Author Archives: Eric Britton, editor

What is an Equity-Based Transport System ?

little-girlWe understand that in the transport sector this is not a well known or much appreciated concept, at least in the positive sense we are trying to develop here, so we are making every effort to clarify. I was discussing this program the other day with a bright young woman from the Emirates who is on an MBA program here, who smiled at me indulgently as I asked her views and said: ‘Don’t you understand Eric, life is not fair”. That gives us, I would say, a good point of departure.

The first step in this process is to see if we can create a common understanding of our topic and the strategy that goes with it – bearing in mind the fact that in most cities in the world, probably all of them to be perfectly frank and accurate, our transportation arrangements are not equitable, indeed far from it. There are winners and losers from the present mobility arrangements, worse here, perhaps a bit better there.

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Delhi rape and Problem solving in India – eye opener.

Chetan Prasad comments:  Problem solving in India is very complex since several issues are interconnected. It’s like opening a Pandora’s Box. During this very incident I monitored several TV channels and news papers to understand the issue and what I found is here. Continue reading

Originally posted on Network Dispatches:

water animal wtpp

In this issue of WTPP we once again fo­cus on intelligent solutions to future trans­port that have the potential to shift us into a way of thinking and doing that avoids transgressing planetary boundaries. To­mas Björnsson draws attention to the ur­gent need for improved cycling facilities in southern Sweden that cost a small frac­tion of what is spent on highways. Martin Schiefelbusch shows how rural transport problems can be solved by community transport initiatives. Stephen Knight-Lenihan reveals the extent to which de­sirable sustainability objectives can be undermined by a lack of will at national level. His account of the situation in New Zealand will resonate strongly with the situation in many other countries. The ar­ticle by Serena Kang describes a “flexible bus utility model” that has the potential to more closely match the supply of bus services with the demand for those serv­ices and thereby increase levels of use of…

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Quality of Life in Urban Mobility- Policy Neglect of the Needs for Pedestrians

india-feet-bit-larger Tarun Sharma reports from New Delhi about safe walking  and quality of life in cities, with the help of two concepts of hierarchies. One is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and the other is the food chain. He looks at these two concepts not so much on scientific as  intuitive grounds. And he offers it not to solve a policy problem, but to state the obvious in an obvious way. His focus is on one of the aspects of city living, namely mobility. Continue reading

John Whitelegg on “Health in the sustainable city”

Some time back our very long time friend and associate, Professor of Sustainable Transportation and Sustainable Development John Whitelegg, was interviewed in Copenhagen and asked  how changes in transport systems can lead to a vast improvement in quality of life. We need to move from a world filled with metal and concrete to a world of green spaces and clean air, he explained.  Today, two years later, this short video has lost none of its validity or timeliness. Let’s have a look.

What are the three qualities that should characterize a sustainable city?

“There has to be a democratic element. We need people to express a view about what kind of city they want to live in, and what they want it to look like, and how they think it should develop over the next 10, 20, 30 years. And then a lot of that will then coincide with what experts and professionals call sustainability. So it would be a city, for example, that has a lot less noise, a lot better air quality, a lot less traffic, a lot more potential for people to stand around and talk and meet their neighbors and not be drowned by noise and disturbance and stink. The sustainable city is, first of all, a vast improvement in quality of life that ordinary people can detect and enjoy.”

What are the challenges that top the to-do list of cities around the world?
“The challenges tend to be things like how do we actually deal with the development of the city with growing population [and] growing levels of economic activity, things like water shortages and important resource problems that cities are facing. I would say that the main challenges are to actually reduce the amount of resources that we use, metal, concrete, and so on, to reduce carbon dioxide emissions—we have to tackle the climate change problem very significantly.”

What are the three most promising initiatives that would make living in cities more sustainable?

“The things that can be done and should be done are still a bit frightening for politicians, really, but they are about reallocating space, so that space is for people—and not for things that weigh a tonne and are made of metal and kill children when they hit them—and things that are green and things that are clean and things that are pleasant. We can look at car-free housing, getting rid of parking places, digging up and closing roads…. And people will have to adjust to that; they will have to adjust to a more pleasant, slower, more agreeable, healthier, friendly lifestyle.”

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About the author: 

Managing Director of Eco-Logica, John Whitelegg is Visiting Professor of Sustainable Transport at Liverpool John Moores University, Professor of Sustainable Development at the Stockholm Environment Institute, and founder and editor of the Journal of World Transport Policy and Practice. Research interests encompass transport and the environment, definition of sustainable transport systems and a sustainable built environment, development of transport in third world cities focusing on the relationships between sustainability and human health, implementation of environmental strategies within manufacturing and service industry and development of environmental management standards. He has published widely on these topics. John is active in the Green party of England and Wales and is the national spokesperson on sustainable development.

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About the editor: 

A quiet moment on India Streets

The vast editorial staff of India Streets is for the moment tied up with professional obligations and educational projects, so things have slowed down for a while in these pages. No worries, since during this interim you will find a steady flow of  useful information and discussions on our dedicated Facebook site here.   Continue reading

Helsinki’s Equity/Transport project kicks-off today

Today is the opening day of the 2012 Helsinki Equity-Based Transportation peer review program, the first in what we hope will become a growing thread of cooperating  city projects querying the impact of first reviewing and eventually restructuring our city and regional transportation systems around the fundamental core principle of equity. You will find details on the EBT site at http://equitytransport.wordpress.com/ starting at noon today. Continue reading

Gauging the socio-economic impacts of future urban transport initiatives

As we set out on the first of the city programs organized in this pioneering Equity/Transport series, the Helsinki project that gets underway on 1 March, it  is useful to bear in mind that to fully understand the concept of equity as a major driver of policy in the sector requires that we move well beyond the more traditional techniques of investment and impact analysis such as cost-benefit analysis. The authors take direct aim at this issue when they state: “The classical cost-benefit analysis, then, needs to be replaced by a socio-economic impact assessment methodology (SEIA) to get a measure of expected benefits and costs to different groups.”  So without further ado let’s turn to see what the authors have to share with us on this important topic.
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Message from Kaohsiung


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Einstein on your mind

Equity-Based Transportation Planning, Policy and Practice: First Helsinki project announcement

This week we initiate work on the first stages of preparatory organization in support of an “open conversation” looking into the pros and cons, the possibilities and eventual impossibilities,  of creating an equity-based transportation system at the level of a city and the surrounding region.  This first pioneering project, in which we hope will become a series of leading world city projects building on this first example, is being carried out under the leadership of  the Helsinki Department of City Planning and Transportation, and is running over the period mi-February through mid-April.

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Equity/Transport: From the slums of Nairobi

We present this here as one of a series of such postings which are intended to serve as food for thought and broader background on our topic as lived and seen from different angles and environments around the world, as we move ahead on the key cooperative program in Helsinki. Continue reading

Progress report and work plan for 2012 – For comment and finalization

The Streets of India  got underway in September 2010 following up on the first World Share/Transport Forum held in Kaohsiung Taiwan. The idea of a joint project was launched as a result of the enthusiasm  expressed by the Indian delegation, most of whom still at the PhD or early career stage. The idea was that we would work together over the next two years to lay the base for organizing the third World Forum in India The second conference took place in Sept. 2011 in Changzhi China. And 2012? In India as we had hoped? Continue reading

Weekend leisure: Bollywood Bicycle Boogie’s back

Take a break. It’s the weekend. And even if you have seen some of these before, let’s invite you to take your head out of that fat report and come with Navdeep Asija and me to the movies in India, the Bollywood Bicycle Boogie. The idea behind World Streets has from the beginning been to seek out and share universal lessons, from specific times and different places but which, with a bit of thought, can open up our eyes, ears and hearts to many things, including with a bit of luck to ourselves and our own limitations and quirks. For this Sunday’s musing Navdeep brought us a packet of Bollywood films for your weekend viewing pleasure. Let me turn over the word to Navdeep so that he can explain it for himself: Continue reading

Is World Streets doing its job? We asked 100 experts for their views – - and 101 responded.

“World Streets needs to catch on before my feet get wet.” The  Netherlands

The results are there for all to see and judge. And we now know that we are going to need a literal world wide web of inputs, collaboration and other forms of support if we are to continue this independent international sustainability adventure in the year ahead. Is what we are doing useful and worthy of support? 101 of our readers picked up their pens and responded to our question. Continue reading

Network Media. (Do we know what we are doing?)

If that’s a question, then the answer is a resounding . . . kind of. The truth is that we are not embarrassed to say that when it comes to the new network media we are entirely improvising. On the net today there are no straight lines: everything changes so fast that what may look pretty good at one point may suddenly become absolutely  vital to our operations — or, at the other end of the spectrum,  deceive, or worse yet even offer some dangers. It is, in a phrase, a real existential drama, but since we are trying to communicate on a world wide scale, we really have no  chance but to try to take all these bits and pieces in hand and do with them the best we can.  E pur si muove! Continue reading

From the editor: Safe Streets? Who cares? (India apparently does.)

It is a truly dreadful thing for anyone, me for instance, to lay on you anything as hackneyed as: a picture is worth a thousand words. But let me run the risk and show you a couple of pictures and leave it to you to draw your own conclusions. The topic is the first round of reactions to our start-up 2012 collaborative project aiming at clarifying the concept of Safe Streets from a strategic planning and policy perspective. Continue reading