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The future of "xTransit"

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  • Eric Britton
    ... special interest in demand response transportation. I see that there has been no discussion on this list for a long while, but who knows. Looks good
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 26, 2008
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      >> Comment from user taunyak@...: I am a transit consultant with a special interest in demand response transportation. I see that there has been no discussion on this list for a long while, but who knows. Looks good anyway. :)<<

       

      This question refers to the focus discussion group for xTransit that we created in July 2002 under our program Reinventing Transport in Cities at http://xtransit.newmobility.org/

       

      ·         xTransit, which for the record we define as: “Getting people in and around cities in road vehicles, smaller than full sized buses, driven by real human beings, dynamically shared with others, and aided by state of the art communications technologies -- and all of that as no less than the only way to offer "car like" mobility in most of our 21st century cities without killing the cities themselves (the old mobility way).”

       

      This is an important question and I hope that those of you who care about how we share ideas and clues for more sustainable cities and better transportation arrangements will take a minute to think about it with us. And possibly share your thoughts and comments.  This you may do either to the xTransit list at xTransit@yahoogroups.com, the new mobility list at NewMobilityCafe@yahoogroups.com, or if you think it best to me off list via Eric.Britton@....  In any event I intend as usual to make some kind of synopsis of the comments and recommendations  that I shall share with the group here once the comments have come in and been digested.

       

      Immediate context - knowledge building” :

       

      Before digging in on this one, I need to point out that this consciousness of how better to coordinate our work and exchanges is not only a one shot affair – it is very much on my mind these days. The context for this is our “knowledge building” project at http://www.knowledge.newmobility.org. It is, I really think, a useful and timely project, and one of the things that it is predicated on is a belief that when it comes to groups working on new mobility and sustainable development and climate issues, there is still far too much silo-ing going on.  If I may: we are putting ourselves in front of these critical  issues, group by group and program by program. And we are, despite conferences, print and the internet still not getting the kind of 1 + 1 = 3 advantage that deep networking can give us.

       

      But on the other hand here I am impetuously accusing these fine people of getting trapped in their own silos, while here at the New Mobility Agenda we have some unresolved problems on this score of our own. For example, we have over the years crated no less than twenty different focus groups (see attached for background)  and while this may help in keeping the exchanges within each forum focused on the specific topic, it nonetheless is a bit simple minded since the one thing we know about transport in cities is that everything touches pretty much everything else. Oops.

       

      So I now want to figure out how I should be answering taunyak@.... To encourage him to come on in to the xTransit forum which we will envigor with a new wave of exchanges? Or instead should we be considering bringing the topic back into the main forum of the New Mobility Agenda?

       

      Why this is important:

       

      The New Mobility strategy has three main building pillars:

       

      a.     To reduce VM/KT radically. (You can’t even start to move toward sustainable unless you put this at the top of the agenda. No contest!)

      b.    To do it fast: Bearing in mind the excellent heads-up provided by President Clinton just two years ago on the occasion of the established of the Clinton Climate Initiative when he said: “We have to reduce about 80% of our greenhouse gas emissions over the next 10 to 15 years." This means that we should be aiming for at least 5% reductions annually – and the only way to achieve this is via those radical VM/KT reductions.

      c.     To provide new, better, faster, cheaper means of getting around in the city: But this is going to be doable only if we are able to offer high quality transportation services. And this is the main challenge of the New Mobility Agenda.  

      xTransit is one of those building blocks, and unlike approaches such as BRT, cycling improvements, Better-Faster-Cheaper public transport, this is an area which has yet to be explored as a key high profile component of the new system strategy, and developed and demonstrated with clear models. That is the next step.

       

      *           *           *

       

      What does this mean in the face of taunyak’s query? Should we be continuing to off-stream the xTransit discussions so that we save the time and patience of the thousand or so people who tune into the new mobility forum? Or should we be giving this good idea a good kick and cranking up both our communications and exchanges on this important topic and bringing it into the heart of the new mobility discussions?

       

      I have my own ideas on this as you can imagine, but I would be very interested to hear what you have to say on it.

       

      Kind thanks,

       

      Eric Britton

       

    • Anzir Boodoo
      Eric, I think you re giving the answer right there... it s part of the solution, and one part which we don t see any movement on. I also think it s a necessary
      Message 2 of 2 , Aug 26, 2008
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        Eric,

        I think you're giving the answer right there... it's part of the
        solution, and one part which we don't see any movement on.

        I also think it's a necessary part of the solution in rural/semi-rural
        areas and outer suburban areas with travel patterns too diverse to
        support bus services in every direction. Just like poor old walking,
        it's one of the things we need to plan for in a New Mobility (TM)
        future, but which we're still behind on...

        The problem with xTransit is that it's trying to do a lot of things,
        for example:

        a. (xTransit in Leeds, UK) Providing access to those unable to use
        normal public transport services, for example electric wheelchairs are
        usually quite awkward on normal buses as they are designed to fit the
        turning circles and brakes of manual wheelchairs.

        b. (xTransit in Islanbul, Turkey) Providing access to and from places
        without a regular bus service by running in a general direction,
        picking people up along main roads and sometimes diverting to drop
        them off.

        c. (xTransit in Lincolnshire, UK) Linking key interurban transport
        services to enable people who live several km from a bus service to go
        to a village or town in time to connect with the main bus route

        ...and that's just three examples... potentially xTransit is anything
        you can do with a minibus, whether it is any of the vehicles pictured
        in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolmus or more modern vehicles built
        for this purpose such as the Alero ( http://www.optare.com/
        op_alero.htm ).

        Personally, I think this makes it near impossible to get a handle on,
        so it doesn't surprise me that there's been little activity in the
        world of xTransit. What can we do about it? I think we need to define
        xTransit's niches in the context of the whole New Mobility (TM)
        system. Unlike mainline transit services, I don't think it will fill
        one easily definable niche, despite what I was thinking 2 years ago
        (attached)



        On 26 Aug 2008, at 14:45, Eric Britton wrote:

        > >> Comment from user taunyak@...: I am a transit consultant
        > with a special interest in demand response transportation. I see
        > that there has been no discussion on this list for a long while, but
        > who knows. Looks good anyway. :)<<
        > So I now want to figure out how I should be answering taunyak@...
        > . To encourage him to come on in to the xTransit forum which we will
        > envigor with a new wave of exchanges? Or instead should we be
        > considering bringing the topic back into the main forum of the New
        > Mobility Agenda?
        >
        > Why this is important:
        >
        > The New Mobility strategy has three main building pillars:
        >
        > a. To reduce VM/KT radically. (You can’t even start to move
        > toward sustainable unless you put this at the top of the agenda. No
        > contest!)
        >
        > b. To do it fast: Bearing in mind the excellent heads-up provided
        > by President Clinton just two years ago on the occasion of the
        > established of the Clinton Climate Initiative when he said: “We have
        > to reduce about 80% of our greenhouse gas emissions over the next 10
        > to 15 years." This means that we should be aiming for at least 5%
        > reductions annually – and the only way to achieve this is via those
        > radical VM/KT reductions.
        >
        > c. To provide new, better, faster, cheaper means of getting
        > around in the city: But this is going to be doable only if we are
        > able to offer high quality transportation services. And this is the
        > main challenge of the New Mobility Agenda.
        >
        > xTransit is one of those building blocks, and unlike approaches such
        > as BRT, cycling improvements, Better-Faster-Cheaper public
        > transport, this is an area which has yet to be explored as a key
        > high profile component of the new system strategy, and developed and
        > demonstrated with clear models. That is the next step.
        >
        > What does this mean in the face of taunyak’s query? Should we be
        > continuing to off-stream the xTransit discussions so that we save
        > the time and patience of the thousand or so people who tune into the
        > new mobility forum? Or should we be giving this good idea a good
        > kick and cranking up both our communications and exchanges on this
        > important topic and bringing it into the heart of the new mobility
        > discussions?
        >
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