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Car Free City Annual Honor Roll

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  • ecoplan (paris)
    SUMMARY: Might we put our heads together and develop a high profile, international cooperative platform for discerning an annual International CarFree City
    Message 1 of 6 , Jul 9, 2000
      SUMMARY: 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?

      Eric Britton

      The Commons ___ technology, economy, society ___
      Le Frene, 8/10 rue Joseph Bara, 75006 Paris, France
      Eric.Britton@... URL www.ecoplan.org
      Mobile: +336 80 96 78 79
      Voice/Videoconference +331.4441.6340 (1-4)
      Voicemail/Fax hotline: Europe +331 5301 2896
      Voicemail/Fax hotline: North America +1 888 522 6419 (toll free)
    • ecoplan (paris)
      ... From: Derek Scrafton [mailto:derek.scrafton@unisa.edu.au] Sent: Monday, 10 July 2000 12:56 AM To: carfreeday@egroups.com Subject: RE: [@carfreeday] Car
      Message 2 of 6 , Jul 10, 2000
        -----Original Message-----
        From: Derek Scrafton [mailto:derek.scrafton@...]
        Sent: Monday, 10 July 2000 12:56 AM
        To: 'carfreeday@egroups.com'
        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
        email: derek.scrafton@...

      • ecoplan (paris)
        ... From: martin.strid@vv.se [mailto:martin.strid@vv.se] Sent: Monday, 10 July 2000 11:28 AM The idea of a transport situation world top list is not a bad one.
        Message 3 of 6 , Jul 10, 2000
          -----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
          are judged.

          Could we have a "brainstorm" of criteria?
          Eric has already begun.
          Remember, in the brainstorm stage you may forward bad suggestions as well as
          good ones.
          Critical analysis and reduction of the number of suggsetions is the next

          Criteria brainstorm:
          * 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
          consumed food.
          * Quality of life index divided by traffic quantity index.

          Please take over.

          # :-)
          Martin Strid
          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
          Recursos Naturales
          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
          +46-243-757 26
          An nescis, mi fili, quantilla prudentia mundus regatur.
          - Axel Oxenstierna 1648
        • ecoplan (paris)
          ... 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: michael
          Message 4 of 6 , Jul 10, 2000
            -----Original Message-----
            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: 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!

            Michael Dudley


            Message: 2
            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.



            Message: 5
            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 !


            Message: 6
            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
            such a
            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.

            Simon Norton


            Message: 7
            Date: Sun, 9 Jul 2000 19:48:41 EDT
            From: StephenDPHosking@...
            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


            Message: 8
            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?

            Karen Sandness


            Message: 9
            Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2000 01:16:01 -0500
            From: "Jim Gregory" <jim@...>
            Subject: Re: Just getting started

            ----- Original Message -----
            From: <greglpotts@...>
            To: <CarFree@egroups.com>
            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
          • ecoplan (paris)
            From: Prof. Peter Newman [mailto:newman@central.murdoch.edu.au] Sent: Monday, 10 July 2000 4:03 PM To: wtpp-owner@egroups.com Subject: Re: [wtpp] Car Free City
            Message 5 of 6 , Jul 10, 2000
              From: Prof. Peter Newman [mailto:newman@...]
              Sent: Monday, 10 July 2000 4:03 PM
              To: wtpp-owner@egroups.com
              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
              Murdoch University
              PERTH Western Australia 6150
              ph: 61-89-360-2902
              fax: 61-89-360 6421
              e-mail: newman@...
              web site: http://wwwistp.murdoch.edu.au

              Visiting Professor
              City and Regional Planning
              University of Pennsylvania
              PHILADELPHIA PA 19104 6311
            • ecoplan (paris)
              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 special
              Message 6 of 6 , Jul 11, 2000
                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 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 access-forum@egroups.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.

                Eric Britton

                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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