in other languages.

- Alvin reports from Paris.

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Saturday, March 12, 2011

2011 World Streets Bright Awards: City of Basel Mobility Ticket

We have often said that new mobility is a strategy which is ultimately made up of a very large number of often very small things that together make a difference. And so it is just in this spirit that we have decided to launch a new series in which you are invited to participate. It is the 2011 World Streets Bright Awards, celebrating "great small convivial ideas that are easy on the pocket and can be multiplied by thousands and make a difference".  It's simple and works like this.

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Honk: “Floating Parking” & Bike-Buffer Zones in New York City

Let's see what our friends at Streetfilms have to share with us today on the topic of "Floating Parking” & Bike-Buffer Zones in Separated Cycletracks".  Here is their short introduction with a narration by the noted traffic engineer Gary Toth of Partners for Public Spaces, by videographer Clarence Eckerson, Jr. who shot and edited the film.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sustainable Transport and the Importance of Pattern Recognition

In order to turn around a very big boat that is moving in the wrong direction – think global warming or any of the other wrong-way trips that we are currently locked into when it comes to transport in cities – it helps to be smart, studious and work very hard. But it is if anything even more important to have a feel for what is really going on. And this is where the fine art of pattern recognition comes in. Pattern recognition: all too often the empty chair when it comes to understanding and decision making in the field of transport policy and practice. No wonder we are doing so poorly.

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

To fix Sustainable Transport: Ensure Full Gender Parity in all Decision and Investment Fora (QED)

Today is International Women's Day. And not only that, 2011 marks the one hundredth anniversary of this great and necessary idea. So what better occasion for World Streets to announce publicly, loudly and yet once again our firm belief that the most important single thing that our society, our nations and our cities could do to increase the fairness and the effectiveness of our transportation arrangements would be to make it a matter of the law that all decisions determining how taxpayer money is invested in the sector should be decided by councils that respect full gender parity. We invite you to join us in this challenge and make it one of the major themes of sustainable transport policy worldwide in 2011.

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Friday, March 4, 2011

What percent of your city's street space is allocated to non-car uses

The pie chart you will find just below  graphically illustrates the state of street space allocation today in New York City, after four years of hard work on a committed local effort by city government and many associations to free street space for pedestrians, bikes and buses. All that for less than one half of one percent of the public space given over to cars. So here is our question this morning: Do things look any better in your city in 2011? We invite your reports and comments.

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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Master of None: The Lahore Transport Master Plan

As we read Hassaan Ghazali's clear-eyed commentary on the short-comings of the Lahore Transport Master Plan, and the process behind it, it is natural enough that we from other parts of the world think of it as a saga that typifies that city, that country and that part of the world. He tells us that "role of planning in urban development has always been our Achilles heel", which I am sure is the case, But whoa, if we think about it we have to admit that there are all too few cities in the world in which these challenges have been all that well handled. We are all in fact involved in a learning process, and with a little luck we will be able to learn from each other So let's hear what Hassaan has to tell us about Lahore, without forgetting for a minute he is sharing with us a story and a challenge that we all face.

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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Seize the moment: A "Street Code" for Porto Alegre

Dear Porto Alegre and Brazilian Friends,

With all due respect, I propose that you give some thought to organizing to get strong citizen and multi-party support to exact "appropriate compensation" for Friday's horrible, dumb and indeed tragic event on the streets of your beautiful city. I would imagine that this is a one-time, not to be repeated opportunity to get something very important and far-sighted out of a shaken city administration. Timing is everything in cases like this. You should thus be able to exact what you need today far better than just one week ago. Or a month or more from now once the heat has dissipated. So go for it!

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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

What can we learn from the murderous attack on cyclists in Porto Alegre on Friday?

Porto Alegre Brazil. 25 February 2011. At least forty people were injured when a mad driver slammed his car into a pack of more than 100 cyclists in the city of Porto Alegre in Brazil. The cyclists, mainly young people, were staging a peaceful demonstration calling for a reduction in the number of cars on the streets. The 47-year-old male driver fled the scene of the incident Friday evening and was later arrested after authorities found his abandoned car over the weekend.

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