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Draft proposal to Principal Voices - Quick progress report

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  • EcoPlan, Paris
    Wednesday, December 22, 2004, Paris, France, Europe In addition to several much appreciated private letters of cautious encouragement on this proposed
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 22, 2004
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       Wednesday, December 22, 2004, Paris, France, Europe

       

      In addition to several much appreciated private letters of cautious encouragement on this proposed initiative of 21 Dec, I have received in the last day the following two mailings from proponents of advanced transportation technologies, in a phrase free standing new systems based on “new surface transport infrastructure”.  I would like to comment briefly because I believe this is one of the central pillars that we have to deal with one way or another as we make our important decisions about the future of the sector.

       

      Personally I have a great weakness for these proposals and the engineering technologies that they bring to the fore. On a number of occasions during my career I have carried out pretty extensive international surveys looking at the category in general and more specifically things like PRT, GRT, DRT, ITT, ATT, monorails, skycabs by many names, maglev, air cushion vehicles, accelerating moving sidewalks, pneumatic tube transport, and the long list goes on. But as my respected colleague and a central force in this movement, Jerry Schneider, Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering and Urban Design and Planning at the University of Washington (see below) has said on numerous occasions: “The problem is implementing it." 

       

      That’s it and from the horse’s mouth! To whit my regretful conclusion as a hands-on advisor of policy: given the immediate needs of sustainability and our societies, we have to put this on the back burner for now and concentrate on what we can do with the infrastructure we have.  Sad and possibly even narrow conclusion that it may seem.  Fortunately however, there is a huge amount that we can in fact achieve working within the broad envelope of the infrastructure we have in hand, so to my mind the challenge is to get on with that task.

       

      Mr. Daryl Oster, an active proponent of “ETT” and "space travel on earth", for his part goes quite a bit further than I do in his criticism of the way in which the Voices  people have set out to organize their initiative: starting with a rather unjust hit on the qualifications of the respected Mr. Ellatuvalapil Sreedharan to be one of the Voices.  I could not agree less. The object of any truly creative dialogue, at least as I understand it, is to trot out a wide range of views and perspectives, and indeed it would be a major error if we packed the jury in any way. Not only is Mr. Sreedharan a person of real accomplishment in our sector, but also by the way if you Google “Sreedharan  + “transport OR transportation” you get no less than 2830 call-ups this morning. So we can put that one to rest, eh? ;-)

       

      That said Mr. Oster does propose a candidate with international credentials who might indeed make another interesting apex for a debate triangle, Wendell Cox of The Public Purpose (“To facilitate the ideal of government as the servant of the people by identifying and implementing strategies to achieve public purposes at a cost that is no higher than necessary).  Fine idea Daryl.  I will add him to our short list, not least because of his rigor, persistence, international reach, at times surprising flexibility -- and the fact that at least half the time I for one do not agree with him.  Which of course is the stuff of a good debate.

       

      So there we have it for today.  I will let this cook for another 24 hours before dispatching to our contacts there – so there is still time for you to share both your criticisms, ideas and even encouragement if there is any of that in your end year larder.  It’s their party of course, but perhaps they will open it up a bit to ensure that it is fully informed, lively, varied and creative – the stuff of a really successful party.

       

      Salamaat, Shalom, Merry Christmas, and Peace on Earth,

       

      Eric Britton

       

      PS. You may want to check out the latest bulletin of the ITDP at http://www.itdp.org/. Talk about new transportation ideas and on street progress.

       

       

       

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Jerry Schneider [mailto:jbs@...]
      Sent:
      Tuesday, December 21, 2004 10:48 PM
      To: eric.britton@...
      Subject: Re: [sustran] Draft proposal to Principal Voices team - For comment

       

      At 09:18 AM 12/21/04 -0800, you wrote:

       

      >snip ------------

      >These fora and the individuals and groups behind them offer a clear cut,

      >leading edge, world level state of the art, 21st century awareness of the

      >issues and the full range of solutions -- and while there is no aversion on

      >the part of most of us to building new systems and expanding infrastructure

      >in specific cases, we tend to be far more reserved and I would like to say

      >sophisticated, and indeed practical, when it comes to better management of

      >the infrastructure and systems we already have in place. Moreover, we tend

      >too to be rather ambitious when it comes to the creative integration of new

      >communications technologies into the overall systemic infrastructure, and

      >that too might be one of the more promising avenues of the discussions and

      >debate.

       

      One wonders what "new systems" you might have in mind? You are welcome to

      add my ITT website to your list of promising avenues for discussion.

       

         Best regards,

       

          Jerry     

       

      -----Original Message-----
      From: sustran-discuss-bounces+eric.britton=ecoplan.org@... [mailto:sustran-discuss-bounces+eric.britton=ecoplan.org@...] On Behalf Of Daryl Oster
      Sent:
      Wednesday, December 22, 2004 6:46 AM
      To: principalvoices@...; Asia and the Pacific sustainable transport
      Cc: policy@...
      Subject: [sustran] principal voices

       

      To Whom It May Concern:

       

      According to your "principal voices" website, the principal voices are

      "globally-renowned experts".  If this is true, why is it that a Google

      search for Ellatuvalapil Sreedharan (the principal voice for transportation)

      turns up ZERO hits?  If you are looking for an expert try the Google search:

       

      "Jerry Schneider" +transportation

       

      This will turn up over 800 hits leading to Transportation Professor

      (retired) Jerry Schneider.  Dr. Schneider is likely the most renowned expert

      on leading edge transportation alternatives. 

       

      Another Google search:

       

      "Wendell Cox" +transportation

       

      This search will turn up 11,000 hits on this transportation expert. Why not

      ask either of these experts to debate with Ellatuvalapil Sreedharan?

       

      If this is really a debate, why are the public questions limited to 4, and

      why is there no criteria on selection? It appears to that the principal

      voices debates could likely be a showcase for a hidden agenda that will

      after the fact be claimed to have been an internationally recognized debate.

       

       

      Daryl Oster

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