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Carfree day curfew?

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  • ecopl@n.adsl
    Further to the good observations of Martin Strid (Swedish National Road Administration) and Derek Scrafton (former Director General for Transport (and roads),
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 13, 2000
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      Further to the good observations of Martin Strid (Swedish National Road
      Administration) and Derek Scrafton (former Director General for Transport
      (and roads), S. Australia) under this well chosen heading, three quick
      points. (And while I do not want to do violence to the good practices of
      this forum which require that we keep the same subject for these
      discussions, I would like to sub-subject this contribution under the
      heading: “Where is the sustainable transportation choir when we need them
      most?”)
      = = = = = = =

      The first is a point of background on the authors of those notes. Both of
      these colleagues work or have worked extensively in positions of
      considerable responsibility in the area of road and transport policy and
      practice in their respective countries. At the same time, in addition to
      their professional responsibilities, both have a long track record of
      personal choices and practices which put them in a definite minority potion
      relative to the rest of their senior colleagues – that is neither uses a car
      on a regular basis in their daily lives. I make this point simply to point
      up that they have deep backgrounds on both sides of our topic here and are
      well worth listening to (not always the case on the Web of course).

      The second is to state in my own words an anomaly at which they are both
      hinting. Over the last generation we have grown a fairly large crop around
      the world of environmentalists, researchers, activists, concerned citizens
      and even transportation practitioners who have come to agree – with a large
      range of variations – on the thesis that one of the important tools of
      sustainable transport policy is better (i.e., higher) fuel prices. There
      has been very little debate within the choir about whether or not that’s a
      good idea, since it’s largely taken as scripture. The only wrinkle in the
      discussions over all these years is the concern on HOW to get to there
      (proper pricing) from here. And without wishing to be unfair, I think we
      can say that while some print has been spilled on this important subject,
      not much of any real usefulness has thus far emerged. At least if we look
      at what is actually happening out there in the real (i.e., non-print) world.

      Which brings me to my final point, namely – WHERE IS THE SUSTAINABLE
      TRANSPORTATION CHOIR when all of this is taking place? Oil prices are up
      (as we want them to be), angry citizens are out in the streets blocking
      traffic (and in the process making car free cites as Martin has so cogently
      pointed out), others of our fellow citizens are lamenting at the pump like
      jilted lovers, and the editorialists, politicians, commentators are all out
      there warbling on the international stage… without it is clear the vaguest
      clue of what they are talking about in terms of the broader, longer term
      perspectives which are the proper concern of policy makers and responsible
      citizens.

      The heat is on, the opportunity is there, and where are we? Not very
      visible I am afraid.

      So… in an attempt to fill this void in some small way, I would like to
      propose a Special Edition of World Transport Policy and Practice that will
      be given over to this very subject. As a working title and until something
      better comes along, I propose – “What’s Wrong with High Fuel Prices and How
      Can We Make Them Stick”. Not very pretty I am afraid, but I am sure that
      with thought and work we shall come up with something far better. It will
      of course take us some months to bring this all together, and over that
      period most if not all of the heat in this debate will have been dispersed.
      But what we can do is see what can be done to get ready for the next time
      around – of which we can be most sure.

      We shall need some contributors and a thoughtful, energetic, team-playing
      Visiting Editor to take over reasonability for pulling the whole thing
      together in cooperation with our small editorial group. Further discussion
      of this can take place on the @ccess on the Web site (
      http://www.ecoplan.org/access), whose discussion forum (at
      access-forum@egroups.com <mailto:access-forum@egroups.com> ) is the place
      for these more general transport related exchanges here under The Commons.
      The site for the Journal is, of course, http://ecoplan.org/wtpp.

      Comments? Volunteers?

      Eric Britton

      ecopl@n ___ technology, economy, society ___
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