Critiquing the Penang Transport Master Plan (2013-2030)

Originally posted on World Streets: The Politics of Transport in Cities:

Mayllasia Penang blog top page - local traffic

The following  strategic commentary appeared in the form of a long letter responding to an invitation by the chief transport planner of Penang with the State Government Office to comment on a strategic presentation and commentary he was about to make at end year in Kuala Lumpur reflecting back on the  Penang Transport Master Plan (2013-2030) carried out for the State by Halcrow and AKC Planning   and published in a final version in October 2-12. Mr. Lim’s commentary. Cross Roads, Game Changers & Bulls’ Horns, is available here

Update. My quick three-part personal “executive summary” some months later: (1) The original Halcrow plan was at best an earnest piece of competent if traditional professional work with some sensible recommendations but overall not up to the underlying strategic challenges and pressures that Penang is facing in the sector.  (2) Mr. Lim’s commentary does a better job of…

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From Nantes: Three Little Words to Shape the Future of Cycling

Originally posted on World Streets: The Politics of Transport in Cities:

Philippe Crist - with bike but no nameWe are pleased to be able to share with you the speaking notes prepared by a friend of many years and emerging pillar on the international transport policy scene, Philippe Crist of the International Transportation Forum for his opening keynote address to this year’s Velo-City conference in Nantes.

Philippe, who for years has spent more than an hour each day peddling through Paris traffic to work at the OECD,  takes a few steps back from the immediate concerns of the many workshops and events, and invites us to contemplate the big picture and hopefully in the process remember three words that he has chosen for the core of his presentation, three words that he proposes can help us understand, shape and support the future of cycling in our cites, smaller towns and rural communities around the world. The words are: Serendipity (stumbling on something important by keen eye and happy chance); the…

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Encyclical Laudato Si’: On Care for our Common Home

Originally posted on World Streets: The Politics of Transport in Cities:

pope francis in crowd Photo: Massimo Pinca/AP

Pope Francis’s just-promulgated encyclical “Laudato Si’: On Care for our Common Home”, is without a doubt the most important single document to be published, initiative  to be taken, since the phrase sustainable development was invented three long and patently unsuccessful decades ago. This extraordinary document of less than one hundred pages aims to inform and to rally the forces of responsible  behavior and responsible governance to the cause and the plight of our planet and to the role of active democracy.  Beautifully written (the English language version at least), clearly presented and cogently argued in clear day to day language.    It is an excellent and inspiring read. However it is not a recipe, it is a challenge, and thus requires that we read it carefully and do our own sorting out of the issues and the counsel it offers. Not an effortless process.

One of the more depressing passages includes his list…

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ACID TEST: How to know if your city cycling system is working?

Originally posted on World Streets: The Politics of Transport in Cities:

UK cambridge women cycling in streeet

It’s extremely simple:  Do the numbers.

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Interview: World Streets editor interviews busy mayor on his sustainable transport strategy

Originally posted on World Streets: The Politics of Transport in Cities:

Asking the mayor of Freedonia to walk the talk

groucho at deskFreedonia City Hall, 20 June 2015.09:00. The mayor is comfortably seated  at his  imposing desk, looking fondly at an unlit cigar.  After a lengthy wait and a nod from the imposing receptionist, the editor of World Streets knocks lightly and waits timidly at the door, entirely drenched and  more than a bit disheveled. Not a pretty sight.

The Mayor: Well sir, you are a fine mess. Careful there, you are dripping on my favorite chair.

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Invitation to “Brussels”: European Citizens Mobility Forum on a New Mobility Paradigm, 23 March 2015

Originally posted on Sustainable Development, Economy & Democracy:

IRU Brussles report - cover photo of young womanOn the assumption that your plans may not have you in Brussels on Monday in time to join the meeting, but that you are nonetheless interested to follow the event and what might come out of it, this is an invitation for you to join the event as an “auditor”. In this capacity, all you need to do is sign in here and let us know of your interest. You will then receive the latest version of the brainstorming piece as will be discussed during the peer review session, working notes and observations of the participants, and a copy of the final wrap up report about a week later with, hopefully, a certain number  of followup steps or proposals. This will also give you an opportunity for comments and critical views which will be shared with the participants and other auditors (if we have your permssiion to do so).

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Top Twenty World Streets Postings: 2009 – 2015

Originally posted on World Streets: The Politics of Transport in Cities:

ws-newsstandWhile you are away from the office and all the pressures on your time, here for your after-work winter reading pleasure are the twenty most read articles to appear in World Streets since opening day in 2009.  Quite a varied lot, and when your editor reads them he generally prefers to do so not at a desk but seated comfortably with a tablet or largish window smartphone in hand to take advantage of those unstructured unexpected free moments that can pop up in any day. After all, World Streets is intended for the reflective back of your mind, not the whirring over-charged front.

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Driverless cars (or End of the Road?)


Originally posted on World Streets: The Politics of Transport in Cities:

xtransit-taxiThere is a revolution going on that is going to change the face of transport in and around cities in a way that no other has in the last century.  The starting point is that humble taxi that you cannot always find when you need it most —  that is to say a rolling metal box with rubber tires, a human being at the wheel, and some kind of engine propelling it along, with or without human cargo.   But this thing, this taxi as it is called, is in the process of being reinvented as a rolling, pliant always-on 21st century information system.  And of course we are looking into this closely in the pages of World Streets.

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The Uber Generation: Rogue Capitalism or Critical Paradigm Shift

Originally posted on World Streets: The Politics of Transport in Cities:

World Streets is today kicking off a series of invited articles by authors from different countries and backgrounds, presenting their views on the topic of “The Uber Generation: Rogue Capitalism or Critical Paradigm Shift”. It is expected that this series will continue  over the months ahead. The present posting is being circulated to friends and others who have expressed interest in this particular angle of the New Mobility Agenda as an advance announcement and call for criticism, ideas and contributions.

china taxi drivers bashing taxis

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Fair Mobility: Can your city learn some lessons from Malta

Originally posted on World Streets: The Politics of Transport in Cities:

Can your city learn some lessons from Malta when it comes to proving fair mobility for all, including those with mobility handicaps? (Lessons that they Malta  poor sidewalksthemselves are, ever so sadly, not learning. At least not thus far. ) Let me put this in other, stronger words. If your city is not giving careful attention to these equitable pedestrian issues, well you are living in a seriously underdeveloped, inequitable, third-rate city. Face it! Let us hear what Kevin Cutajar of the Gozo Federation Persons with Disability has to say on this as he goes eye to eye with government authorities on this important issue. If he does not speak up, who will?

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Vision Zero: From Sweden to New York City, with Love

Originally posted on World Streets: The Politics of Transport in Cities:

Sarah Goodyear, Atlantic Citylab: What were the main barriers that had to be overcome in initially adopting Sweden’s Vision Zero strategy?

Matts-Åke Belin, Swedish traffic safety strategist:  I would say that the main problems that we had in the beginning were not really political, they were more on the expert side. The largest resistance we got to the idea about Vision Zero was from those political economists that have built their whole career on cost-benefit analysis. For them it is very difficult to buy into “zero.” Because in their economic models, you have costs and benefits, and although they might not say it explicitly, the idea is that there is an optimum number of fatalities. A price that you have to pay for transport.

The problem is the whole transport sector is quite influenced by the whole utilitarianist mindset. Now we’re bringing in the idea that it’s not acceptable…

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