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Sustainable Mobility Principles, Practices & Priorities

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  • Todd Alexander Litman
    Dear Eric, This is a good start on an important issue. Your list seems to be a combination of sustainable transportation principles, practices, goals,
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 23, 2004
      Dear Eric,

      This is a good start on an important issue.

      Your list seems to be a combination of sustainable transportation
      principles, practices, goals, objectives and indicators. The danger is that
      a list like that reflects your own special concerns and priorities, and so
      implies that sustainability is simply a matter of personal opinion or
      preference. For any sort of planning I think it is useful to start with
      general principles and work toward more specific practices, goals and
      objectives, and then choose suitable indicators.

      I define sustainability as a decision-making process that considers
      economic, social and environmental goals and impacts regardless of how
      difficult they are to measure, including impacts that occur to people who
      are distant in time and space. At a minimum, this should take into account
      the following:

      Resource efficiency
      Cost internalization
      Trade and business activity
      Tax burden

      Human health
      Quality of life
      Public Participation

      Pollution prevention
      Climate protection
      Precautionary action
      Avoidance of irreversibility
      Habitat preservation

      With a set of evaluation criteria such as this you can evaluate to what
      degree a particular policy or program (such as increased carsharing
      availability and use) helps achieve sustainability, and how it can be
      designed to best achieve sustainability objectives. You can also define
      indicators, such as per-capita vehicle ownership and use, per capita
      transportation expenditures, which are not really goals (goals are what you
      ultimately want to achieve, such as healthy, accessibility, wealth, etc.),
      but which indicate progress toward goals.

      I recommend being very careful with the wording you use, such as "draconian
      reductions," and against focusing too much on any one interest group, no
      matter how deserving, such as "Protect children, provide them with healthy
      transport" (why are children deserving more consideration than people with
      disabilities, or peasants, or my mother-in-law?).

      For more information see the "Sustainable Transportation and TDM"
      (http://www.vtpi.org/tdm/tdm67.htm) and "Planning"
      (http://www.vtpi.org/tdm/tdm50.htm) chapters of our Online TDM Encyclopedia
      , and:

      Todd Litman, "Sustainable Transportation Indicators," VTPI (www.vtpi.org),

      Todd Litman, “Reinventing Transportation; Exploring the Paradigm Shift
      Needed to Reconcile Sustainability and Transportation Objectives,”
      Transportation Research Record 1670, Transportation Research Board
      (www.trb.org), 1999, pp. 8-12; available at www.vtpi.org.

      Todd Litman and David Burwell, "Issues in Sustainable Transportation," VTPI
      (www.vtpi.org), 1999.

      Best wishes,
      -Todd Litman

      At 11:41 AM 4/23/2004 +0200, eric.britton@... wrote:

      >Dear Friends:
      >Next week I am giving an overview presentation to a meeting in Italy which
      >is being given over issues involving the support of carsharing
      >innovations, a process that is already well engaged. In this context, I
      >also want to provide a few words on the needs for making absolutely sure
      >that whatever is done takes places within the necessary broader frame – in
      >a phrase, a sustainable mobility system. Here is what I propose to share
      >with them in this context, trying to put this in the broadest strategic
      >context. Any comments or suggestions would be much appreciated.
      >And I very much hope that this might be useful to at least some of you.
      >Kind regards,
      >Eric Britton
      >Afterword: Sustainable Mobility Principles, Practices &
      >(This is my vision of the broader strategic frame within which all
      >carsharing initiatives should be understood and developed from a public
      >policy perspective. It may well not be yours.)
      >Prioritiy 1. Improve quality and quantity of access for low income
      >groups, neighborhoods -- as main beneficiaries of public funding. Why? . . .
      >· Because it gives you more mobility bang per taxpayer buck.
      >· On social justice grounds
      >· Because such improvements ‘trickle up” -- far better than what
      >happens when you start at the top of the economic spectrum and wait for
      >things to trickle down
      >Prioritiy 2. Get used to the concept of multi-level, multi-part ,
      >multi-player systems
      > * Which require the creation, integration and coordination of hundreds
      > of measures and players –bearing in mind that most of these are going ort
      > be new, unfamiliar and at times difficult and time consuming to bring on
      > line.
      > * Leadership in such situations resides not so much in the old
      > practices of deciding, doing, and providing, but
      > * If you can’t handle this level of complexity and the leadership
      > challenges that go with it, give up on the idea of a sustainable and
      > just (and efficient) city.
      >Prioritiy 3. Reduce motorized vehicle traffic (and with it
      >accidents, pollution, etc.)
      >· Targeting above all draconian reductions in low volume carriers
      >(cars with one or few passengers)
      > * Systematically transfer existing road infrastructure (roadway,
      > parking) to high capacity vehicles (i.e., away from private/solo driver cars)
      >Prioritiy 4. Protect children, provide them with healthy transport,
      > * Moreover, get them actively involved in understanding and even in
      > laying the basis for an improved system.
      >Prioritiy 5. Increase the space for innovation and demonstrations
      > * Bearing in mind that in almost all cities of the world the sector is
      > badly hogtied through restrictive histrionic legislation, practices, and
      > turf battles.
      >Prioritiy 6. Invite and increase entrepreneurship, innovation,
      >problem solving, and new and better services at highest level of
      >decentralization possible
      >· To all three sectors (i.e., private, public and volunteer/community)
      >· Reduce barriers to experimentation and new services
      >· Reduce barriers to entrepreneurship
      >Prioritiy 7. Become a world level sustainability performer in your
      > * By bringing people, interests and groups (say taxi drivers just to
      > name one of the harder nuts) to the table and finding ways to get them
      > positively involved in creating their city’s new, multi-level mobility system
      >Prioritiy 8. Manage and support success and failure:
      > * Increase visibility of Best Practices through honest, open and
      > critical reporting
      > * Subject all ‘failures’ to frank, open, generous public analysis,
      > discussion -- bearing in mind that in many cases these ‘failures’ will
      > carry within them the seeds of future success..
      >Prioritiy 9. Get time on your side.
      > * Achieve early visible successes - “Proof of concept” to get the
      > public on your side
      > * Steer clear of big expensive hardware solutions that promise to
      > “solve your problems” in 10+ years (during which you will continue to
      > have an unsustainable and unjust city).
      >The Journal of World Transport Policy and Practice
      >Consult at: <http://wTransport.org>http://wTransport.org
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      Todd Litman, Director
      Victoria Transport Policy Institute
      "Efficiency - Equity - Clarity"
      1250 Rudlin Street
      Victoria, BC, V8V 3R7, Canada
      Phone & Fax: 250-360-1560
      Email: litman@...
      Website: http://www.vtpi.org
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