Welcome to World Streets Worst Practices Department

man sleeping under sidewalk - top half only

Since our founding in 2009 World Streets has given attention occasionally to poor, and at times desperately poor, policies and practices in the fields of cities and transportation, in what we call our Worst Practices Department. The WPD has its useful place in World Streets and the world more generally because when it comes to transportation there has never been a shortage of bad ideas and even worse implementations.

Most of the bad ideas you will see skewered in this section are the results of some variable combinations of hubris, avarice, haste, short-sightedness, self-interest, pure ego, and invariably sheer ignorance of the complexity of the 21st century mobility environment.  And of course all too often of sheer unbridled  stupidity. (And so it goes.)

“Not by wrath, but by laughter, do we slay.”

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Why I am Reasonably Optimistic about the Sustainability Transition

Transformative Realities and Trends for 2015-2020

eb-tallinn-statementOne of the great recompenses of having watched the sustainable transportation and related technology developments evolve over the course of several decades, is that if one takes the time to step back and scan the evidence for pattern breaks, one can readily spot a certain number of fundamental structural changes, quite a few of which bode well for a different and better future for transport in and around cities. Here are a handful of the fundamental underlying changes which I have spotted over the last decades and which I would like to share with you this morning.

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Op-Ed. The Old Transport Appraisal Shell Game: Who wins, who loses and what to do about it

Network Dispatches

scratching-headWhy 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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Op-ed: John Whitelegg on Time Pollution

World Streets: The Politics of Transport in Cities

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 centur

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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