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Re: re WorldTransport Forum Sustainable transportation in tongues was Fwd: Re: [Kyoto2020] Express toll roads + More on

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  • Anzir Boodoo
    Michael, ... Apologies for the delays in replying (only 419 unread emails to go!). Let s hit this head on then: Either we stop using the term Sustainable
    Message 1 of 5 , Feb 15, 2006
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      Michael,
      On 1 Feb 2006, at 00:24, Michael Yeates wrote:

      > Dear Eric and others battling for a better world,
      >
      > I note the wonderful effort to describe "sustainable
      > transportation" (ST) and also the interesting comments in the
      > earlier emails (below). My apologies for any double postings but
      > both "topics" are included in the subject line above for those who
      > missed one of them).
      >
      > There are two aspects of ST that seem to be particularly elusive
      > whether for short or long trips.
      >
      > The first is the extent/degree to which the transportation is
      > "sustainable" eg in energy use to name one "measure". But also
      > given the historic role of transport(ation) in encouraging/
      > assisting further development that then requires more
      > transportation which is usually less sustainable (eg cars, planes
      > in particular), surely we need to consider the effects/impacts of
      > transportation on development of towns and cities over time.

      Apologies for the delays in replying (only 419 unread emails to go!).

      Let's hit this head on then:

      Either we stop using the term "Sustainable Transport" OR we realise
      it is multifaceted and separate those facets.

      In an ideal world, we can have fully sustainable solutions aside from
      walking.

      Human Powered Vehicles are not 100% sustainable as they use non
      renewable energy and materials in their manufacture, but they are close.

      Right...

      Sustainability should be considered in the following dimensions (feel
      free to add/amend), and this is always a sliding scale.

      Direct Energy Usage (fuel)
      Energy recovery in usage (eg regenerative braking)
      Dangerous Pollutants & Greenhouse Gases
      Infrastructure / Land take
      Maintenance regimes
      Use of harmful chemicals in use and maintenance
      Energy consumed in manufacture
      Energy recovery at end of life
      Ability to absorb traffic growth
      Ability to cope with traffic patterns

      Personally, I would maintain that only walking is 100% sustainable
      (as an aside, that walkable cities and towns are far more pleasant
      places to live as well, but I reckon we're all biased on that
      front :-) )

      There is then a sliding scale. To my mind, when we talk of
      sustainable transport, we should keep this in mind, and that efforts
      should be concentrated on moving up these scales in terms of
      sustainability. I also think that we have to think holistically, and
      that we cannot conceive of having one mode to the exclusion of all
      others.

      Therefore, I see that bikes, trams, trains, shared taxis, and, yes,
      even cars, have their place within the "transport mix", and we can
      see this only if we move on from thinking in polar "sustainable / not
      sustainable" terms and start thinking in terms of "more sustainable /
      less sustainable", concentrating on the dimensions of sustainability
      that are most relevant.

      (and we can be clever/devious and structure our list in such a way as
      to make one set of modes "look bad", but it's up to us collectively
      whether or not we want to do that).

      > So back to the emails below. It seems to me that ST is NOT well
      > described by light rail if the result is trams bursting at the
      > seams with people when many of those trips are induced by cities
      > and towns that have developed in response to faster and further
      > trips by more people.

      Here we have the problem.

      In order to sell the idea to cities, cities will want to see that
      their spatial influence is being increased. In sustainability terms,
      this is not something we ACTUALLY want to do. Can we really get round
      this?

      Larger cities rely economically on a large hinterland - London would
      collapse economically if commuting from outside the city became
      difficult, and other cities worldwide are similar.

      Do we first have to react to the current situation, to meet the needs
      of the way people are living now more sustainably, before "tightening
      the net"? I can't see that we can do anything else, because if we
      don't appeal to the travel patterns, needs and desires of as many
      people as possible as quickly as possible, then we're going to stay
      as a niche interest. I'm not saying that we have to allow people all
      the mobility choices (spatially) that they have now, but we need to
      ensure they have all the accessibility choices (to jobs, services
      etc.) and don't feel hard done by.

      > I suggest that ST (esp as a "technology" we know currently) really
      > begins with MAXIMUM use of modes with as close as possible (NOT as
      > close as practicable) zero energy expenditure and that the
      > arguments for ST are then much weakened by including high tech non-
      > renewable and carbon/nuclear energy using modes such as public
      > transport (aside from public transport schemes such as Copenhagen's
      > "city bikes" and where the service whether transporting passengers/
      > freight is provided by others using HPVs etc).
      >
      > It follows then that walking including human powered vehicles of
      > all types and for all purposes (ie including cycling) must rank far
      > higher as ST than any form of carbon consuming mode (and similarly
      > for nuclear fuel) and in between are the modes fueled/powered by
      > short term renewables including wind, water and sun and possibly,
      > some other "natural" thermal sources.

      OK. Do we then start from the fuel perspective? In one way it's
      fairly simple and doesn't require as much of the "hard graft" of
      making people change their ways (which the UK government has given up
      on). If we can get more electrically powered public transport to be
      powered renewably and more diesel powered transport moved onto
      biodiesel (and educate people that LPG and LNG are NOT renewables)
      then we have instantly moved a lot of public transport up the
      sustainability scale.

      > Otherwise and perhaps it is inevitable (but then the description of
      > ST should say so), ST will be used to promote modes of transport
      > and development that are far from "sustainable" to the detriment of
      > the modes that are sustainable.

      Now that's a thought... we are back to the structure of the
      "transport mix" here, in having to design systems that do not make
      public transport a substitute for walking trips, or make cycling more
      difficult or dangerous. If we are setting criteria for the design
      (modelling) and evaluation of a public transport solution, should we
      be looking at its impact on walking and cycling as well as on car use?

      Finally, the challenge... can we come up with a list of dimensions of
      sustainability we can agree on, and a list of appraisal criteria that
      says "this is what we want to do in sustainability terms, and these
      are the key measures on which we judge success, whatever ultimate
      form transport projects take". I think we will then be in a position
      to judge whether individual public transport schemes are "good" or
      "bad" in terms of promoting a "Sustainable Transport" ethic (without
      using those words)

      --
      Anzir Boodoo MRes MILT Aff. IRO
      transcience, Leeds Innovation Centre, 103 Clarendon Road, LEEDS LS2 9DF
    • Kerry Wood
      Anzir Two suggestions for your list of the dimensions of transport sustainability: 1) Merge the first two, and the two energy ones towards the end: -- Direct
      Message 2 of 5 , Feb 19, 2006
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        Anzir

        Two suggestions for your list of the dimensions of transport
        sustainability:

        1) Merge the first two, and the two energy ones towards the end:

        -- Direct energy use (less any energy recovery)
        -- Energy consumed in manufacture (less any energy recovery)

        2 Add a new dimension

        -- Conflicts between modes

        Let me explain this new dimension. Urban transport solutions broadly
        fall into four categories:

        Walking and cycling
        Passenger transport use
        Planning objectives
        Car use

        The first two categories are pretty much supportive of each other and
        can be supported by planning objectives: medium density, accessibility,
        urban villages, pedestrian streets, woonerfs and so on. Most of this is
        traditional urban planning, or non-planning, going back centuries, and
        is probably about as sustainable as we are likely to get.

        The problem is that car (and truck) use will inevitably be in conflict
        with this approach, but eliminating all car and truck use is not an
        option. However, they need to be restrained if we are to get a good
        sustainability outcome. Unfortunately the opportunity for restraint was
        missed first time around and we have been living with the consequences
        ever since. Left to itself the car creates risk for pedestrians and
        cyclists, slows buses and trams by congestion, blocks streets (and
        footpaths) by parking, and makes streets and adjacent buildings noisy
        and fume-filled. Cars also offer the prospect of easy escape to rural
        peace but never deliver for any length of time.

        Worse, urban planning has tended to focus on facilitating a
        less-sustainable mode which is in conflict with more
        sustainable/old-fashioned/less sexy modes.

        If sustainability is an objective, then the target needs to be
        minimising the unsustainable effects of car use. This still tends to
        focus on easing congestion, because cars are less polluting in
        free-flowing traffic. But seen from an urban sustainability
        perspective, it might be better to focus on ensuring that the
        sustainable modes can function adequately:

        Lower speed limits (mostly 30 km/h)
        Close rat runs
        Bus and tram priority and lanes (closing lanes to cars will INCREASE
        capacity)
        Less street parking and NO footpath parking
        Regular safe and easy crossing points for pedestrians

        And so on

        k

        Kerry Wood
        38a Calcutta St
        Wellington 6004
        New Zealand
        On 2006 Feb, 16, at 9:32 AM, Anzir Boodoo wrote:

        > Michael,
        > On 1 Feb 2006, at 00:24, Michael Yeates wrote:
        >
        >> Dear Eric and others battling for a better world,
        >>
        >> I note the wonderful effort to describe "sustainable
        >> transportation" (ST) and also the interesting comments in the
        >> earlier emails (below). My apologies for any double postings but
        >> both "topics" are included in the subject line above for those who
        >> missed one of them).
        >>
        >> There are two aspects of ST that seem to be particularly elusive
        >> whether for short or long trips.
        >>
        >> The first is the extent/degree to which the transportation is
        >> "sustainable" eg in energy use to name one "measure". But also
        >> given the historic role of transport(ation) in encouraging/
        >> assisting further development that then requires more
        >> transportation which is usually less sustainable (eg cars, planes
        >> in particular), surely we need to consider the effects/impacts of
        >> transportation on development of towns and cities over time.
        >
        > Apologies for the delays in replying (only 419 unread emails to go!).
        >
        > Let's hit this head on then:
        >
        > Either we stop using the term "Sustainable Transport" OR we realise
        > it is multifaceted and separate those facets.
        >
        > In an ideal world, we can have fully sustainable solutions aside from
        > walking.
        >
        > Human Powered Vehicles are not 100% sustainable as they use non
        > renewable energy and materials in their manufacture, but they are
        > close.
        >
        > Right...
        >
        > Sustainability should be considered in the following dimensions (feel
        > free to add/amend), and this is always a sliding scale.
        >
        > Direct Energy Usage (fuel)
        > Energy recovery in usage (eg regenerative braking)
        > Dangerous Pollutants & Greenhouse Gases
        > Infrastructure / Land take
        > Maintenance regimes
        > Use of harmful chemicals in use and maintenance
        > Energy consumed in manufacture
        > Energy recovery at end of life
        > Ability to absorb traffic growth
        > Ability to cope with traffic patterns
        >
        > Personally, I would maintain that only walking is 100% sustainable
        > (as an aside, that walkable cities and towns are far more pleasant
        > places to live as well, but I reckon we're all biased on that
        > front :-) )
        >
        > There is then a sliding scale. To my mind, when we talk of
        > sustainable transport, we should keep this in mind, and that efforts
        > should be concentrated on moving up these scales in terms of
        > sustainability. I also think that we have to think holistically, and
        > that we cannot conceive of having one mode to the exclusion of all
        > others.
        >
        > Therefore, I see that bikes, trams, trains, shared taxis, and, yes,
        > even cars, have their place within the "transport mix", and we can
        > see this only if we move on from thinking in polar "sustainable / not
        > sustainable" terms and start thinking in terms of "more sustainable /
        > less sustainable", concentrating on the dimensions of sustainability
        > that are most relevant.
        >
        > (and we can be clever/devious and structure our list in such a way as
        > to make one set of modes "look bad", but it's up to us collectively
        > whether or not we want to do that).
        >
        >> So back to the emails below. It seems to me that ST is NOT well
        >> described by light rail if the result is trams bursting at the
        >> seams with people when many of those trips are induced by cities
        >> and towns that have developed in response to faster and further
        >> trips by more people.
        >
        > Here we have the problem.
        >
        > In order to sell the idea to cities, cities will want to see that
        > their spatial influence is being increased. In sustainability terms,
        > this is not something we ACTUALLY want to do. Can we really get round
        > this?
        >
        > Larger cities rely economically on a large hinterland - London would
        > collapse economically if commuting from outside the city became
        > difficult, and other cities worldwide are similar.
        >
        > Do we first have to react to the current situation, to meet the needs
        > of the way people are living now more sustainably, before "tightening
        > the net"? I can't see that we can do anything else, because if we
        > don't appeal to the travel patterns, needs and desires of as many
        > people as possible as quickly as possible, then we're going to stay
        > as a niche interest. I'm not saying that we have to allow people all
        > the mobility choices (spatially) that they have now, but we need to
        > ensure they have all the accessibility choices (to jobs, services
        > etc.) and don't feel hard done by.
        >
        >> I suggest that ST (esp as a "technology" we know currently) really
        >> begins with MAXIMUM use of modes with as close as possible (NOT as
        >> close as practicable) zero energy expenditure and that the
        >> arguments for ST are then much weakened by including high tech non-
        >> renewable and carbon/nuclear energy using modes such as public
        >> transport (aside from public transport schemes such as Copenhagen's
        >> "city bikes" and where the service whether transporting passengers/
        >> freight is provided by others using HPVs etc).
        >>
        >> It follows then that walking including human powered vehicles of
        >> all types and for all purposes (ie including cycling) must rank far
        >> higher as ST than any form of carbon consuming mode (and similarly
        >> for nuclear fuel) and in between are the modes fueled/powered by
        >> short term renewables including wind, water and sun and possibly,
        >> some other "natural" thermal sources.
        >
        > OK. Do we then start from the fuel perspective? In one way it's
        > fairly simple and doesn't require as much of the "hard graft" of
        > making people change their ways (which the UK government has given up
        > on). If we can get more electrically powered public transport to be
        > powered renewably and more diesel powered transport moved onto
        > biodiesel (and educate people that LPG and LNG are NOT renewables)
        > then we have instantly moved a lot of public transport up the
        > sustainability scale.
        >
        >> Otherwise and perhaps it is inevitable (but then the description of
        >> ST should say so), ST will be used to promote modes of transport
        >> and development that are far from "sustainable" to the detriment of
        >> the modes that are sustainable.
        >
        > Now that's a thought... we are back to the structure of the
        > "transport mix" here, in having to design systems that do not make
        > public transport a substitute for walking trips, or make cycling more
        > difficult or dangerous. If we are setting criteria for the design
        > (modelling) and evaluation of a public transport solution, should we
        > be looking at its impact on walking and cycling as well as on car use?
        >
        > Finally, the challenge... can we come up with a list of dimensions of
        > sustainability we can agree on, and a list of appraisal criteria that
        > says "this is what we want to do in sustainability terms, and these
        > are the key measures on which we judge success, whatever ultimate
        > form transport projects take". I think we will then be in a position
        > to judge whether individual public transport schemes are "good" or
        > "bad" in terms of promoting a "Sustainable Transport" ethic (without
        > using those words)
        >
        > --
        > Anzir Boodoo MRes MILT Aff. IRO
        > transcience, Leeds Innovation Centre, 103 Clarendon Road, LEEDS LS2 9DF
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > The New Mobility/World Transport Agenda
        > Consult at: http://NewMobiity.org
        > To post message to group: WorldTransport@yahoogroups.com
        > To subscribe: WorldTransport-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
        > To unsubscribe: WorldTransport-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
        >
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
      • Chris Bradshaw
        ... Well, today we re presented with a second chance to restrain them. And the need for sustainability is a pretty good reason. ... And when every one needs
        Message 3 of 5 , Feb 21, 2006
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          Kerry Wood:

          > The problem is that car (and truck) use will inevitably be in conflict
          > with this approach, but eliminating all car and truck use is not an
          > option. However, they need to be restrained if we are to get a good
          > sustainability outcome. Unfortunately the opportunity for restraint was
          > missed first time around and we have been living with the consequences
          > ever since.

          Well, today we're presented with a second chance to restrain them. And the
          need for sustainability is a pretty good reason.

          > Left to itself the car creates risk for pedestrians and
          > cyclists, slows buses and trams by congestion, blocks streets (and
          > footpaths) by parking, and makes streets and adjacent buildings noisy
          > and fume-filled. Cars also offer the prospect of easy escape to rural
          > peace but never deliver for any length of time.

          And when every one needs to escape at the same time, they're pretty useless
          (e.g., evacuating New Orleans, or typical Friday evenings and Sunday nights
          between cities and cottage country).

          > Worse, urban planning has tended to focus on facilitating a
          > less-sustainable mode which is in conflict with more
          > sustainable/old-fashioned/less sexy modes.

          Indeed.

          > If sustainability is an objective, then the target needs to be
          > minimising the unsustainable effects of car use.

          Not minimizing car use itself?

          > This still tends to
          > focus on easing congestion, because cars are less polluting in
          > free-flowing traffic. But seen from an urban sustainability
          > perspective, it might be better to focus on ensuring that the
          > sustainable modes can function adequately:

          This is where the typical road engineering mindset reveals itself. Reducing
          congestion _induces_ more driving, and it is unsustainable.

          There are two approaches to reducing congestion: reducing the car population
          (which carsharing and high ownership taxes address) or widening the
          congested roads, at least at intersections (where it most affects
          pedestrians, transit, and cycling). A third approach, getting those with
          cars not to use them at peak periods, has proven to be unworkable, since
          people who have cars will simply want to use that as much as possible. You
          have to bribe them with low fares and luxury amenities to get them to use
          it -- or charge enormous sums for parking at the destination.

          > Lower speed limits (mostly 30 km/h)

          Yes! But let's pick the speed of bicycles (20-25 kms/h), getting rid of the
          need to segregate modes by speed, and reducing the speed advantage of the
          unsustainable mode over the sustainable.

          > Close rat runs

          This is an approach that is proving to be unsustainable, partly because it
          lengthens trips for the residents of an area, congests the streets with
          services, where the most walking and cycling occures, and only mimics the
          disdained suburban road patterns. Reducing roadspace is more effective
          (e.g., yield streets).

          > Bus and tram priority and lanes (closing lanes to cars will INCREASE
          > capacity)

          Yes, it increases people capacity, but how to you get people with expensive
          personal cars to to agree to ride in the buses?

          > Less street parking and NO footpath parking

          Sorry, but street parking is superior for pedestrians and car occupants to
          off-street parking, and it reduces space for _moving_ traffic. A city with
          only shared cars would probably not need any off-street parking. Parking
          should stop being a required ancillary use, letting the marketplace provide
          it if the provider can charge enough to exceed his costs. (See Shoup, "The
          High Cost of Free Parking", 2004)

          > Regular safe and easy crossing points for pedestrians

          "Regular" could mean any number of things. A good street is one where a
          pedestrian can cross anywhere, after only a few seconds waiting for a gap in
          traffic (or a conscientious driver who yields). The lengthening of theh
          distance between crossing points to coincide where drivers need access has
          resulted in distances that are all too far apart. But when the street is
          too wide (more than two lanes), pedestrians can be forced to use them.

          Yeates:

          > > In order to sell the idea to cities, cities will want to see that
          > > their spatial influence is being increased. In sustainability terms,
          > > this is not something we ACTUALLY want to do. Can we really get round
          > > this?

          Cities are simply inventions in increased human productivity and creativity
          that comes with compacting space according to some simple rules. Those
          rules were thrown out with the embrace of the automobile by consumers and
          engineers (and engineering is the father of land-use planning, not
          architecture, as it should have been, since the latter understood the way
          city culture is created and enhanced). Ask yourself, does the city of today
          allow the average resident to reach as many everyday destinations with a
          10-minute drive as the city of 100 years ago provided with a 10-minute
          _walk_?

          > > Larger cities rely economically on a large hinterland - London would
          > > collapse economically if commuting from outside the city became
          > > difficult, and other cities worldwide are similar.

          The hinterland is very important for getting food and natural resources, but
          there is nothing inherent in the urban workforce having to live in the
          hinterland, too.

          > > Do we first have to react to the current situation, to meet the needs
          > > of the way people are living now more sustainably, before "tightening
          > > the net"? I can't see that we can do anything else, because if we
          > > don't appeal to the travel patterns, needs and desires of as many
          > > people as possible as quickly as possible, then we're going to stay
          > > as a niche interest. I'm not saying that we have to allow people all
          > > the mobility choices (spatially) that they have now, but we need to
          > > ensure they have all the accessibility choices (to jobs, services
          > > etc.) and don't feel hard done by.

          I think that the energy shortages and price that are accompanying 'peak oil'
          may pre-empt this gentle approach.

          > >> It follows then that walking including human powered vehicles of
          > >> all types and for all purposes (ie including cycling) must rank far
          > >> higher as ST than any form of carbon consuming mode

          I have come up with a way to measure different trips: Distance x Modal
          'footprint' x a factor that accounts for storage requirements (parking),
          manufacturing costs, anxiety (speed x size x threat to energy security), and
          pollution (not just directly from the vehicle). For example, walking in a
          traditional neighbourhood to the grocery store 1/2 km away provides a score
          of 1 (1km x 1m2 x factor of one); the same trip in suburbia to a grocery
          store 3.5 kms away is scored as 1,050 (7km x 30m2 x factor of 5).

          As to Dave Wetzel's pitch for land taxes, I find this approach looks only at
          density and ignores how the land uses in an area _complement_ each other to
          reduce the length of trips required by the people who reside and work there.
          If there is good complementarity (what I call TRD, or travel-reducing
          development), the taxes should actually be lower than for properties in
          areas that don't have that quality. The latter areas 'cause' many longer
          (or high-footprint) trips, which cost the city administration (and the
          travelers) lots. Planners have championed _compatibility_ of land uses
          instead of _complementarity_, and have required those doing the building to
          meet only one significant need of the land's occupants: a place to park
          their car, the ubiuquitous distance-slayer. (The requirement to provide a
          toilet is in the building code, not the planner's zoning code.)

          Chris Bradshaw
          Ottawa
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