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"When the facts change, sir, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?"

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  • Morten Lange
    [Thanks for these cogent comments Morten. They are getting my full attention. And in case you have not gotten into it, at least some of the points that you
    Message 1 of 2 , Oct 28, 2007
      [Thanks for these cogent comments Morten. They are getting my full attention. And in case you have not gotten into it, at least some of the points that you bring up are also key topics in the Invent.NewMobility.org site. This discussion is being moved over to the New Mobility Idea Factory which you can pick up on the top menu of http://www.invent.newmobility.org The address for posting there (where this discussion is being housed) is NewMobilityCafe@yahoogroups.com. ]

      Hi Eric,

      I like the radical thinking, but I am not sure that it is all that plausible to
      get support, yet. I think that those that formulate policies should be careful
      to appeal to the rationality of the populace, and go in part for solutions that
      are synergetic, positive, and appeal to people's sense of justice.

      Example :
      For in-city transport the increased use of bicycles ( and to some extent
      walking) instead of cars brings multiple benefits :
      - The apparently best bet for doing some things effective about sedentary
      lifestyles and obesity
      - Reduced energy consumption
      - Reduced pollution : fumes, ultrafine particulate matter, greenhouse emissions
      - Space consumption much less than for cars, and greater flexibility,
      especially in city centres
      - Improved equity, between transport modes, between social groups
      - Money saved, which potentially means time saved
      - No need to go to the expensive gym ( at least not as often )
      - A strengthening of local shops and communities

      However, I do know that measures that initially were heavily criticised like
      congestion charging in London and Stockholm (also similar schemes in many other
      cities, Oslo, Singapore etc) and steeply increasing charges on (car) parking in
      Copenhagen, have since proven to be very positive measures for those cities.

      A problem with CAFE : CAFE means "corporate average fuel economy".

      So diesel would win over standard petrol big time. But diesel brings more soot,
      and more soot means less healthy air. Although some studies have shown that air
      pollution can be worse inside cars than for cyclists, this is still debated,
      and it is no denying that cyclists and pedestrians _feel_ more vulnerable to
      pollutions from cars than drivers, as they feel the transients much more readily
      than car drivers. Some car drivers may even have filters that they believe
      will "save" them.

      So unless CAFE includes or is supplemented with regulations on NOx, soot,
      ultrafine particles etc, I think it could have some unintended adverse effects.

      Suggested approaches

      - Polluter pays principle. I can point to analysis of externalized costs of
      transport if needed. Taxes on car use should get closer to the externalised
      cost, in steps, and made to pay for improvement in facilities for public
      transport, walking and cycling.
      - No more subsidised (or free) parking
      - Outlaw benefits for those that drive (that is not also available for others),
      and put a generalised transport allowance into place, that does not benefit
      those that commute or do go to meetings in expensive ways ( cars )
      - Outlaw supporting physical activity like gym or swimming without recognising
      cycling or walking to work as beneficial physical exercise worthy of the same
      - Car traffic kills more people than smoking. Advertisements of cars must
      include warnings akin to those on tobacco, or else pay 10% advert-tax for
      advertisements for public transport, walking and cycling - perhaps in equal
      shares. - and/or - : car advertisements must be truthful and show realistic
      situations in their advertising, including congestion and fumes, unclean cars.

      Just my (quick)two cents :-)

      Best Regards,
      Morten Lange
      Icelandic Cyclist' Federation
      ( a full member of European Cyclists' Federation )


      Regarding provisioning for cycling :
      Remember that cycle lanes and paths in cities do not seem to improve safety as
      such, and provisioning for cycling on streets, like advanced stop lines for
      cyclists, green waves for cyclists etc, street cycling proficiency training
      courses and education of drivers are more important. Also bicycle helmets seem
      to have much, much stronger effect in reducing cycling for transport than in
      reducing the frequency of severe head injuries. ( See
      en.Wikipedia.org/Bicycle_helmet and cyclehelmets.org )

      P.S2 :

      A quote from a fresh UK government report :


      Tackling obesity has striking similarities with tackling climate change. Both
      need whole societal change with cross governmental action and long term
      commitment. Many climate change goals would also help prevent obesity, such as
      measures to reduce traffic congestion, increase cycling or design sustainable
      communities. Tackling them together would enhance the effectiveness of action.
      There are also synergies with other policy goals such as increasing social
      inclusion and narrowing health inequalities since obesity’s impact is
      greatest on the poorest.

      --- "eric.britton" <eric.britton@...> wrote:

      > [If you have comments kindly send to NewMobilityCafe@yahoogroups.com. Thank
      > you.]
      > Dear World Wide Colleagues,
      > You are all very knowledgeable about this, so let me try the following harsh
      > statement in quick summary form on you for size and comment. Please tell me
      > if and where I am wrong!
      > There are three things we have to do to get the needed huge reduction of
      > greenhouse gasses coming out of the transportation sector (in general and of
      > course in the cities):
      > 1. A carbon tax. (Yes, yes. I know all the reasons why this "can't be
      > done". But hey! this is the one of the most powerful instruments at our
      > disposal .. and not only that, all the rest are some well-dressed
      > gentleman's favorite and sweetly profitable playthings)
      > 2. A strong sharpening of CAFE standards. (We have to squeeze until the
      > pips squeak. That is to say that our objective is not to drive the sources
      > of innovation out of business, but radically to overhaul the nature of their
      > products and businesses, and this as quickly as they can under almost
      > wartime conditions manage. They will NOT like it, but we will chose the
      > levels that they can with great effort and genius achieve.)
      > 3. Taking at least half of all the cars off the road. Forever. (And
      > almost all the cars out of the cities. and for sure all SOVs).
      > The best public policy would combine all three of these powerful motors.
      > The second best (which might be good enough) would combine two of the three.
      > And that's all there is to it!
      > Am I wrong in this? Please show me.
      Eric Britton
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