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Re: WorldTransport Forum What is 'Sustainable Transportation'? (And how, if at all, does it relate to the New Mobility Agenda?)

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  • Chris Bradshaw
    Eric, Your essay for Wikipedia is a worthy effort to bring this term some measure of recognition and meaning. To me, one must understand sustainable and
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 31, 2006
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      Eric,

      Your essay for Wikipedia is a worthy effort to bring this term some measure
      of recognition and meaning.

      To me, one must understand 'sustainable' and 'transportation' separately.

      Sustainable is an adjective which can be used with a wide range of nouns,
      usually complex processes (as contrasted to "sustainability," a noun). It
      means to carry out the process identified by the noun in a way that does not
      undercut the basic conditions for the continuation of the process.

      In the case of running a company, it means doing things such that it can be
      truly a "going concern." It has to treat its employees well, so they
      continue to work hard, and to listen to each other. It has to take care of
      its equipment, and to replace worn out units before they fail at important
      times or injure the employees. It means finding raw materials and ensuring
      they are available for access, including being fair with the owners of the
      resources. Etc.

      Applied to development, it means protecting the resources -- raw material,
      people, sources of finance, and approval of governments and the people -- so
      that it can continue to develop.

      Applied to education, it refers to passing on knowledge in a way that
      doesn't snuff out natural curiosity. ("Sustainable education" is not to be
      confused with "sustainability education").

      Applied to transportation, it has to mean that transportation must be run in
      a way that it doesn't undercut itself. That means not running out of
      energy; not causing people to become angry about the impacts of traffic near
      them and to shut down the corridor or at a larger scale, take other punitive
      measure; not creating ill health for those using it or living nearby; etc.

      Do we understand the basic conditions of transportation? Do we know how
      much energy and how much "rolling stock" is necessary to do each kind of
      movement, and do we know how to ensure we don't go beyond these limits? Can
      we provide access to it that is equitable, so that it will not create
      'enemies' that will politically undercut it, or that will hurt the
      sustainability of other important processes? Can we overcome distance in a
      way that doesn't increase distance for future trips? Is there a magic ratio
      of effort related to getting somewhere compared to the benefits realized
      after we arrive (There is a principle used by the peak-oil people that
      refers to the ratio between the energy used to recover a unit of energy
      compared to the energy provided by the recoverd unit)?

      It seems that transportation today is guilty of anwering all these questions
      badly, such that the basic pre-conditions for transportation are being
      undercut. The energy supplies are running out, such that transportation
      will face both shortages and steeply increasing costs. The quality of air
      and water are in decline, such that the ability to enjoy the fruits of
      travel are declining. The equitable spread of the commons costs and
      negative impacts of transportation are poorly distributed, such that user
      fees for road and parking are either unrelated to use or are charged rates
      that fall far short of the cost of providing them, and such that the poor,
      young, and elderly are more likely to live near busy, noisy roadways, to
      suffer from low transportation resources, and to pay through taxes and
      prices for services they don't use.

      The simplest principle is the oldest. The term "usufruct" refers to the
      traditional practice of picking the fruit, but leaving the tree, so that the
      latter can continue to produce the former, ad infinitum. But are we guilty
      of allowing, and even exalting, development processes, business-as-usual,
      rote-education, and flatulent transportation that is doing the opposite,
      almost literally guilty of burning the furniture in order to keep our
      over-sized palace warm.

      Chris Bradshaw
      Ottawa

      > Sent: Sunday, January 29, 2006 3:51 AM
      > Subject: WorldTransport Forum What is 'Sustainable Transportation'? (And
      how, if at all, does it relate to the New Mobility Agenda?)


      > What is 'Sustainable Transportation'?
      . . . . .
    • Chris Bradshaw
      Eric, Your essay for Wikipedia is a worthy effort to bring this term some measure of recognition and meaning. To me, one must understand sustainable and
      Message 2 of 2 , Jan 31, 2006
      • 0 Attachment
        Eric,

        Your essay for Wikipedia is a worthy effort to bring this term some measure
        of recognition and meaning.

        To me, one must understand 'sustainable' and 'transportation' separately.

        Sustainable is an adjective which can be used with a wide range of nouns,
        usually complex processes (as contrasted to "sustainability," a noun). It
        means to carry out the process identified by the noun in a way that does not
        undercut the basic conditions for the continuation of the process.

        In the case of running a company, it means doing things such that it can be
        truly a "going concern." It has to treat its employees well, so they
        continue to work hard, and to listen to each other. It has to take care of
        its equipment, and to replace worn out units before they fail at important
        times or injure the employees. It means finding raw materials and ensuring
        they are available for access, including being fair with the owners of the
        resources. Etc.

        Applied to development, it means protecting the resources -- raw material,
        people, sources of finance, and approval of governments and the people -- so
        that it can continue to develop.

        Applied to education, it refers to passing on knowledge in a way that
        doesn't snuff out natural curiosity. ("Sustainable education" is not to be
        confused with "sustainability education").

        Applied to transportation, it has to mean that transportation must be run in
        a way that it doesn't undercut itself. That means not running out of
        energy; not causing people to become angry about the impacts of traffic near
        them and to shut down the corridor or at a larger scale, take other punitive
        measure; not creating ill health for those using it or living nearby; etc.

        Do we understand the basic conditions of transportation? Do we know how
        much energy and how much "rolling stock" is necessary to do each kind of
        movement, and do we know how to ensure we don't go beyond these limits? Can
        we provide access to it that is equitable, so that it will not create
        'enemies' that will politically undercut it, or that will hurt the
        sustainability of other important processes? Can we overcome distance in a
        way that doesn't increase distance for future trips? Is there a magic ratio
        of effort related to getting somewhere compared to the benefits realized
        after we arrive (There is a principle used by the peak-oil people that
        refers to the ratio between the energy used to recover a unit of energy
        compared to the energy provided by the recoverd unit)?

        It seems that transportation today is guilty of anwering all these questions
        badly, such that the basic pre-conditions for transportation are being
        undercut. The energy supplies are running out, such that transportation
        will face both shortages and steeply increasing costs. The quality of air
        and water are in decline, such that the ability to enjoy the fruits of
        travel are declining. The equitable spread of the commons costs and
        negative impacts of transportation are poorly distributed, such that user
        fees for road and parking are either unrelated to use or are charged rates
        that fall far short of the cost of providing them, and such that the poor,
        young, and elderly are more likely to live near busy, noisy roadways, to
        suffer from low transportation resources, and to pay through taxes and
        prices for services they don't use.

        The simplest principle is the oldest. The term "usufruct" refers to the
        traditional practice of picking the fruit, but leaving the tree, so that the
        latter can continue to produce the former, ad infinitum. But are we guilty
        of allowing, and even exalting, development processes, business-as-usual,
        rote-education, and flatulent transportation that is doing the opposite,
        almost literally guilty of burning the furniture in order to keep our
        over-sized palace warm.

        Chris Bradshaw
        Ottawa

        > Sent: Sunday, January 29, 2006 3:51 AM
        > Subject: WorldTransport Forum What is 'Sustainable Transportation'? (And
        how, if at all, does it relate to the New Mobility Agenda?)


        > What is 'Sustainable Transportation'?
        . . . . .
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