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).

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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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1 comment:

  1. I'm concerned that it is not clear in our discussion that people disagree that carshare, bikeshare and rideshare are good things.

    More importantly, I'm concerned that these modes of transport can be very effective whitewash, making it look like progress is made, while actually, deaths and GHG emissions can all grow with these measures growing. Jeevon's Paradox -- efficiency can provoke greater use -- is one explanation for why.

    with good wishes,

    Aaron Thomas aaronkmthomas(At)gmail(dot)com


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