Mobilien: Better, Faster, Cheaper. . . than BRT (for Penang)

While Penang is thinking once again about its transportation arrangements, we are hearing a lot of late about BRT and tramways — and rightfully. Both a huge improvement over earlier proposals for a mad spaghetti mix of intrusive monorails, elevated LRT/LRV systems,  Sky Cabs hanging uselessly in the horizon, over-built road infrastructure projects  to serve and encourage yet  more car traffic, and a backbreaking  proposal for a sea tunnel that would bring yet more traffic into the island and in the process extend and multiply today’s traffic mess and associated inconveniencies

But before we make up our minds let’s also give a thought to another less well known mobility option, the Mobilien.  It may be just what you were looking for.

Paris Mobilien 1

Mobilien is the Paris version of what we know as a bus rapid transit system or a surface mass transport network. Paris has been doing its own version of “bus rapid transit” for decades, and after years of on-street operation and continuous fine-tuning they have now developed a system which they call the “Mobilien” – French for MOBI-lity plus “LIEN” which means link. Linking mobility.

The first Mobilien services hit the street in in Paris 2005, after a careful program  of  analysis and planning which involved taking a fresh look at and coordinating parking policies, delivery practices, treatment of intersections, priority traffic signals, and an increase in service frequencies between important traffic nodes and hubs. . . coordinating all these parts into a unified smart system offering much higher levels of service for their clients. A real competitor for taking your car. Better, and faster, and cheaper too.

Unlike the BRTs that many cities around the world are increasingly  looking at, the Mobilien solution adapts to different city contexts (i.e. street width and specific neighborhood dynamics). Mobilien doesn’t aim at producing high top speeds but making steady progress through the traffic stream. An important goal is to render the services more reliable and on time. To make the project possible, Paris’ officials eliminated much on-street parking to create dedicated bus lanes that are shared with bicycles, taxis and emergency vehicles.

Let’s have a look.

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Groningen: The World’s Cycling City

It’s no secret that just about anywhere you go in the Netherlands is an incredible place to bicycle. And in Groningen, a northern city with a population of 190,000 and a bike mode share of 50 percent, the cycling is as comfortable as in any city on Earth. The sheer number of people riding at any one time will astound you, as will the absence of automobiles in the city center, where cars seem extinct. It is remarkable just how quiet the city is. People go about their business running errands by bike, going to work by bike, and even holding hands by bike.

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Great gaping chasms of public space (and private minds)

Just how bad are “best practices” when it comes to the streets and sidewalks of our cities?

When it comes to city streets it is truly weird what we seem to be placidly willing to accept as “normal”.

Sweden cartoon showing road space eaten by cars

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india delhi massive traffic jamZinnia Sidhu writes from Delhi

Delhi’s mindless traffic causing breakups since Papu learnt how to drive. The BIG WHITE elephant in the city. Oho! Not Papu, the traffic silly. The unnecessary evil. I genuinely believe that Delhiiets fortunately or unfortunately spend at least 50% of their waking hours in the car listening to Radio Mirchi, while simultaneously banging their heads on the steering wheel, texting, taking Instagram worthy shots, and not to mention swearing once in a while.

Picture this.

The Ring Road’s total length is 48km and is a six-lane carriageway. This was designed to carry about 75,000 vehicles a day. But the road carries 1.6 lakh vehicles per day and is expected to carry about 4 lakh vehicles by 2016!

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World Streets Proudly Supports the 2014 World Naked Bike Ride

World Naked Bike Ride Zaragoa Spain

Well, here we go again:  tomorrow is  World Naked Bicycle Ride Day.

WNBR is an annual worldwide bike ride that highlights the vulnerability of cyclists everywhere and decries society’s dependence on pollution-based transport. It is, in the organisers’ original words back in 2004, an international clothing-optional bike ride in which participants plan, meet and ride together en masse on human-powered transport (the vast majority on bicycles, but some on skateboards and inline skates), to “deliver a vision of a cleaner, safer, body-positive world. The dress code motto is “bare as you dare”.

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Dead End in Brazil: Interview with Bolivar Torres, O Globo Brazil.

Brazil Sao Paulo Traffic congestion

Getting to work in Sao Paulo

This is a video transcript of a 20 November 2013 interview with Bolivar Torres, Brazilian journalist with O GLOBO, a leading Brazilian newspaper.  Topic: Notably unsustainable transportation and trends in Brazilian cities — seen from an international perspective. What to do? How to move from today’s failing and inconsistent ad hoc policies which are not getting at the roots of the problems? Perhaps toward a New Mobility Agenda?  And what in anything might be introduced in time to improve traffic and life quality conditions for all during the coming World Cup and Olympics?

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Carsharing and parking space wars in one US city

short intro
“E. Assata Wright is a staff writer for the Hudson Reporter Newspaper Assoc. She lives in Jersey City, New Jersey.”

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