SUMMARY: Might we put our heads together and develop a high profile, international cooperative platform for discerning an annual International CarFree CityMessage 1 of 6 , Jul 9, 2000View SourceSUMMARY: Might we put our heads together and develop a high profile,
international cooperative platform for discerning an annual International
CarFree City Honor Role???
* * *
I don't normally chime in here (CarFree eGroups discussion list at
CarFree@egroups.com), though I do follow your exchanges with some interest.
But here is an excellent reason, to my way of thinking, for me to pitch in
here. Let me take this in several steps:
1. Mr. Potts of Oklahoma City wrote to CarFree eGroups on this date as
follows: "I hope to relocate in the next year or two. When I do so, I will
be looking to live some place where I can consider ditching my car. Does
anyone rank places according to their pedestrian and transit friendliness?
If so, where are some of the best cities, towns, and neighborhoods?"
2. That's a great question Mr. Potts, and to the best of my knowledge no
such regularly updated 'honor roll' exists. But am I right in this? Can
anyone out there give Mr. Potts more accurate information?
3. Of course we know about many of the groups, programs, publications,
associations, Web sites, and others doing more or less similar things under
broader categories such as ' sustainable cities'', 'livable cities' and the
like. And while none of these do exactly the job that Mr. Potts is asking
for, it is useful to know a bit about them since they are among the raw
materials that we can use to fashion a powerful and useful cooperative
action now. Among the first that come immediately come to mind. . .
* Kid Friendly Cities annual Friendly Cities awards at -
* Money Magazine annually reports on "Best Places" to live in US - see
* International "Making Cities Livable" conference (see
* UNDP Best Practices (See this years competition at
http://www.bestpractices.org, as well as
* UN Centre for Human Settlements Global Urban Indicators Project
* The Cities21 pilot project of the ICLEI, see
* The UN Environment Programme Grid Arendal's CEROI (Cities State of the
Environment Reports on the Internet).
* And while you're at it, maybe have a look at 21st Turtle Media -
4. In addition to these more general sustainability groups and programs,
there are a fair number of others working on these issues of sustainable
transportation, efficiency and social justice - which if you add them all up
come to the need for our cities being able to offer high quality, affordable
transportation to people who for one reason or another do not own or have
access to private cars. Among these are half a dozen programs of The
Commons (http://www.ecoplan.org) -- but there are of course many more,
including not least all the groups to whom this note is addressed.
5. So what about this for an idea? Suppose we put our heads together and
develop a high profile, international cooperative platform for discerning an
annual International CarFree City Honor Role??? Since this is exactly the
sort of thing that we do in The Commons, we would be willing top take the
lead in getting this going, but the idea would be not that this would be
'our' project or initiative, but rather that it be something that we would
all (or at least a fair number of us) itch in to define, refine and make
happen. Let me continue with this idea, if only briefly and in attempt to
see if we might have a group idea here.
6. Then, once we have the basic concept sketched out so that it is ready for
inspection and provides an adequate basis for eventual cooperation and
exchange, we could then set out to share this with the thousand or so other
groups around the world that have mandates and intersts which make them
natural allies for such a cooperative endeavor. Strength in numbers!
7. CRITERIA. It will be good to have a fairly comprehensive (but not too
much so) checklist that will allow the 'judges' to make objective
assessments. Certainly accident statistics and air quality somehow have to
be factored in, as well as provision for cycling and pedestrians (as
transportation); ease of access by those with disabilities of various sorts;
quality, frequency and price of public transport; etc for less conventional
alternative arrangements (carsharing, cab sharing, ride sharing, pool and
shuttle services); etc. Some sort of awareness of
computer/telecommunications availabilities as a "distance assuager" might
also be in order. And of course, and as we all know, good planning and
location are at the heart of any sustainable transport concept, and so that
would have to somehow be favored in - though it's likely that we would see
this above all through the various access and performance indicators that
would come out of the survey.
6. FIRST ROUND CANDIDATES: Perhaps as good way as any of getting a running
start on this will be to look at one or two handfuls of clear candidate
cities, such as Zurich, Curitiba, Toronto, Portland, Gronigen, Graz, Venice
(yes Joel, Venice) and, why not?, exactly what they are trying to get done
in Bogotá. (And I am sure that those of you participating in these lists
will have other good 'city/template candidates' for this drill.) We can
then explore these real world situations to develop some guides for the more
general characteristics that should enter into such a topology/scale. (And I
am sure that those of you participating in these lists will have other good
'city/template candidates' for this drill.) In fact, the best approach
would be to see if we can get one r two people in each of these candidates
cities (since that is what they are) give a hand in preparing a short
synopsis which illustrates why their city is 'car free friendly'.
7 The 2000 Car Free City Honor Roll Awards can be made via high profile
public announcements - perhaps at time of @World Car Free Day (September 21
2000) when we anticipate that we will already have the attention of the
world press and media (as we did in Bogotá in February). We can and should
also cooperative on this as well with not only all those who are
participating in the European Car Free Day the next day, but also those
cities and places that are organizing car-free day projects on other dates
(including, one might hope, the planned Day in Chengdu in October).
8. BADGE OF SHAME AWARDS: It may also be an idea to have a look at what
makes a given town or city a particularly rotten place to live in, if you
happen to be without a car. And why. Without wishing to be unkind, but
perhaps a scan of a couple of places like Phoenix, Memphis, Perth (sorry
Peter, I know that hurts), and the like might which may look good to
outsiders but where the locals know the situation is pretty rotten (one of
which just might be London, but there will be others). This last suggests
that in parallel with the annual CFC Honor Roll we also consider coming up
with a Badge of Shame Award for 5 or 10 of the world's leading "Car Hostage"
cities: places in which if you don't have a car you might as well be dead.
We should be able top find a few of those, and of course if we do this right
this is exactly the sort of thing that the media laps up.
9. Let me close with an observation. If you are looking for a single
activity or indicator that correlates strongly with any given place's 'car
free friendliness' (we really must find better terms throughout), it's my
guess that it would be the availability of carsharing as a non-own-car
option. Why? Well, because carsharing really can only work well where
there is already 'almost' a car free environment, or at least many of the
preconditions of this, meaning good public transport, good clustering of
activities and nodes so that non-motorized transport is a real option for
many trips, etc. That was, in fact, why at one point we were referring to
carsharing as the 'missing link in the sustainable transportation system'.
Might we have a group activity here? Ideas, suggestions, feedback?
The Commons ___ technology, economy, society ___
Le Frene, 8/10 rue Joseph Bara, 75006 Paris, France
Eric.Britton@... URL www.ecoplan.org
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... From: Derek Scrafton [mailto:email@example.com] Sent: Monday, 10 July 2000 12:56 AM To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: RE: [@carfreeday] CarMessage 1 of 6 , Jul 10, 2000View Source-----Original Message-----
From: Derek Scrafton [mailto:derek.scrafton@...]
Sent: Monday, 10 July 2000 12:56 AM
Subject: RE: [@carfreeday] Car Free City Annual Honor Roll
Just a comment on cities you can live in without a car.
I have lived in a handful of locations on three continents
in my life, in each case for some or all the time without owning a car - I
have to tell you it makes not a jot of difference to one's lifestyle. Some
combination of transit, cabs, rental cars etc. is always
available to ensure your accessibility, and compared to the
cost of ownership you will have money to spare to use
these options as necessary.
As to your 'bad guy' list of cities, I have to tell you it is no more
difficult to get around by transit in Perth than it is
in Toronto. All you need you need in these cities is a
current timetable,a mindset to get out and use the
network and a willingness to walk a few blocks from
time to time.
Incidentally, my three longest stays in life have been in
West Yorkshire, Ottawa and Adelaide. In all these cases,
one could live happily and comfortably without a car; the
fact that people choose to otherwise does not negate that
Best of luck to Mr Potts in his search for a place to live without a car -
his biggest problem will be picking one from
many. My choice of big cities would be San Francisco
or Vancouver BC, if he wished to stay in North America.
The idea of a league table or honor roll is interesting, but
choosing criteria that span the different demographic, topograhic and
political (subsidy) characteristics of cities
needs careful research. The people at Murdoch are well
qualified to take it on!
Professor Derek Scrafton
Transport Systems Centre
University of South Australia
City East Campus, North Terrace
Adelaide, South Australia 5000
ph: +61 8 8302 1860
fax: +61 8 8302 1880
... From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Monday, 10 July 2000 11:28 AM The idea of a transport situation world top list is not a bad one.Message 1 of 6 , Jul 10, 2000View Source-----Original Message-----
From: martin.strid@... [mailto:martin.strid@...]
Sent: Monday, 10 July 2000 11:28 AM
The idea of a transport situation world top list is not a bad one.
I am more hesitant about the idea of a "bottom" list.
Before naming cities, we should try to figure out which criteria the
candidate cities should be judged by.
If the criteria could be quantified based on some sort of statistics, a
"bottom list" would come automatically.
We would not have to invent it, that might be done by any local newspaper
comparing its own home town to our "top list" criteria.
So what are the criteria?
First of all, I think it is desirable to discern two or three areas of
1. Transport facilities within the city itself,
2. Transport facilities between the city and its surrounding "Umland", so
that city people feel that they can reach green areas, fishing waters etc.
from their homes, as well as people outside the city being able to reach it,
in person and with goods supplies,
3. Transport between the city and other cities?
Criteria should of course include not only the availability and usefulness
of various modes of transport, but also prices as an aspect of equity.
I believe there has to be a classification into city sizes as well. A
"heavyweight" multimillion inhabitant city has totally different
preconditions for supplying its citizens with transport facilities than a
"welterweight" town of 50,000 people.
On the other hand, a logarithm of the population could be a "division
factor" of the "top list equation" by which the candidate cities' statistics
Could we have a "brainstorm" of criteria?
Eric has already begun.
Remember, in the brainstorm stage you may forward bad suggestions as well as
Critical analysis and reduction of the number of suggsetions is the next
* Proportions of traffic by passenger car, minibus taxi, bicycle, bus,
train, foot etc.
* Cost per month or kilometre for "having" (in whatever fashion) a car
versus using a bike or public transport.
* Time necessary to get from A to B (work, home, school, shopping, church,
sports stadium etc.?) by various modes.
* Total average number of minutes per day spent on travelling.
* Average (fossil) carbon dioxide emissions per total kilometre travelled.
* Number of deaths in traffic accidents per 100,000 population.
* Age and income distributions of traffic deaths.
* Proportion of roads (lane kilometres) and bridges (number of lanes) open
only to cars, prohibited for bicycles and pedestrians. (As a Swedish
national, an engineer and a part of our road administration I can but say
that I am ashamed of the new road linking the Danish capital to Sweden. It
is called the Sound Bridge, though forbidding bicycle traffic has to be
considered an unsound transport policy).
* Logistics of goods distribution: average number of delivery transports per
year to shops in the town centre.
* Average distance travelled by food products from the cultivation fields to
the end consumers, tonne of goods x kilometres / tonne of protein in the
food, or: kilograms of carbon dioxide emitted / kilojoule of energy in the
* Quality of life index divided by traffic quantity index.
Please take over.
Direction nationale des routes de Suède, section de l'environnement
Schwedisches Reichsamt für Strassenwesen, Umweltabteilung
Servicio Nacional de Carreteras de Suecia, Departamento de Medio Ambiente y
Swedish National Road Administration, Environment and Natural Resources
Vägverket, S - 781 87 Borlänge
Telefone +46-243-754 59, +46-243-75 000, SMS +46-70-315 26 15, fakse
An nescis, mi fili, quantilla prudentia mundus regatur.
- Axel Oxenstierna 1648
... From: CarFree@egroups.com [mailto:CarFree@egroups.com] Sent: Monday, 10 July 2000 2:21 PM Message: 1 Date: Sun, 09 Jul 2000 08:27:29 -0600 From: michaelMessage 1 of 6 , Jul 10, 2000View Source-----Original Message-----
From: CarFree@egroups.com [mailto:CarFree@egroups.com]
Sent: Monday, 10 July 2000 2:21 PM
Date: Sun, 09 Jul 2000 08:27:29 -0600
From: michael and karen dudley <umdudley@...>
Subject: Re: Just getting started
If you're willing to consider moving to Canada (recently acknowleged--not
for the first time--to be the best place in the world to live according to
the UN's set of lifestyle inidicators), then there are a number of cities
that provide excellent transit, and walkable mixed-use districts. Edmonton,
Alberta has a pretty lame light rail system but a reliable transit system
nonetheless and some very nice walkable mixed-use neighbourhoods (we lived
there car-free for 8 years); Calgary, Alberta has a very efficient light
rail system but is largely suburban in character (my wife and I lived there
car-free [in a suburb] for almost two years); Toronto, Ontario too has an
extensive light rail system and some great mixed use districts (Jane Jacobs
[Death and Life of Great American Cities] lives there and loves it) but it
is a huge city and very expensive--yet it was rated by Bicycling Magazine
to be the best cycling city in North America, mostly owing to its very
active cycling community; and Vancouver, British Columbia has an active
cycling community and an extensive cycle network. (I can't vouch for other
Canadian cities, having not visited them as yet).
For the past two years we have lived car-free in Winnipeg, Manitoba (site
of the Pan Am games last year) and for my money it is the best city in
which to live car-free that I've yet seen. We live in an area known as
Corydon/Osborne Village, and it a charming turn-of the [last] century
district with dozens of independent shops and restaurants and great bus
service. There are several other prominent mixed-use areas in this
city--you can walk pretty much to everything you need if you live near
them. It's also exceedingly flat so many people cycle here too. You can
even see bicycle rickshaws in this area. It also boasts one of the largest
urban forests in north America--most of the streets are lined
cathedral-like with elm and maple trees. There's also very little in the
way of traffic jams, and nothing that you'd call a freeway by American
standards. Population is close to 700,000 and the housing is the most
affordable in Canada.
Hope this helps--good luck with your decision!
Date: Sun, 09 Jul 2000 09:46:15 -0400
From: Francyne Pelchar <francyne@...>
Subject: Re: Just getting started
Chicago and New York City. I've lived in both carfree and well served by
bike and excellent public transit. Am counting the years (4.5) till I can
move back to Chicago.
Date: Sun, 9 Jul 2000 10:15:40 -0700
From: "Ross or Judy" <rossjudy@...>
Subject: Re: Just getting started
Michael Dudley gave a cycling summary of a few Canadian cities.
I have been to or lived in them all. Except for Vancouver, they are all cold
. When I went car free I moved to the west coast. In my opinion, the snow
free coast is the only place where cycling a lot in the winter can be
comfortable, and safe. Vancouver is too big, traffic is very congested and
it is Canada's most polluted city. Victoria is the largest city that does
not get snow or ice. There are lots of nice smaller communities up the coast
and many laided by islands, some without car ferrys. I now live in Royston,
close to Cumberland and Courtenay, in the Comox valley, on rainy Vancouver
island. Its the best place for me to be carfree in Canada. I imagine Europe
would be better. Many places in Asia are better. Even Mexico has a better
mass transit system then the U.S. and Canada. Canada probably has the worst
mass transit system in the world. Per person, they burn more oil then any
other country in the world .
Not proud to be Canadian,
but proud to be carfree !
Date: Sun, 9 Jul 2000 14:40:55 -0400
From: Simon Norton <norton@...>
Subject: car-free friendliness
I don't think that car sharing is a suitable indicator of car-free
because it is so much in its infancy that its existence and extent will
more on the initiative of a few individuals who have the power to promote
scheme, rather than the suitability of the relevant neighbourhood.
Incidentally, I don't think that London is a particularly strong contender
the "badge of shame" (if London, England is meant). It's not too good, I
but it's not as bad as all that. Or am I considered one of the "outsiders"
whom it looks good (though I live less than 60 miles away and was born and
up there) ?
If any roll of honour or badge of shame is implemented, there should be
different categories for different sizes of city. It is ridiculous to try to
compare New York with Graz.
Returning to car sharing, I believe that we should try to move to a
where this becomes the default mode of access to cars. One factor which
help here is that developments based on it would be far more acceptable to
people nearby than car-dependent developments, because they would bring
facilities without extra traffic and with minimal loss of green space (as
would be far more compact), so local planners could gain the plaudits of
communities by insisting that new developments had to be of this form.
Date: Sun, 9 Jul 2000 19:48:41 EDT
Subject: Honour Roll
This sounds like an excellent idea and I wonder why I hadn't thought of it
before! I live in a small city (town really) - Chichester Sussex, and live
car free very easily but I dont think it would class as a world city on any
list! Anyway if I can be of any assistance in data collection on cities in
vicinity (London, Southampton, Portsmouth, Brighton to name a few) let me
Should be worth doing
Date: Sun, 09 Jul 2000 20:56:00 -0700
From: Karen Sandness <ksand@...>
Subject: Re: Digest Number 214
I haven't surveyed the whole country, of course, but my impression is
that the Sun Belt is the worst place to be car-free.
Most large Eastern cities still have pretty good public transportation,
including New York, Boston, and Washington.
I've lived car-free in Portland, Oregon, since 1993, and it's quite
easy. I've also heard that it's possible to do so in San Francisco, but
unfortunately, the rents there are astronomical.
If you prefer smaller communities, try college towns. Both Corvallis and
Eugene, Oregon are very bike-friendly, although their transit systems
are merely okay. (I lived car-free in Corvallis for a year, and the only
disadvantage was that I couldn't leave town, because the inter-city
transportation network is underdeveloped.) Davis, California, is
supposed to be pretty good for bikers, too. These three cities have the
advantage of mild winters, so you don't have to bike through snow drifts.
I've heard that Madison, Wisconsin is also good for car-free folks,but
those winters (sub-zero temperatures for at least part of the year) are
enough to give a person pause.
I suppose the ideal biking community would be flat, built on a grid
pattern, with mild winters.
Another thought--maybe you could help pioneer the car-free lifestyle in
Oklahoma City. I'd be surprised if a city of that size didn't have at
least some closet car-haters besides yourself.
Any other suggestions, folks?
Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2000 01:16:01 -0500
From: "Jim Gregory" <jim@...>
Subject: Re: Just getting started
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Saturday, July 08, 2000 9:57 PM
Subject: [CarFree] Just getting started
This question has come up many times, so today I spent a few hours compiling
data and preparing a web site. Using U.S. Census data, I've ranked the 100
Most CarFree cities, the 100 "Most Biked" cities, the 100 "Most Walked"
cities, and the 100 "Most Transit-Reliant" communities. You can find the
data at http://www.bikesatwork.com/information/carfree. Please note: I'm
in the middle of a long process of revising our site, so not all the links
on these pages work. But, you should be able to access the tables from
Comments and suggestions are welcome.
Joan Stein & Jim Gregory, owners
Bikes At Work Inc. ph. #: (515) 233-6120
216 N. Hazel, Ames, IA 50010-5948
providing human-powered equipment & supplies since 1991
From: Prof. Peter Newman [mailto:email@example.com] Sent: Monday, 10 July 2000 4:03 PM To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: [wtpp] Car Free CityMessage 1 of 6 , Jul 10, 2000View SourceFrom: Prof. Peter Newman [mailto:newman@...]
Sent: Monday, 10 July 2000 4:03 PM
Subject: Re: [wtpp] Car Free City Annual Honor Roll
Our book 'Sustainability and Cities: Overcoming Automobile Dependence' is a
guide book for Mr Potts. It has the data and the case studeies for him to
make up his mind. Check it out from our website below. Peter Newman
Professor Peter Newman
Institute for Sustainability and Technology Policy
PERTH Western Australia 6150
fax: 61-89-360 6421
web site: http://wwwistp.murdoch.edu.au
City and Regional Planning
University of Pennsylvania
PHILADELPHIA PA 19104 6311
The Sunday call for ideas and support of this concept has received an enthusiastic and informed reception - to the point where we have now set up a specialMessage 1 of 6 , Jul 11, 2000View SourceThe Sunday call for ideas and support of this concept has received an
enthusiastic and informed reception - to the point where we have now set up
a special site for the discussions which you can access by going first to
The Commons at http://www.ecoplan.org and from there clicking CarFree Honor
Roll on the menu.
To support the discussions in one convenient place, we have opened up the
@ccess on the Web Forum at email@example.com, which address you can
use to post letters and materials which may help this group effort. You no
longer need to sign in or join in order either to post or access the various
sections of this site. If you have enclosures, however, I would ask you to
post them to me directly at the below address. Better still, if you can
just give us the link.
Again, the goal is to have enough information, structure and common sense in
hand so that a good pair of lists can be prepared (not to forget the Badge
of Shame nominees as well) for a high profile announcement on the occasion
of both the @World Car Free Day on September 21st and the European Car Free
Day on the 22nd.
One idea might be to have Country Lists and nominations as well, to spur,
pinch and push cities on to do better. So often emulation helps do the
trick, especially when the example, good or horrid, is right close at hand.
There is quite a bit of work to be done to make this one stick, so if you
have ideas, time and the will, it will be great to have you join us.
The Commons ___ technology, economy, society ___
Le Frene, 8/10 rue Joseph Bara, 75006 Paris, France
Eric.Britton@... URL www.ecoplan.org