16 December 2004

16/12. New Mobility Honor Roll - An Exchange

Thursday, December 16, 2004, Paris, France, Europe
This exchange started with a proposed statement to our several transportation fora, with a response by the ever-interesting Chris Bradshaw, a well known and respected regional planner and green activist from Ottawa (hearth@ties.ottawa.on.ca) who tackles the challenge from the particular perspective of the role of carsharing in a more sustainable transportation system.

Your further comments are welcome either here or via NewMobility@yahoogroups.com.


-----Original Message-----
From: EcoPlan, Paris [mailto:eric.britton@ecoplan.org]
To: 'Sustran-discuss@jca.ax.apc.org'
Subject: New Mobility Honor Roll - For comment

This is to invite you to review and comment on this closing section of our working papers being developed in support of the 20/20 New Mobility Target Initiative (latest version available from us at postmaster@ecoplan.org. I hope you enjoy it and look forward to your comments, corrections, additions and suggestions so that we can make this more useful and definitive.

Regards, Eric Britton


New Mobility Agenda Precursors

"If I have seen further [than others] it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."
- Isaac Newton, in a storied letter of 1675 to Robert Hooke

The more we discuss this approach with knowledgeable colleagues around the world, the more we are hearing that it seems plausible that a city should target something on the order of 20% reductions of peak hour traffic and pollution within a 20 month target period. But in many ways, there is nothing altogether new in this (other than the package).

20/20 and the New Mobility Agenda are part of a long line of sustainability innovation in the transportation sector, where brave and far-sighted innovators have gotten behind a new concept and make it work. The truth, as another Englishman William Blake put it long ago, is that “God is in the details”.

That said, it gives us great pleasure to take this final moment to identity what we regard as some of the most outstanding precursors to the ideas that are presented in these pages. Of course everyone will have their own list, but here is ours. (I am sure that you will have corrections and candidates of your own, and if so please do let us hear from you.)

New Mobility Honor Roll

1. Circa 120 A.D., Rome. The Emperor Hadrian purported to say of Rome traffic: “This luxury of speed destroys its own aim: a pedestrian makes more headway than a hundred conveyances jammed end to end along the twists and turns of the Scared Way.” (That said, he then proceeded to do nothing about it. Sound familiar?)
2. 1 958, New York. Demonstrations of neighbors of the Washington Square Park block proposed extension of Fifth Avenue, which would have eliminated this popular park and social oasis.
3. 1961, New York. One of the ringleaders of the 1958 demonstration, Jane Jacobs, publishes the path-breaking The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Vintage Books opening up the discussions of car restraint in cities
4. 1950s-1970s, German, Austrian, Swiss cities hold on to their tramways while the rest of the world “modernizes” with diesel buses. ROW takes a full generation to learn the lesson.
5. 1950-1960s, Washington D.C. City holds on to its shared taxis, permitting it to offer cheap, frequent friendly transport while others look on and scratch their heads.
6. 1960s, Sweden. Färdtjänst (I need a bit of Swedish help on this). Provision of ‘car like’ transport for elderly and handicapped via community deal with taxi drivers. Now operating daily in virtually all cities in all Nordic countries and spreading.
7. 1965. Amsterdam. Witte Fietsenplan -White Bicycles Community Bike Project established by Luud Schimmelpennink with the city government. The press announced that the project had “failed” within a year as all the old bikes pretty much disappeared. Failure? Today there are scores of such community bike projects in cities around the world drawing on this path-breaking example.
8. Mid-sixties, Hamburg. City creates a unified fare/pass system for all public carriers.
9. 1968, Groningen, Netherlands. First neighborhood Woonerf The goal of this at first entirely illegal project led by local residents was to claim back the street for cars and create safe space for people, after several mortal accidents involving children and cars.
10. 1969, Copenhagen city engineers decides to attack traffic build-up in his city by using congestion as a traffic control tool. Thus in a number of cases when a specific traffic bottle neck was reported, his decision was to do nothing about it, or to make it worse. In fact, the traffic “went away” When asked where it went, he responded: “Traffic is smart. If it can’t move it just does away”. (And he was and is right.)
11. 1965, Curitiba. City launches first round of attempts to integrate transportation, land use and urban development in its first Master Plan, later leading to one of the developing world’s premier model of innovation in the sector.
12. 1970s, USA. HOV (high occupancy vehicle) reserved lanes and roads slowly come into being, with the goals of travel time savings and improved trip reliability of to provide incentives for individuals to change from driving alone to carpooling, vanpooling, or riding the bus. Currently, there are 96 HOV projects on freeways and in separate rights-of-way in 30 metropolitan areas in North America. These account for approximately 2,000 centerline miles of HOV lanes.
13. 1973, Portland, Oregon. Mayor Neil Goldschmidt's administration, following the move of the Oregon Legislature to adopt the US’s first set of land-use planning laws, puts them to work in their city and goes on to become on of US’s outstanding sustainability practitioners, emphasizing mixed use, walkable neighborhood located rail transit. Residents tend to own fewer cars and drive less than in more automobile-oriented communities
14. 1973. Zurich U-Bahn project voted down in referendum. Leading the city to tackle its transportation problems on the surface and in time to create one of the world’s most sustainable transportation system. (See. http://ecoplan.org/politics/general/zurich.htm for details.)
15. 1974, Paris. The massive "Voie Express Rive Gauche" urban highway project of French government abandoned by incoming President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing under pressure from environment activist led by Rene Dumont.
16. 1974, Amsterdam. First Witkar electric carsharing station (another Schimmelpennink project) opens for business. Project hung on for close to a decade with minimum government support, and by end had more than 4000 users.
17. 1974, USA. TDM -- Transportation-demand management,: "the art of influencing traveler behavior for the purpose of reducing or redistributing travel demand." Concept institutionalized as part of transportation management system requirement and joint planning regulations set by Federal Highway Administration and Urban Mass Transportation Administration
18. 1975, Paris. Carte Orange, monthly transport pass provides unlimited access to all parts of public transport system to pass holders.
19. 1975, Singapore. Area Licensing Scheme (First road pricing scheme.)
20. 1982, Gothenburg, Sweden. First Taxi-80 centralized, computer-based roving fleet dispatching system deployed by Volvo Transportation Systems. Over the decade spread to several dozen cities across mainly Europe where it is today increasingly standard practice.
21. Late 1980s, Germany and Switzerland. After years of small scale projects carsharing begins to emerge as a signification transportation option.
22. 1989, San Francisco. Construction of Embarcadero Freeway of Interstate 480 terminated by public reactions and political pressure after earthquake. Only The Stub was left.
23. 1994, Toledo, Spain. Thursday: Breakthrough Strategies for Transport in Cities". First international call for Car/Free Day experimentation.
24. 1994, Hertfordshire, UK. First small scale Walk to School program meets some small success and by 200 leads to International Walk to School program. This year more than 3 million children walked to school in more than 30 countries during the 2-4 October celebrations.
25. 1995, Lancaster UK. Journal of World Transport Policy and Practice founded: aims to provide validated information about latest developments in sustainable transport policy and practice to enable local authorities, governments, consultancies, NGOs and supra national organizations to speed up policy development and implement new ideas from around the world.
26. 1996, Reykjavik, La Rochelle, and Bath organize first car/free day projects.
27. 1997, UK. Clear Zones program created to reduce pollution and traffic in towns through partnerships between cities, industry, academia and Government.
28. 2000, Bogota. First mega-carfree day project in third world city takes 850,000 cars off the city streets for 13 hours, leads to a major revision in the transportation system, and wins Stockholm Challenge Prize for Environment with The Commons.
29. 2003, London. Congestion Charging Scheme (changes the face of road pricing as a policy tool for transport in cities). Awarded the World Technology Prize for Environment for outstanding achievement in San Francisco celebration on 5 October 2004.

Before we leave this behind us, let’s take a moment to reflect on what these couple of dozen brave innovational approaches have in common as we look ahead to ways in which each and all of us can do our bit to advance the New Mobility Agenda and all it stands for:

· Relative to most Old Moblity projects, they cost very little money.
· Most of them had small beginnings, and only once the principals behind them are proven do they take off.
· None of them have any of the “magic bullet” connotations that many of the larger old mobility projects often conjure up (and use to get support needed to get funded and built).
· All are intensely political.

Overall, and in conclusion: all of these projects and experiments are moving in a board common direction -- and that is straight toward what we call the New Mobility Agenda: each as one small part of interactive complexes of transportation arrangements that work together to get us out of traffic and out of our cars when they simply no longer make sense, and still get us where we want to go, if anything quicker, fresher, healthier and cheaper than ever.

From: Chris Bradshaw
To: Asia and the Pacific sustainable transport
Subject: [ New Mobility Honor Roll - For comment


A most impressive list. Thanks for pulling together your thoughts.

Although there is much to do to promote the ideas you mention so that they are more widespread, there are many ideas yet to be "planted." Does New Mobility have some to promote?

When you were posting it, I was attending a two-day meeting of carshare organizations from across North America.

I find carsharing to be only the beginning of many additional innovations, primarily because it breaks down car-access into the smallest practical units, the hour and the kilometre, making ownership or exclusive access unnecessary and even inferior.

1. The opportunity to link housing and car-access so that a housing unit comes with access to one or more cars and other vehicles, with the billing integrated into the rent or house payments. This linking will show up both in a) zoning rules that should either relax or eliminate the minimum parking requirements when such an arrangement exists and in b) the minds of housing consumers and their bankers who link in their minds the two markets, realizing that when car-sharing is available, immense savings are possible, freeing up income for increased housing quality.

2. A similar situation should occur with employment. A job should provide access to a workplace car, both for business travel and personal travel for trips starting and ending at the place of work. How many people would forego driving a car to work if they had such access _at_ the place of work? How many employers would appreciate avoiding the choice between a) providing cars for business travel and b) requiring the employee provide such a vehicle, knowing that cars were available at the workplace that could be used (and for personal trips as well). And this car-access would have its maintenance and allocation-system provided by others for a lump monthly fee? Finally, it would open the door for the employer to start showing some interest in the challenges employees face in not just commuting to their workplaces, but other transportation as well. After all, transportation costs, as the #2 item on the employee's budget, is worth a look in terms of reducing it, and therefore reducing upward pressure on wages and on health and lost-time costs.

3. With a growing fleet of these cars, their superior qualities when used as _rideshare_ vehicles will become quite apparent. There will be no restriction on any of the riders taking the wheel -- especially important when the driver is ill or away on vacation -- thus keeping the arrangement going without glitches. There will be no need for participants, alternately, to each have their own car, so that a daily or weekly rotation can be effected. Or finally, there will be no need to buy special pool vehicles (mini-buses), when suitable cars are available. _And_, such arrangement will be ideal to make carsharing itself workable in suburbs, where few locations can optimize both weekday carshare demand and evening and weekend carshare demand (unlike the denser, more mixed-use older areas), and thus the best optimization will require the cars to move between the residential and workplace locations each workday.

4. Finally, it is a small step to allow shared-cars-as-pooled-cars to "graduate" to becoming part of the transit system. Not only would a good dose of technology allow shared cars to be used for one-way trips (being dropped off at stations other than where they were picked up, to be used for "nested" trips in which, while user A is visiting a destination for three hours, user B uses the car for an errand), but each _seat_ in such vehicles could -- either at rush hour or at other high-volume periods -- become separate units, assigned by the central computer to individual riders waiting at joint transit-shared-car depots as parts of longer but more direct commutes. A shared car could be picked up by a driver who then follows a pick-up schedule within his neighbourhood as dictated by a dashboard screen, dropping off some of his riders at stations along the way, picking up replacements, and eventually ending up near his place of work, perhaps with a couple riders still aboard, but with one of these getting the "assignment" to assume the driver's seat and continue taking instructions until reaching his/her workplace, with the vehicle eventually being parked in a workplace for various single-user trips, until getting used for an evening multi-commute to a neighbourhood.

5. In smaller rural communities, shared cars could have an even more versatile role. Where such communities lack a transit or even a taxi service, let along car-rental or delivery service, the shared vehicles could serve all these, with an insurance system that would allow the vehicles to be used for people to drive others for hire. Such versatility could be especially important where the demand for any one service is not great enough for a dedicated vehicle, but there would be enough for the vehicle serving the range of uses over the day and week, with perhaps the city magistrate's staff playing the role of vehicle/system provider and "referee" between the various users.

Think of the results:

- the reductions in the # of vehicles to be accommodated on our roads and in parking lots (and in store sizes)
- the reductions in driving, especially in neighbourhoods
- the reduction in manufacturing costs
- the increase in vehicle maintenance
- the reduction in vehicle size in terms of being big enough for the trip and no more.
- the reduction in cold-engine starts
- the opportunities to monitor and control driver behaviour
- the increase in access by the poor to motor-vehicle use at modest costs (and less resort to owning/using very old, unreliable cars)
- the increased quality of vehicles manufactured for such a market.
- the increase in viability of stores and services within walking distance (and thus a resuscitation of main streets)

Chris Bradshaw, Ottawa
(pedestrian advocate and carshare provider)


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