Brainstorm: Share Transport City Audits in China – 1

Preparing the way for the second World Share/Transport Forum in China – 2011

There are at least two preparatory projects that I would like us to discuss now — and then take a decision one way or another to advance as a priority to lay the groundwork for a truly successful 2011 China conference.

1. Share Transport City Audits

2. Green Transport City Audits

Why is this important — and why is it important now?

Well, if our goal is to organize a world-level international conference for 2011, it is time to get this train on the move now. And more than that, we need to create a situation where there is (a) a real base of at least good knowledge if not a lot of accomplishment yet in the area of share/transport in China (something that we were not able to succeed in doing in Kaohsiung and Taiwan since we were working on a far too tight schedule) and as part of that (b) creating real interest in cities and agencies around the country in our three day (??) event in our Chinese host city next year. In a phrase, we need to start to prepare the terrain for our building.

Let me try again this in a few additional words. The idea that we are proposing is not just to have a host city and a swilling sponsor some an “interesting topic” for transportation guys in different places. No, We want to use this to take a serious step in advancing the share/transport agenda as a real option to the other worse ways of organizing transport in cities. And we want to make it known to the world that this is something that is already being given serious consideration in China. (Are we agree on this objective??)

(Our task in these early stages is to find out and to do what is needed to get through to the key people who can make this project work in China, so that they understand the deep seriousness and rightness of this approach. This is easy to say, but we need to find a way to convince,. It should not be all that hard.)

For both audits, the idea will be to work with (a) a small core team and (b) local city partners (young talented people if we can find them in each case) to design and carry out a “quick and dirty” “audit” of their city, that is a quick survey of the operations and infrastructure that apply and define the field in that city. And in both cases the “infrastructure” extends not only to the physical environment but also the operators, institutions, and public practices that frame all activity and policy in each place.

Let me get the ball rolling here with a few first thoughts on the S/T City Audit (I’ll get to the Green Transport City Audit in the next note on this):

1. Our goal should be to invite all 19 of the NDRC cities to work with us on this. Now it may be that only some of them will want to get involved in the project as we lay it out. That’s OK. We want willing partners. Also I suggest that we hold the door open for other cities that may wish to do the same. (In fact, we could also make our tool kit available to other cities elsewhere who may wish to get involved in the actual conference.)

2. We would need a small core team here at the center to create the ‘audit toolkit’ and procedures, and then to coordinate with the local city teams.

3. The working language for the actual audits will of course be Chinese, but the end product, that is the reports in each case, should if the conference is going to be international be available in both languages.

4. I would like to participate in this project from beginning to end (despite my ignorance of Chinese .. we should be able to work something out), and I know Rory certainly does and possibly Jane. IN addition we would need to have two bring young (hopefully bilingual) colleagues ready and able to team work on this with us step by step (at least one female please). (I thought that they might be among the qualified graduate students of either Nan or Jason.) It would incidentally be a wonderful opportunity for those young people to get right into the middle of 21st century planning and policy in the sector.

5. The idea is to make the audit very straight forward for our city partners. We will want them to develop no more than a couple of pages on each of the main S/T modes, with more on streetsharing and institutional aspects. I see the final reports in all cases being easy to read and analyze because they have a pretty standard format of presentation, We don’t need to go to try to go too far or too fast, but some solid first steps will be really important.

6. Each of these presentations can also be developed as key support documents for the Conference, and the teams behind them will be given an opportunity to present them, take questions and lead discussions during the conference

Now, this is either a good idea or it is not. And if it is a good idea, then we already need to start to build it into our program package, including even for next week’s discussions with Mrs. Liu Li Ya.

Your views? And then next steps?

Eric

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