Op-ed. Successful Fare-free Public Transport never comes alone

“Those that fail to learn the lessons of history, are doomed to repeat them.” 
– Attributed to Winston Churchill (and others)

Discussions of free public transport are often presented by the media and too often even in expert discussions as if it were a new concept that has no history.  To make wise policy decisions we need to be aware of this history.

To this end, this broad historic  overview and critical expert commentary on the international evolution of Fare Free Public Transport  (FTP here) covering the last half century was prepared by Dr. Michel van Hulten (see below) and submitted as a working paper in support of the international conference organized in Tallinn under the title: “Free public transport for all. Dream or reality”   In this working paper the author looks at the issues of the ‘why, how, when, where to pay for public transport’ (FFPT) – issues and questions that need to be at the heart  of our discussions and in time our decisions and actions.  

Required reading!

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by Jérémie ALMOSNI, head of ADEME’s transport and mobility department, Mathieu CHASSIGNET, expert in sustainable mobility, Véronique MICHAUD, general secretary of the Club des Villes et Territoires cycle and Olivier SCHNEIDER, president of the French Federation of Bicycle Users ( FUB).

Yes we can!

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‘We’re doomed’ . . . Mayer Hillman on the climate reality no one else will dare mention

China Mekong Basin desertification AFP Huang Dinh Nab Le Monde

Let’s listen to what Dr. Mayer Hillman —  eminent architect, town planner and Senior Fellow Emeritus since 1992 at the Policy Studies Institute, University of Westminster where he worked for at least thirty years —   had to offer on this score in a feature article and interview that appeared in The Guardian earlier this week.  By Patrick Barkham   Full text with illustrations are  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/26/were-doomed-mayer-hillman-on-the-climate-reality-no-one-else-will-dare-mention?CMP=share_btn_fb

W’re doomed,” says Mayer Hillman with such a  beaming smile that it takes a moment for the words to sink in. “The outcome is death, and it’s the end of most life on the planet because we’re so dependent on the burning of fossil fuels. There are no means of reversing the process which is melting the polar ice caps. And very few appear to be prepared to say so.”

Hillman, an 86-year-old social scientist and senior fellow emeritus of the Policy Studies Institute, does say so. His bleak forecast of the consequence of runaway climate change, he says without fanfare, is his “last will and testament”. His last intervention in public life. “I’m not going to write anymore because there’s nothing more that can be said,” he says when I first hear him speak to a stunned audience at the University of East Anglia late last year.

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World Streets International Advisory Panel: The second decade

Posting on updating World Street’s international advisory panel – WORKING DRAFT FOR COMMENT,  18 April 2018 –

Early on in 2008, as part of the task of laying the groundwork for a new  independent collaborative platform on sustainable transport for what eventually became World Streets:  The Politics of Transport in Cities“, we decided to get in touch with some of our most trusted and creative colleagues working in various ways and  in many very different environments on the challenges of sustainable transport, sustainable cities and sustainable lives — and ask them if they might have a look at our initial work plan and possibly make suggestions and comments in order to  help us do a better job in this self-assigned task.

Ideas and encouragement generously poured in from this initial core group of friends, helping us to lay an improved  base and setting a pattern for our proposed collaborative venture. And as we moved ahead other colleagues joined in with their counsel and support, which we then decided to explain and encourage, calling this our informal  International Advisory Panel.  Now if this might strike you to be a bit puffed up and institutional, we can assure you that the whole thing has from the beginning  been strictly informal and collegial with no pretenses of being anything more.

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“This might not strike you as an intellectual bombshell,” William H. Whyte liked to say, “but people like to sit where there are places for them to sit.” Whyte’s famous observations of plazas and parks suggested that people were not that picky about where they sit, as long as they could sit somewhere. But he also demonstrated that certain types of seating could revitalize a moribund place.

Seating that is accessible, comfortable, well-maintained, and located in the right places is critical to successful placemaking. Here are a few basics to consider when incorporating moveable seating into your public areas.

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HOW MOBILE ARE WE AND HOW DID WE GET HERE? (Draft for comment for 2018 New Mobility Master Class.)

The mobility/growth paradigm

– By John Whitelegg, extract from his book MOBILITY. A New Urban Design and Transport Planning Philosophy for a Sustainable Future, Chapters 2 and 3. For more on the New Mobility Master Class program click here –  https://goo.gl/BB2pPE


Mobility is most commonly measured, if at all, as total distance travelled per annum per capita in kilometres and/or total distance travelled per day per capita. There are other important dimensions e.g. number of trips made per day or number of destinations that can be accessed by different modes of transport in a defined unit of time but these are not generally measured in a systematic way or included in data sets. Usually mobility is not defined. It has become a rather vague concept associated with quality of life or progress and it is invoked as a “good thing” and something that should be increased. This is very clear in most national transport policies and at the European level where major transport policies and funding mechanisms are increasingly framed.

A recent EU research and development document (European Commission 2013a) begins with the main heading “Mobility for growth.” It does not define mobility. The document is an undiluted manifesto accepting and promoting the growth of mobility and advocating the importance of this growth for the success of wider economic policy objectives, asserting the unquestioned importance of endless economic growth and ignoring the voluminous literature on the impossibility of endless economic growth and of ecological and resource limits to growth (Douthwaite, 1992, Schneidewind, 2014).

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