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592(For comment) Fair Transport: A New Mobility Agenda for a Changing World

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  • Eric Britton (Paris)
    Apr 30, 2006

      Fair Transport

      A New Mobility Agenda for a Changing World


      Note to reader/friends: This is a quick group think exercise for a concept which I really think, hope is going to prove worth pursuing.  I would be grateful to have your comments and suggestions, for any of what follows as well as your ideas on the concept and eventual next steps more generally.


      “Fair Transport” is proposed as a next-generation successor term to the now old and often confusing concept of “sustainable transport”, but it is more focused and less general.  Here to get us going on this is my proposed first cut definition of this new and I hope useful term. 


      And why do we need a new term for all this? Well, above all because good old ‘sustainable transport’ while it has been around now for  decade and a half under quite that name has not succeeded in getting the level of attention needed to make the big policy and impact differences that are needed. It may be that the term has turned out to be hard to explain to people and appears to be just to recondite and abstract. “Fair” is maybe a term that not only we all can immediately grasp, but also one that has real significance in terms of matters of mobility and our daily lives.


      PS. May I ask that you send your comments to me privately in a first instance via eric.britton@...? You can be sure that I will them make an effort to bring them all into a single easy to reference piece, so your individual contributions will not go by the wayside. Thanks.


       “Fair Transport”:


      1.      Requires a detailed and mature understanding of how the proposed new, improved or restructured transport investment or policy is going to impact on “we ordinary people step by step in our daily lives”.

      2.      Provides full and equal treatment of all forms of mobility (human-powered, public transport, motorized private transport) in the areas of planning, financing  and infrastructure provision, maintenance and operation.

      3.      Places heavy emphasis on concrete and measurable near term improvements (say less than 2-4 years to achievement).

      4.      Requires that at least 50% of the total investment budget be allocated to small projects.

      5.      Suggests that any large project (say more than $100k) be carefully inspected to ensure that its most important human and social (this included economic) objectives cannot be better met by one or more small projects or policies.

      6.      Gives full consideration to critical gender differences and needs at all stages of the planning, etc. process

      7.      And otherwise incorporates all of the now well established concerns, priorities and solutions brought forward by the sustainable transport movement over the last two decades.



      A Fair Transport policy is going to bring about a new and at first possibly quite uncomfortable situation for the many public sector institutions involved in the sector.  The sharpest indication of this is that the new policy is going to spawn not small numbers of very large projects– but rather will require a capacity to identify, plan, execute and support relatively large numbers of relatively small projects. This is going to require new attitudes and methods, and uncomfortable though that might be to the present generation of employees, it is the only way that we can make our way to Fair Transport. So we shall all have to learn how to do this. Together.


      Some notes:

      ·         Also can be written: FairTranport, Fair Transportation, Equitable Transport,

      ·         Other languages: French: Transport équitable. Transports équitables. Spanish. Transporte equitativo.??  German? Portuguese?  

      ·         Note: Fair Transport not only extends to bring in all the precepts, goals and accomplishments of sustainable transport but also incorporates “safe, clean  and affordable transport”.

      ·         The only related Google reference found for ‘fair transport’’ is a 2003 paper by Jörg Haeberli “Mission Statement on Human-powered Mobility in Switzerland: a Further Step towards a Fair Transport System”. Walk21 IV, Portland, Oregon.

      ·         Fair Transport and Fair Trade.  Yes. There is definitely something there.  But that you already figured out.


      Eric Britton (who sits here in the rain and awaits with real interest your idea and suggestions.)


      PS. For more on this, and in the specific context of a group revision of a report on this subject from the World Bank, you may want to have a look at the ideas and discussions that are talking place in http://www.gatnet.net/ - The Gender, Equity and Transport Forum


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