Category Archives: politics

A Mayor’s Eye View of Sustainable Transportation

The letter that follows is, as you will quickly surmise, not an actual communication from one elected official in one case, but rather a composite, the distillation of experience that I have had over these last years of trying to push the sustainable transportation agenda in many parts of the world, almost always in conjunction and in dialogue with mayors and other city leaders. As you will see, it is not that they are adverse to or not interested in the concepts behind sustainable transportation and sustainable cities. It is just that they have a lot of other things on their mind, including staying on top day after day of the considerable challenges of managing their city and, in not very long, once running again for reelection. This is the political reality of which those of us who would be agents of change must be aware, that politics is the art of the possible. Now let me turn the stage over to the mayor: Continue reading

Gore Criticizes Obama for Record on Climate

Gore Criticizes Obama for Record on Climate From the New York Times, 22 June 2011: “Former Vice President Al Gore sharply criticized President Obama as lacking leadership on climate changein a magazine essay published online Wednesday, saying his policies had been little more effective than those of President George W. Bush. In the 7,000-word article in Rolling Stone, Mr. Gore said . . . ” Climate of Denial Can science and the truth withstand the merchants of poison? – By Al Gore, Rolling … Read More

via World Streets: The New Mobility Agenda

City as a time capsule: Urban highway construction mania still booming in 2011

Transport planning and policy in Lahore Pakistan today, as reported by public policy consultant Hassaan Ghazali, looks like something out of a moss-covered time capsule: a tawdry reminder of  the kind of old mobility thinking, interest-wrangling and mindless investments of taxpayer money that challenged and in many cases helped destroy the urban fabric of cities across North America and in many other parts of the world half a century ago. It would be nice to think that such a time was long gone. After having paid the high price cities like Seoul, Portland, Paris and many others have managed to reverse the perverse trends of the much-heralded Urban Highway Age. But as Ghazali reports, it’s 2011 these ideas are alive and breathing fire in Lahore and many cities across the Subcontinent. And, sad to say, in many other parts of the world as well.  How can we get this message out and do our bit to reverse these trends?  Well, by reporting on it. Continue reading

Op-Ed. Time to put a stake in the ground

Our friend and occasional contributor from Lahore Pakistan, Hassaan Ghazali, is a very severe critic not only of transport policy and practice in his country, but also of the many cultural and political facts of life which form the fundamental bedrock of the decisions which shape (or misshape) the sector (and with it our day-to-day lives). Bad decisions, very bad decisions in our sector, are rarely just accidents or one-off occurrences. They are deeply embedded, almost invisible to most, and there are entrenched reasons behind them, whether in Pakistan, Paris or Peoria. Here he explores man/car/technology relationships which can be seen in many places around the world. In short, most of us have a problem with the car. But it’s not the car that is the problem. It’s us. That’s the first thing we need to come to grips with. All of us in fact. Read on. Continue reading

Fix Sustainable Transport: Ensure Full Gender Parity in all Decision and Investment Fora

Fix Sustainable Transport: Ensure Full Gender Parity in all Decision and Investment Fora Today is International Women’s Day. And not only that, 2011 marks the one hundredth anniversary of this great and necessary idea. So what better occasion for World Streets to announce publicly, loudly and yet once again our firm belief that the most important single thing that our society, our nations and our cities could do to increase the fairness and the effectiveness of our transportation arrangements would be to make it a matter of the law that all decisions determining how taxpayer money is invested in the sector should be decided by councils that respect full gender parity. We invite you to join us in this challenge and make it one of the major themes of sustainable transport policy worldwide in 2011. . . . Read More

via World Streets: International Women’s Day

Sustainable transport and the modernisation of urban transport in Delhi and Stockholm

This article addresses from an Indo-Swedish perspective issues of the development of transport systems taking its examples from Delhi and Stockholm. The introduction of the first bus rapid transport corridor in Delhi and the congestion tax in Stockholm is presented and discussed in terms of modernisation and sustainable transport. The authors explore the perceptions of politicians and examine the two projects in the search for the driving forces for transport policies. Despite all the differences, some similarities in the development of their urban transport projects have been found. The paper inquires into the planning and operationalisation of transport modernisation and the politics of sustainable transport.

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Transport, environment and public policy in hard times

On 2 December the managing editor of World Streets, Eric Britton, was invited by the organizers of the National Autumn Conference of ACT TravelWise to present the keynote address, following an opening presentation by Norman Baker, MP and Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for Transport of the just-elected UK coalition government. The theme of the conference was “The Right to Travel – Getting more for less” — and Britton was asked to bring in some international perspectives and possibly some less familiar ideas for the largely British audience after the Minister’s presentation. Continue reading

Rough trade on the streets of Bogota, much like here

Loved by the people for their extreme utility, abhorred by the state as a symbol of backwardness, cycle rickshaws – or pedicabs – are not a new phenomenon in India.  Originally from Japan, the hand-drawn rickshaw was introduced in Simla in India around 1880. It was, then, a vehicle to carry the social elite. By 1950, cycle rickshaws evolved into a popular mode of urban transport. Today, cycle rickshaws provide door-to-door transport at an affordable price to people in urban areas across India. Cycle rickshaws also provide easy employment to those wanting employment. At a time when economic opportunity in the hinterland is dwindling, many village folk come to the city and earn a living by pulling cycle rickshaws. Continue reading