Can your city learn some lessons from Malta when it comes to proving fair mobility for all, including those with mobility handicaps? (Lessons that they themselves are, ever so sadly, not learning. At least not thus far. ) Let me put this in other, stronger words. If your city is not giving careful attention to these equitable pedestrian issues, well you are living in a seriously underdeveloped, inequitable, third-rate city. Face it! Let us hear what Kevin Cutajar of the Gozo Federation Persons with Disability has to say on this as he goes eye to eye with government authorities on this important issue. If he does not speak up, who will?
Lyon, 23 November 2014
Dear Penang Friends and Participants in the Sustainable Penang/New Mobility Agenda program,
An end-year note from Lyon to let you know that in the year ahead my colleagues and I intend to persist in our efforts to support the efforts to bring sustainable transport to Penang. For the time being and to keep the project alive, this takes the form of (a) maintaining our Sustainable Penang/New Mobility Agenda website at https://sustainablepenang.wordpress.com (currently being kept up to date and followed by 153 people both in Penang and beyond) and the supporting Facebook site at https://www.facebook.com/SustainablePenang (117). (You can see a bit more about how these information and exchange points are working in the two maps at the end of this posting.)
After careful consideration I have come to two policy conclusions about the reality of the transport situation in Penang which I firmly believe are critical to your future and which I would now like to share with you. Good news, and less good news.
Why is it that virtually every major transport project built in the last decades in just about any part of the world has cost a great deal more than the original engagement, and served far fewer people than originally forecast? And since this pattern repeats itself time and again, and since in the process the one who ends up holding the bag every time is the hard-working and apparently infinitely gullible taxpayer, it is possible to come to a conclusion. And that has to be that, up to now at least, we are terminally stupid, we fall for the same old trick every time. Why is that, and what are its implications for the quality of mobility services in your city and metro area? We invited Dr. Colin Black who is currently working to get a handle on these issues from an overall European perspective to share his thoughts with us.
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This out of control bulimic spiral begins with man’s uncontrollable tool-making itch, and from there, and utterly 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. What we thought at the time was merely more convenient transportation, has snuck up on us and turned into very inconvenient and altogether unanticipated transformation — in fact one of the most intractable challenges of transport policy and practice of the 21sr century
How to break this vicious spiral? Well in cities anyway the key is clearly significant, strategic speed reduction in combination with a phased, multi-step systemic overall as needed to create a truly optimized mobility system for all. And…
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This issue of World Transport Policy and Practice is a significant milestone in the life of the journal. It marks 20 years of publication and for anyone with a serious interest in understanding the importance of transport, the links between transport, mobility and accessibility and the links with sustainability, health and quality of life, there is more than enough material here to work on.
At the outset we chose to emphasise the word “policy” and that remains a strong focus. 20 years of publication have examined policy in detail, more often the lack of intelligent policy, but always with a keen eye on “this is what we have to do if we want to improve things”. There is now no excuse for anyone anywhere in the world to sit at his or her desk on a Monday morning and wonder how to sort things out. The answers lie in our freely available archives.
In the context of our search for creating a method for reliably and usefully benchmarking the sustainable transport performance of cities around the world – see http://worldstreets.wordpress.com/tag/benchmarking/ for first background – we would like to address our readers’ attention to the Copenhagenize Index for Bicycle Friendly Cities. In this short article you will find background information and reference on how they carry it out, as well as links to their results and conclusions.
We intend to continue to seek out and report on important benchmarking projects that can help us in our own thinking and efforts to create a more general approach to understanding city performance in the face of the tough challenges of sustainable transport, sustainable cities and sustainable lives. In addition to performance indicators for city cycling we are inventorying the state of the art in such areas as walking, public transport performance, parking, car restraint, mobility for specific underserved groups, shared transport, etc. Stay tuned.