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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Surprising Things You Never Knew About Transport

This is the first in a series of four short films prepared by a faculty team  from the Centre for Transport and Society at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol).  The four podcasts pose some interesting questions and give an insightful appraisal of what influences travel habits, delivered by nationally leading experts in the field of transport research: Professor Glenn Lyons, Dr Steve Melia, Professor Graham Parkhurst and Professor John Parkin. Today’s film is presented by Steve Melia and looks into some surprising questions from Steve’s forthcoming book ‘Urban Transport Without the Hot Air’. All  four films can be viewed on the UWE Bristol web pages.

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Traffic in Penang: High Level of Awareness

In an article entitled Traffic Congestion in Penang, published by the Penang penang transport councilTransport Council on 31 March 2010, we can see the high level of awareness shown by State government of traffic congestion issues and eventual solutions at the time. The only main missing piece of the puzzle in their overview is the lack of consideration of land use and related urban planning issues and measures.  Something which is very much in the hands of local government.  Many of these points come up again in the 2013 Transport Master Plan Strategy for the State of Penang.  And from this we can tell that the awareness is very much there.

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Designing cycling back in to the urban environment

France-paris-velib-tourTransport in cities is a steep uphill affair. If we ever are to transform the quality of the mobility arrangements in our cities, there are certain basic truths about it that need to be repeated again and again. By different people, in different places and in different ways.

Cycling in most cities:  You and I know it. It is broke. It cannot be “fixed”.  It needs to be reinvented from the street up. All of which is easy enough to say, but what in concrete terms does that mean? This article which appeared in the Guardian a few days back by Peter Walker,  reports on the testimony of Dave Horton a cycling sociologist who pounds the table on five basic truths of cycling in cities.

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Rethinking Car Free Days in Taipei City

Your editor was kindly invited by Mayor Hau Lung-pin to come to Taipei City this year to discuss preparations for the celebration of the city’s tenth successive Car Free Day — and as part of this collaborative brainstorming process to draw on my experience of some seventeen years working with this, one hopes, transformative transportation approach in different cities around the world. Continue reading

The Seven Simple Truths of Sustainable Mobility (Come argue with me)

Sometimes in life things can be simple. Let’s look at one case.

One of the problems with the hard up-hill fight for “sustainable transport” in cities and countries around the world is that so far everyone seems to have a different definition and a different agenda. True, there are an enormous range of interests and concerns. Among them such important things as :improving conditions for pedestrians and cycles, car access and parking control, more ridesharing, carsharing, taxisharing, more flexible and responsive public transport services, strategic deployment of economic instruments (to reflect full social costs), BRT, congestion charging, speed reductions, etc. The long list goes on. Continue reading

Testimony: Science and Technology Select Committee, UK House of Lords

 

In the last weeks I was asked to provide written testimony and evidence in answer to a “Call for Evidence” for the UK House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee on the subject of “Behaviour Change —Travel-Mode Choice Interventions to Reduce Car Use in Towns and Cities”. As can happen in these things, in my remarks I moved away from the chosen topic (instruments for behaviour change), on the grounds that there was other more fundamental work that was needed to be done first. In the following you will find my submittal of last Monday to the committee, whom I thank for giving me this opportunity to share my views.
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