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FW: The Culture of Carsharing (3rd world thoughts)

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  • Eric Britton
    From deepest darkest Geneva a few quick thoughts on carsharing in Third World cities: 1. In many cities of the developing world, there are indeed groups and
    Message 1 of 3 , Dec 17, 2002
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      From deepest darkest Geneva a few quick thoughts on carsharing in Third
      World cities:

      1. In many cities of the developing world, there are indeed groups and
      places where carsharing should prove a viable option - subject to the usual
      (harsh) constraints of making it work in the first place. The target group
      for take off is (a) obviously among the top couple of percent of the income
      groups, and (b, and perhaps less obviously) what looks like a specific
      sub-set of the yuppie class - call them post-modern or post-auto. To the
      extent that a world wide culture is growing up (which I think is the case)
      in which increasing numbers of mainly educated and generally well to do
      people are beginning to get the message that car ownership is not some kind
      of Nirvana but rather, more often than not, a real drag.

      2. My guess is that we will see this developing in a next stage in Southern
      Europe, parts of Latin America, and places like Singapore - and who knows,
      China and India in their fast growing "Europe surrounded by Africa"
      enclaves. So to help make this happen, all of us need to keep talking here
      and more important still keep hard at it to make sure that we have
      replicatable models to offer. Think of it as: leading by example.

      3. Finally and after some years of hands on experience with these issues in
      cities as well as in the halls of theory, it strikes me that the great step
      forward will occur all over the place only when those of us who care about
      this sort of thing are able to demonstrate viability within a much broader
      pattern or paradigm of "post automotive age transportation" thinking and
      practice. In this transportation configuration there are/we need to have
      many different elements doing many different things - many of which new,
      unfamiliar and even for most, quite unrecognizable. You can get a first
      taste for this if you go to Bogotá and see what Enrique Peñalosa, his team
      and all those who thy have engaged to follow, pursue and deepen their
      pioneering work. Likewise a visit to Jaime Lerner's Curitiba to see an
      earlier variant of some of these concepts, or, while you are at it, a visit
      to Zurich or any of several dozen other European cities that have started,
      at least, to get the message.

      4. So when a great moment in the transport story of any city suddenly crops
      up - for example, some high authorities decision to do something drastic
      about a ring road, pushing human transport to the side, building a super new
      urban motorway, monorail, whatever - it is there where those of us who care
      must be standing and waiting with our alternative proposals all well thought
      out and ready to put into high profile. Two bits of all this must be
      thought out and concatenated in great detail:
      a. At the front end, the full gamut of mobility tools and arrangements,
      encompassing such things as carsharing, lift sharing, new and innovative bus
      systems, TSM (transport systems management) active (non-motorized)
      transport, "planning transport out" activity nodes, strategic parking
      policies, E&H transport, IT and other substitutes or capacitor, for physical
      movement, kinds of taxis, vans and delivery services that you have never
      dreamed of, and the list goes on. And even includes road pricing and other
      forms of restricted access, of which there are those slowly growing models
      of how to do it, well if not always quite perfectly, at least better than
      the option (of doing nothing at all). And please do not forget the
      wonderful world of new tools in terms of micro-modeling and simulation which
      give us (finally) the ability to model our alternative solutions and to
      modify and fine tune them before disaster strikes.
      b. And then behind this all and in support of it an overarching programming
      framework, consciousness, and support system. For this last, we had a
      terrific example in Bogotá a couple of years back when a large international
      support group got behind the proposal of the Peñalosa administration to (a)
      organize and deploy a real car free day and (b) then to continue with a long


      term follow-up program worthy of the name.

      Without this essential broader context, the chances of making carsharing
      work in any truly useful scale way in most of the world's cities is pretty
      slim.

      This makes it tough for our carshare operator friends and aspirants, but
      whoever said that life was supposed to be easy. Anyway, most of the people
      whom I have met in the carsharing 'industry' over the last few decades were
      plenty smart enough to comprehend this, but to judge by the results they
      never quite found the time to get around to doing enough about it. With the
      exception of you, of course.

      ;-)

      Eric Britton

      The Commons ___ technology, economy, society ___
      Le Frene, 8/10 rue Joseph Bara, 75006 Paris, France
      Email: Eric.Britton@... Mobile: +336 8096 7879
      Tel. +331 4326 1323 Fax/Voicemail hotline: +331 5301 2896
      URL www.ecoplan.org IP Videoconference: 81.65.50.49

      PS. As some of you know I am currently working in Geneva in an attempt to
      save a couple of small technology companies here (real technology, not dot
      com), which gives me a great opportunity to observe the traffic system in
      one of the world's wealthiest and most intellectually endowed cities. May I
      give you my Executive Summary? Pathetic. Unbelievably bad. Crude. Brain
      dead. What was it that O Wilde was supposed to have said about fox hunting:
      "the unspeakable in pursuit of the inedible"? We need a slogan along those
      lines to describe the situation that persists here in our fair Geneva. One
      that is perhaps not unique in the world. May I ask for suggestions?
    • Carlos Cordero Velásquez
      Dear Eric, I have not been in Geneva (yet) however I been in several cities of the developing (?) world, moreover, i live in one of them. Just form the top of
      Message 2 of 3 , Dec 17, 2002
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        Dear Eric,

        I have not been in Geneva (yet) however I been in several cities of the
        developing (?) world, moreover, i live in one of them.
        Just form the top of my head, the issue of carsharing as a good business
        oportunity seems to be more related to the lack of a good administrative
        context (registration system, good and cheap insurance availability, etc)
        that limits the chance of a success enterprise, along with the hidden and
        open subsidies for private ownership, more than picking up the top rich
        sector of the society to introduce the concept of CS.
        Of course several cities are doing good adminstrative progress and
        internalizaing costs despite the inmense informality in transport sector so
        this situation can change in the upcoming years.

        Another point, to avoid long stories, which seems to be relevant is about
        thinking that the strategy towards CS should point the richest part of the
        society because due the conditions mentioned this is the people who does not
        really need a car sharing option (ok, for ideological reasons, as you
        mentioned, few of them could), instead I would go for the middle class
        (normally more illustrated than the rich ones) who would like to reflect
        their status in certain moments of the month, but intelligent enough to not
        carry all the weight that the car property implies.

        Hope we can follow the discussion and have good holidays,

        Carlos Cordero Velasquez
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Eric Britton <eric.britton@...>
        To: WTP&P List <WorldTransport@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Tuesday, December 17, 2002 10:44 AM
        Subject: [WorldTransport] FW: The Culture of Carsharing (3rd world thoughts)


        > From deepest darkest Geneva a few quick thoughts on carsharing in Third
        > World cities:
        >
        > 1. In many cities of the developing world, there are indeed groups and
        > places where carsharing should prove a viable option - subject to the
        usual
        > (harsh) constraints of making it work in the first place. The target
        group
        > for take off is (a) obviously among the top couple of percent of the
        income
        > groups, and (b, and perhaps less obviously) what looks like a specific
        > sub-set of the yuppie class - call them post-modern or post-auto. To the
        > extent that a world wide culture is growing up (which I think is the case)
        > in which increasing numbers of mainly educated and generally well to do
        > people are beginning to get the message that car ownership is not some
        kind
        > of Nirvana but rather, more often than not, a real drag.
        >
        > 2. My guess is that we will see this developing in a next stage in
        Southern
        > Europe, parts of Latin America, and places like Singapore - and who knows,
        > China and India in their fast growing "Europe surrounded by Africa"
        > enclaves. So to help make this happen, all of us need to keep talking
        here
        > and more important still keep hard at it to make sure that we have
        > replicatable models to offer. Think of it as: leading by example.
        >
        > 3. Finally and after some years of hands on experience with these issues
        in
        > cities as well as in the halls of theory, it strikes me that the great
        step
        > forward will occur all over the place only when those of us who care about
        > this sort of thing are able to demonstrate viability within a much broader
        > pattern or paradigm of "post automotive age transportation" thinking and
        > practice. In this transportation configuration there are/we need to have
        > many different elements doing many different things - many of which new,
        > unfamiliar and even for most, quite unrecognizable. You can get a first
        > taste for this if you go to Bogotá and see what Enrique Peñalosa, his team
        > and all those who thy have engaged to follow, pursue and deepen their
        > pioneering work. Likewise a visit to Jaime Lerner's Curitiba to see an
        > earlier variant of some of these concepts, or, while you are at it, a
        visit
        > to Zurich or any of several dozen other European cities that have started,
        > at least, to get the message.
        >
        > 4. So when a great moment in the transport story of any city suddenly
        crops
        > up - for example, some high authorities decision to do something drastic
        > about a ring road, pushing human transport to the side, building a super
        new
        > urban motorway, monorail, whatever - it is there where those of us who
        care
        > must be standing and waiting with our alternative proposals all well
        thought
        > out and ready to put into high profile. Two bits of all this must be
        > thought out and concatenated in great detail:
        > a. At the front end, the full gamut of mobility tools and arrangements,
        > encompassing such things as carsharing, lift sharing, new and innovative
        bus
        > systems, TSM (transport systems management) active (non-motorized)
        > transport, "planning transport out" activity nodes, strategic parking
        > policies, E&H transport, IT and other substitutes or capacitor, for
        physical
        > movement, kinds of taxis, vans and delivery services that you have never
        > dreamed of, and the list goes on. And even includes road pricing and
        other
        > forms of restricted access, of which there are those slowly growing models
        > of how to do it, well if not always quite perfectly, at least better than
        > the option (of doing nothing at all). And please do not forget the
        > wonderful world of new tools in terms of micro-modeling and simulation
        which
        > give us (finally) the ability to model our alternative solutions and to
        > modify and fine tune them before disaster strikes.
        > b. And then behind this all and in support of it an overarching
        programming
        > framework, consciousness, and support system. For this last, we had a
        > terrific example in Bogotá a couple of years back when a large
        international
        > support group got behind the proposal of the Peñalosa administration to
        (a)
        > organize and deploy a real car free day and (b) then to continue with a
        long
        >
        >
        > term follow-up program worthy of the name.
        >
        > Without this essential broader context, the chances of making carsharing
        > work in any truly useful scale way in most of the world's cities is pretty
        > slim.
        >
        > This makes it tough for our carshare operator friends and aspirants, but
        > whoever said that life was supposed to be easy. Anyway, most of the
        people
        > whom I have met in the carsharing 'industry' over the last few decades
        were
        > plenty smart enough to comprehend this, but to judge by the results they
        > never quite found the time to get around to doing enough about it. With
        the
        > exception of you, of course.
        >
        > ;-)
        >
        > Eric Britton
        >
        > The Commons ___ technology, economy, society ___
        > Le Frene, 8/10 rue Joseph Bara, 75006 Paris, France
        > Email: Eric.Britton@... Mobile: +336 8096 7879
        > Tel. +331 4326 1323 Fax/Voicemail hotline: +331 5301 2896
        > URL www.ecoplan.org IP Videoconference: 81.65.50.49
        >
        > PS. As some of you know I am currently working in Geneva in an attempt
        to
        > save a couple of small technology companies here (real technology, not dot
        > com), which gives me a great opportunity to observe the traffic system in
        > one of the world's wealthiest and most intellectually endowed cities. May
        I
        > give you my Executive Summary? Pathetic. Unbelievably bad. Crude. Brain
        > dead. What was it that O Wilde was supposed to have said about fox
        hunting:
        > "the unspeakable in pursuit of the inedible"? We need a slogan along
        those
        > lines to describe the situation that persists here in our fair Geneva.
        One
        > that is perhaps not unique in the world. May I ask for suggestions?
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > The Journal of World Transport Policy and Practice
        > Consult at: http://wTransport.org
        > To post message to group: WorldTransport@yahoogroups.com
        > To subscribe: WorldTransport-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
        > To unsubscribe: WorldTransport-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
        >
        > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
        >
        >
      • Tramsol@aol.com
        One detail which would make the need for car shareing clubs and administration less attractive would be when car hiring runs 24 hours/day at a sensible price,
        Message 3 of 3 , Dec 18, 2002
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          One detail which would make the need for car shareing clubs and
          administration less attractive would be when car hiring runs 24 hours/day at
          a sensible price, probably per hour or half dsy asand is bookable on the net,
          for delivery to your door in the next hour.

          In the UK 1 car 1.com almost fits this market, and by combining car hire with
          another 24 hour transport operation like a bus depot, so that a pool of
          drivers can ferry cars out, or stand in for no-show bus drivers.

          Car hire is of course then universally available to anyone with a driving
          licence, allowing people to travel by train, bus or air to a location and at
          any hour use a car, if this is appropriate.

          Dave Holladay
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