The Psychopathology of the Everyday Driver

speeding car pedestrian crossingSometimes life is simple:

Question: How fast will car drivers speed on any given stretch of road or street, in or out of the city?

Answer: As fast as they can.

Qualification: And if that is not true for every driver on the road (for example you or maybe me), it is true for enough of them such that if road safety is the goal, then this brutal, uncompromising reality must be taken into serious consideration.

Question 2: Now if this is indeed the case (and it most definitely  is!) what if anything can we do about it?
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Op-ed: Political behaviour is largely non-rational

When one considers how things have gone in the last decades or thereabouts, it is not easy to believe in the survival of civilization.

brain surgeryI do not argue from this that the only thing to do is to adjure practical politics, retire to some remote place and concentrate either on individual salvation or on building up self-supporting communities against the day when the atom bombs have done their work. I think one must continue the political struggle, just as a doctor must try to save the life of a patient who is probably going to die.

But I do suggest that we shall get nowhere unless we start by recognizing that political behaviour is largely non-rational, that the world is suffering from some kind of mental disease which must be diagnosed before it can be cured.

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What is Exernomics?

Exernomics is a concatenation of two words, economics and exergy. Economics is a discipline, with scientific aspirations, concerned with the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services in human society. It is also concerned with markets, trade and prices. It has been called “the dismal science” (by Thomas Carlyle), because of the Malthusian argument (c. 1799) that human population will always grow faster than food supply, whence the future of mankind was destined to be constrained by poverty and starvation. That didn’t happen during the following two centuries. So, in recent years Malthus has become an object of derision by mainstream economists, who have adopted a contrary doctrine of perpetual growth driven by unending innovation and substitution.

But the mainstream has ignored the fact that one resource has no substitute. It is “useful energy” or – in techno-speak – exergy.

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“Reverse Toll” Paid To Pedestrians & Cyclists In Norwegian Town

“Reverse Toll” Paid To Pedestrians & Cyclists In Norwegian Town

October 1st, 2014 by Travelers with the lightest footprints, pedestrians and bicyclists, recently earned a boost in their pockets for their carbon-free travel in a small city in Norway. In Lillestrøm, around 10,000 NOK (€1,200) was handed out to pedestrians and cyclists. “Reverse toll money” was part of Norway’s ongoing European Mobility Week celebrations. The money reflected savings due to the health benefits of walking and cycling. Pedestrians and bicyclists gained the rewards for increasing clean, efficient transport in the city.

World Streets reports: “Cyclists received around €12, while pedestrians gained €11. Calculations carried out by the Norwegian Directorate of Health shows that active transport provides the state with a saving of 52 NOK (€6) per kilometer for pedestrians and 26 NOK (€3) per kilometer for cyclists. An average bike trip in Norway is 4 kilometers, providing a health benefit of 100 NOK (€12), while an average walking trip is 1.7 km, worth almost 90 NOK (€11).” Continue reading

World Transport Policy & Practice – Vol. 20, No. 4. Sept. 2014

This issue of World Transport Policy and Practice is a significant milestone in the life of the journal. It marks 20 years of publication and for anyone with a serious interest in understanding the importance of transport, the links between transport, mobility and accessibility and the links with sustainability, health and quality of life, there is more than enough material here to work on.

At the outset we chose to emphasise the word “policy” and that remains a strong focus. 20 years of publication have examined policy in detail, more often the lack of intelligent policy, but always with a keen eye on “this is what we have to do if we want to improve things”. There is now no excuse for anyone anywhere in the world to sit at his or her desk on a Monday morning and wonder how to sort things out. The answers lie in our freely available archives.

uk-bus-queue-no excuses

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Tips from China on How to Win the Sustainability Wars . . . (Which by the way we are losing badly)

What is our goal in the sustainability wars?  If it is to feel noble because we are doing the “right thing” and to build our programs and plans of attack on that (call it “moral suasion”), we run the risk of ending up a proud soldier lying dead on the field of action with the last words from our mouths, that of Gott mit uns (god is on our side).  Those of us who  feel deeply enough about these issues to wish to act effectively have to put our pious thoughts and personal preferences aside and gear up 100% for a single goal — to win!  Sun Tsu had a few thoughts on that in The Practical Art of War.

If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.

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