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Transport in cities - Wikipedia definitions for your info and completion

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  • Eric Britton
    Dear Colleagues, As some of you know, we give considerably importance to ensuring that the Wikipedia open encyclopedia be developed into a reliable place for
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 13, 2006

      Dear Colleagues,


      As some of you know, we give considerably importance to ensuring that the Wikipedia open encyclopedia be developed into a reliable place for information on transport in cities, sustainable transport, and the New Mobility Agenda and all of its many parts.  Terms that may be as familiar as our hands to you and me are often entirely unknown to many people, including the media (who do come to the Wikipedia for help) as well as many researchers, policy makers and people coming in from other fields. Thus it is important that they have a reliable place to turn to when they encounter these new terms.


      If you go to the Agenda you will see on the top menu an item labeled Key Definitions, which will take you to our pivot page for the work that we are charring out on this new and important reference source. As you will note there thus far coverage extends to the following categories that we view as important in this context: (each of the following are clickable if you are heading this in html and will take you directly to the entry. Transport/Transportation,  Transport in cities,  Sustainable transportation,  New Mobility Agenda,  Bicycle commuting,  BRT - Bus rapid transit,  Car Free Days,  Carpooling,  Carsharing (in 5 languages),  Congestion charging, road pricing, Cycling as transport,  E-Work,  Flextime, flexible hours,  Hierarchy of roads,  HOV Lane,  Paratransit,  Pedestrianisation,  Pedestrian friendly, Precautionary_principle,  Public space,  Ride-sharing,  Segregated cycle facilities,  Share Taxi,  Shared space (Monderman principles and applications),  Street hierarchy,  Taxi futures,  Telecommuting,  Telework,  Traffic Calming,  Transit-Oriented Development,  Transit-proximate development,  United Nations Car Free Days,  Walking as transportation.


      And while I would like to invite you to pick through those items that are of particular  interest tot you, and either to edit directly if that is your taste or to let us know and we’ll do it for you, today I want to draw your attention to an entry that I just made today under their ‘transport’ rubric (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transport, which upon consulting earlier today I found to be flagrantly deficient, the usual supply oriented stuff with the usual grunts about energy – so I jammed in and created the attached entry in an attempt to elucidate the special qualities and problems associated with moving around in cities. Here you have it and I would be very grateful if you would add too, correct, etc. so that we have a world quality entry here.


      Each of these steps may seem so small, but they are all I truly believe important building blocks.


      Thanks for knowing in if your time and interest permit.







      Transport in cities

      Transport in cities, the ways that people and goods move through and serve the complex physical, economic and social metabolism of these living organisms, presents a special case.

      The city presents an unusual context for transport, mobility and policy choices because of the much higher densities of people and activities relative to the rest. This leads to a situation where environmental, economic, public health, social and quality of life considerations and constraints become at least equi-important to pure mobility objectives and requirements.

      Traditionally however urban transport analysis, policies and the investments that follow have been lead by professional transport planners and traffic experts, who have by and large made use of the same forecasting and response tools that they have used to good effect in other sectors. The result of relying on these technical tools has led in most cities to a substantial overbuilding of the road and supporting infrastructure, which has maximized throughput in terms of the numbers of vehicles and the speeds with which they pass through and move around in the build up areas.

      Too much infrastructure and too much smoothing of it for vehicle throughput and speeds has created situations in which in many cities there is not only too much traffic and all the negative impacts that go with it. This is the dilemma of transport policy and practice in our cities today, with the negative results that can be clearly observed in all too many places.

      It is only in recent years that these traditional practices have started to be questioned in many places, and as a result of new types of analysis which bring in a much broader range of skills than those traditionally relied on – spanning such areas as environmental impact analysis, public health, sociologists as well as economists who increasingly are questioning the viability of the old mobility solutions, we are today at a turn in the road as far as transport in cities is concerned.

      It is critically important that analytic procedures and practices in the sector are radically revised and rendered more appropriate for the emerging and very different circumstances presented by 21st century cities. First, because that’s where half of the earth’s population already is. Second because these are the areas with by far the highest growth rates. Third, most of this growth is now taking place in the Global South, whose cities are growing out of control. And hand in had with this because the number of motor vehicles (including two wheeled vehicles and especially in the countries of the developing world) is exploding, leading to levels of traffic and problems which far exceed anything ever seen in the past.

      The field of transport planning and policy in cities is under enormous pressure for change, but despite this the traditional approaches continue to dominate in most places. This is certainly the main battle ground for transport policy in the years immediately ahead.

      (You will find more on this topic here in the sections on Sustainable Transportation and the New Mobility Agenda.


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