Category Archives: Cars

Equity and common sense: What is the non-car majority and how do we serve them best?

When it comes to investing in the transport sector, we make continue to make some strange choices.  In city after city around the world we are spending hard-earned taxpayer money for a distinct transportation minority of all citizens and voters. What’s going on here? Continue reading

Op-Ed: A rethinking of what parking is in the first place

“If your parking policy debates are going in circles, there is a good chance the protagonists are ‘framing’ parking in totally different ways.”  (Let’s see what Paul Barter of Reinventing Parking had to say  on this earlier today in Singapore.) Continue reading

Honk! Getting off the ox (when it comes to cars and cities).

There is a bit of ancient Hindu  wisdom that goes, roughly: How can a man riding an ox and looking for an ox, ever find the ox.  The answer being of course, only when he gets off the ox. Thus it is in life, but for many of us it is somewhere between hard and impossible to ever get off the ox of our perceptions and set values. But there are, thankfully, creative people who can do this.

Here by way of a quick warm-up is one quick demonstration of this off-the-ox approach from the lively mind of Jean Tinguely of his Cyclograveur, in short a bicycle that, as you pant and pedal, paints beautiful (?!?) pictures. And now t for your weekend reading pleasure let’s have a look at what our friends over at Streetsblog have just reported on another more timely off-the-ox transportation project, this time by the ever-ingenious Chris Burden with his post-Tinguely road-wrapping machine, Metropolis II.  Off we go. Continue reading

Man and car: Who is driving whom this morning?

What is it about what the English call a motor car that, when an otherwise perfectly decent human enters it and slams the door shut, somehow there is a total transformation of that person gripping the stirring wheel into something, into someone who is just a little bit less decent and a little bit less human. A consistent theme of World Streets is that over the last hundred years or so our cars have not only transported us but they have also in the process also transformed us.  Oops. And in the process they have fatally (I chose my word) altered the dimensions of the space in which we live our daily lives, and in the same process made this thing that was supposed simply to transport us from A to B at our leisure, into a defining part of our daily lives — and indeed in some ways part of ourselves. A cruel critic might say, half Faust and half Frankenstein. Continue reading

Safe Streets defining principles: Remembering Donald Appleyard

Safe Streets is a collaborative worldwide project which will aggressively network over the whole of 2012 in our search for shaping ideas with some of the leading thinkers, groups and programs in the field , looking to the future but also not forgetting the past — including drawing attention to the defining contributions of a certain number of leading thinkers. teachers, writers and sustainability activists, who are no longer with us but who through their work have laid down some of the most important principles which we now need to recall and take into account as we move to create a broad common framework for sustainable streets all over the world. For those of you who do not already know about the formidable vision and work of Donald Appleyard, we have pulled together a collection of reference points that should give you a good first introduction, and at the end of this piece some additional reference materials for those wishing to go further (as indeed you should).
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Man – > Technology – > Speed – > Distance – > Destruction of proximity

This out of control bulimic spiral begins with man’s uncontrollable tool-making itch, and from thence ,and unknown to us at the time, to tools which take on transforming lives of their own — one of which in the domain of mobility being ever-increasing speed, which in turn leads to ever-increasing distances, and which finally and in largely unnoticed fatal tandem destroys the reality and oh-so important qualities of proximity and community. That’s the deal and facing all this is the challenge of this collaborative project for 2012. What we thought was merely more convenient transportation, has snuck up on us and turned into very inconvenient and altogether unanticipated transformation. Continue reading

“I prefer corruption to pollution”

The full message from Todd Edelman — as part of a discussion on the Sustran/Global South forum of attempts to limit parking in cities through regulation, which sometimes achieve at least some of their objectives, and at other times risk to open up opportunities for favoritism and corruption –reads: “Briefly (and simplistically): I prefer corruption to pollution.”  Now I find this a terrific provocative thought and while I leave you to sort that one out for yourself, here’s a bit of context on this important, powerful, unambiguous,  but nonetheless largely ignored policy issue behind his contentious phrase. Continue reading

The New Mobility Agenda gets a hearing in Barcelona with a “Come argue with me” session

This is to invite you to “attend” at least part of a session of a conference that is to take place next week in Barcelona on the topic of “Smart Cities”. You can find full information on the conference here, along with links to all working papers and videos that will be presented over the four days  The particular bit I would like to point you to is my keynote talk and challenge which opens the plenary on “Urban mobility: Achieving social efficiency”. A full set of working notes and background materials for my presentation is available here. As you will note I have serious reservations about pushing the concept of a “smart city”, which to my mind is a pretty loaded phrase, complete with tandem mindset. I invite your comments and critical remarks on any of the points that appear here, and I shall try to deal with them as possible. Thanks in advance. The final talk will be available on video, as will the presentations for all the speakers in this interesting session. Continue reading

Eyes on the streets: Luis in Quito Ecuador

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A car to improve lives

What is that famous definition of an intelligent person? Someone who can keep two contradictory ideas in mind without her head exploding? Here is pretty interesting test of this for our more thoughtful anti-car friends.  And yes of course, your comments, caveats, etc. are warmly welcome. Let’s turn this one around a bit and have a look at it in the cold light of day. Continue reading

World Vehicle Population Tops 1 Billion

The number of vehicles in operation worldwide surpassed the 1 billion-unit mark in 2010 for the first time ever. According to Ward’s research, which looked at government-reported registrations and historical vehicle-population trends, global registrations jumped from 980 million units in 2009 to 1.015 billion in 2010.  – By John Sousanis. WardsAuto.com, Aug 15, 2011 9:00 AM Continue reading

IV. The Female Quotient: Next steps on World Streets – Leadership Profiles

After the first article in this series appeared in these pages on July 27th, more than fifty people from a dozen countries responded with suggestions and nominations for profiles of outstanding women who through their work, character and originality are, quite literally, shaping and re-shaping the transportation agenda. Based on that strong response, their quality and the evident interest in the topic, we have decided to see if we can work with those making these nominations to provide a series of leadership profiles to improve the international visibility concerning the contributions that women are making in the field at all the key levels involved. Continue reading

Car Crazy: Lee Schipper on the Perils of Asia’s Hyper-Motorization

Our old friend and long time colleague Lee Schipper is sitting in a hospital bed in Berkeley California today, and since your editor is stuck in Paris and can’t visit him, we thought that while he gets his strength back we would  reach into our and others archives and publish a series of pieces to celebrate his deep knowledge of all that World Streets is about, his  excellent judgement and his world level communications skills. (And if you have something by Lee that you would like to share with our readers as we wait for him to swing back into action, please send it on.)

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Toward a new paradigm for transport in cities: Let’s see what Carlos Pardo has to say

The Stuttgart conference of Cities for Mobility this year represented an important step forward in the construction of a well-defined agenda for new mobility that up until the present time has been sadly lacking. But what we have managed to develop over the last two decades is a certain number of basic principles spanning many different areas and kinds of operational situations, but somehow until now we have failed to put them all together into a well-defined, convincing operational and policy package. We think of this as the move toward a new paradigm for transport in cities – and it all starts with . . . slowing down. Continue reading

Going down? Newman and Kenworthy on Peak Car Use

This is an important article. It  appears simultaneously in the Summer of 2011 edition of our sister publication, the Journal of World Transport Policy and Practice. With a view to ensuring its broadest international readership we are posting it here with pleasure, and with permission of the authors. We do this with particular interest on the grounds that their central thesis — that is, our faster than one might have expected evolving attitudes toward car ownership and use — is one that is central to the preoccupations of World Streets and all our associated programs. Continue reading

Every day is a great day to take a few cars off the street and think about it.

Mid-year 2011 update at World Car Free Days
Here you have a quick update of the materials and sources available on the topic from the World Car Free Days Consortium and several other key sources.

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Free Parking Is for Socialists

Down with Free Auto Parking! Up with Free Market Parking!

– by Michael Andersen

THERE’S NOTHING like watching the degenerates of NW 23rd to make you wonder when liberal America’s war on families is going to end.

What frightens me most about this neighborhood isn’t the decadence. It’s the entitlement. These people now insist that the rest of us open our wallets to extend them special benefits at public expense.

I’m speaking, of course, of free automobile parking. Continue reading

Moving Beyond the Automobile – Exit Parking

The tenth and final video in Streetfilms’ Moving Beyond the Automobile series, looks into the necessary reasons and some of the techniques for parking reform. While the context is New York City, the  lessons are universal. From doing away with mandatory parking minimums, to charging the right price for curbside parking, to converting on-street parking spots into parklets and bike corrals, cities are latching onto exciting new ideas to make more room for people in our cities and repurpose the valuable public space that lines our streets. Continue reading