Op-Ed: Three Little Words to Shape the Future of Cycling

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 concept of Resilience; and the initially puzzling neologism “Supernormal”. To put this presentation to work, we invite you to review it in parallel enjoying the illustrated 12 minute video of his address which you will find at the Opening Plenary Part 3 at  http://livestream.com/lacitenantes/Velocity2015/videos/89111933 (start viewing at 36:30).

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Encylical Laudato Si': On Care for our Common Home

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  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.

World Streets will be giving the encyclical and  its copious fallout close attention in the months between now and the forthcoming Paris Climate conference in December, and intends to offer space to guest  contributions, essays and commentaries looking at the various issues from a number of different critical perspectives.  Including the stronger views against all or some parts of the encyclical

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Extra-urban Mobility Revolution Coming to your Doorstep

rural carshare cowIf I live outside of a city — say, in a spread-suburb, rural area, commuter town or other hard to serve low density area — and if I happen not own a car, or on days when my car is not available, I am going to have a hard time getting to work or wherever it is I need to go this morning.

In principle I have a few choices, for example: (a)  Get down on my knees and beg for a ride from family or neighbors. (b)  Try to find (and get to) a bus or local pubic transport (good luck!). (c) Search out a taxi, call, wait for it eventually to show up and then pay a hefty amount. (d) For work trips, and if I am lucky, there may be a ride-sharing scheme.  Or, for many less comfortable but still possible, (e) the  hitchhiking option. (f) Do like an increasing number of my fellow commuters and buy a motorcycle. And perhaps most likely of all (g) be obliged to reschedule or forget the trip. But at the end of the day, and all things considered, I am forced to conclude that the reality of life in suburbia and rural areas today is: no car = no mobility. Harsh!

But stuff changes.We are entering a new and very different age of technology, communications and mobility, as American write Josh Stephens reminds us in the following article.

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Bike sharing: Impacts and processes of implementation and operation

cropped-paris-velib-station.jpg

Miriam Ricci, a Research Fellow at the Centre for Transport & Society at the University of the West of England, has recently completed a research report on bike sharing that will be of interest to our readers.

Her paper is concerned with identifying and critically interpreting the available evidence on bike sharing to date, on both impacts and processes of implementation and operation.

The ten page analytic report is freely available online from Elsevier until July 19, 2015 at http://authors.elsevier.com/a/1R6t47sdbMZRLC. A short description and introduction to the report follows here.

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Victoria Transport Policy Institute. Late spring 2015 Newsletter

This carefully compiled seasonal report from Todd Litman of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute is a fine tool and up to date source guide for researchers and policy makers worldwide. We are pleased to present it in its entirety here, together with references you will find handy to take these entries further. Thanks for your fine continuing contributions Todd.

Vtpi Litman Canada

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Amartya Sen: “The economic consequences of austerity”.

economics Versailles Treaty signing dignataries

On 5 June 1919, John Maynard Keynes wrote to the prime minister of Britain, David Lloyd George, “I ought to let you know that on Saturday I am slipping away from this scene of nightmare. I can do no more good here.” Thus ended Keynes’s role as the official representative of the British Treasury at the Paris Peace Conference. It liberated Keynes from complicity in the Treaty of Versailles (to be signed later that month), which he detested.

Why did Keynes dislike a treaty that ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers (surely a good thing)?

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