After years of struggling with what seemed each time like promising concepts to inspire and orient public policy and private practices – words such as sustainable, green , smart, healthy, active, low-carbon or what have you transport or mobility — we have peeked outside the box and been inspired by the upsetting events of Arab Spring, Occupy and behind them the paralyzing and oh so unsustainable influences of massive income differences, North and South, East and West, to see if we can come up with the key to a truly sustainable transport policy. Which brought us to the concept equity. (Not quite equality, mind you, but more on that as the project advances.)
This summary is part of our in-process 2012 work plan which will be published in the coming week as part of a campaign to strengthen each of our main target programs for the year ahead. It is presently a draft and your comments and suggestions for improvement are warmly requested.
This has led to the most promising collaborative program ever to be launched over the 24 years of hard work and accomplishment under the New Mobility Agenda. The concept of creating a high-efficiency, economically viable, equity-based transport system for your city offers, if we may say so, an amazingly straight-forward , consistent, effective and checkable approach to transport policy and practice, in that once you understand and accept the basic principle a huge number of other good things follow, many of which surely at relatively low cost and rapid implementation.
Here is the ultimate key of an equity-based transport system: it combines cause and effect and in an interesting behavioral manner what makes it different from every other such concept. It is, as we say, thoroughly checkable . This means that you have only to look at one indicator in one place to see if you have achieved it — and that is on the streets of your city. To summarize: If the mayor, if all public servants, and if , en passant most of the top economic 10% of your community travel by the same means as the other 90%, you have an equitable mobility system. If not, well then not! (Let me invite you to run through your mind cities where you think this may be the case. Interesting, eh?)
This is not a matter of polemic, it is direct and pragmatic. Namely that if the leaders of your city are ready to commit on the record and in person to put aside their car for all day-to-day travel to and in the city, they will in the process come to develop a vivid first hand understanding of the problems that everyone else faces. And this in turn will in short order lead to solutions and improvements. Pain hurts. It’s that simple
But of course once you have queried, understood and established the basic principle, the real work begins. The creation of a competitive ex-solo-car transport system – remember, we are taking about a better-than-car mobility system that offers choices— is possible, but it requires effort, brains and fire in your belly to get there. But the final result — equity – efficiency — economy — will well be worth all that hard work it takes to get there. To know more about how this project is shaping up, let us point you to work in progress at http://Equity.WorldStreets.org, and on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/EquityTransport
For the first quarter of 2012 the emphasis is on gathering information and ideas from many sources. And also to benefit from comments and critiques from a wide range of source, negative and perhaps positive. We also are working with a leading European city to organize a month long collaborative probe, to test this idea in real world terms. It is going to be exciting and you should see the first results starting in April.
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Copies of the full draft report for all World Streets 2012 Focus Programs can be had at http://www.scribd.com/doc/80532876/World-Streets-2012-Focus-Programs