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 Climate Emergency / New Mobility Action Plan

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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Let’s have a look at the Copenhagenize Index for Bicycle Friendly Cities

Copenhagenize Index byble freinldy cities 2013In 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.

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World Streets Reference: ITDP Bike-Share Planning Guide

The following was initially posted in World Streets on 6 January 2014.  It  is reproduced  here with the key references in the hope that it wlll be of use to all those involved with or concerned by the proposed Bike Share project for George Town in 2015.

itdp bike-share guideMore than 600 cities around the globe have bike-share systems, and new systems are starting every year. The largest and most successful systems, in places such as China, Paris, London, and Washington, D.C., have helped to promote cycling as a viable and valued transport option.

The Institute for Transportation & Development Policy (ITDP) studied 25 bike-share systems throughout the world, analyzing which ones perform the best and why. That informed ITDP’s Bike Share Planning Guide, which has copious data and fascinating charts to pore over, helping cities create bike-share systems that will thrive

This guide evaluates international best practice in bike-share, helps to bridge the divide between developing and developed countries’ experiences to provide guidance on planning and implementing a successful bike-share system regardless of the location, size, or density of your city. For more information on the growth of bike-share systems, watch this Streetfilms video, Riding the Bike Share Boom.

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World Streets on Public Bicycle Systems and City Cycling

i feel good todayThe “humble” bicycle has a major role in 21st century cities, large or small, North or South, rich or poor. Getting city cycling right is a matter of high priority when it comes to local and planetary environmental impacts, solid economics, affordability, fossil fuel and resource savings, public health, equity, democracy and quality of life. For all of those of our cities around the world who have over the last decades bought into the car-plus-speed lifestyle without giving it much thought, getting this transition right is a significant technical, social and political challenge.

Fortunately there is a large and fast expanding base of experience and information on the topic, which should guarantee success for all those who are not too lazy or in too much in a hurry to do their homework properly and lay a successful base for their project.

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