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Jakarta's transport is daunting not hopeless

Jakarta's urban transport problems are epic and this metropolis of 24 million people seems an unlikely place to look for lessons, except maybe cautionary ones.

But Yoga Adiwinarto, ITDP’s Country Director for Indonesia, wants you to know there is progress. In fact, there are lessons for other large cities in middle-income countries to learn from.

Yoga and I discussed urban transport in Jakarta for Reinventing Transport episode #14. 


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Here are highlights of our conversation I asked Yoga to 'paint a picture' of Jakarta, urban transport challenges and what it feels like to move around the city. [1:45]The challenges are huge but there have been improvements, to public transport for example. [6:58]The TransJakarta BRT started well in 2004, faced a very rough patch about five years later (a series of buses even caught fire!). [8:30]Several important reforms to TransJakarta this decade have resulted in huge improvements and dram…

Simplify and Connect: a key to better bus networks

What if I said your city could have better public transport without more funding or higher fares? Does that sound too good to be true?

Reinventing Transport this time is a basic explainer for the idea that public transport networks are often improved by being simplified. It can be a low-cost step to a better system.  



If people in your city face long waiting times for buses, there might be too many bus lines. A simplified network may offer better service.

Does that sound intriguing? Or maybe this issue is old hat for you. Either way, I hope you will get something from listening to the episode or reading the article below.
The basic idea Imagine a town with 100 buses. And suppose the town has 25 bus lines. There would be four buses for each line. But suppose the town simplifies its bus network down to just five lines. Now there are 20 buses per bus line.

Electric two-wheelers: how big will they be?

Stefan Bakker sees a big future for electric vehicles with two wheels. 

I asked Stefan to join me for this month's Reinventing Transport, after reading his “Electric Two-Wheelers, Sustainable Mobility and the City”.



Learn more about Stefan Bakker via LinkedIn or ResearchGate.

Electric two-wheelers, such as e-bikes, get less attention than electric cars or even electric buses. But two-wheeled electric vehicles are increasing in numbers faster and are already making more of a difference to carbon emissions than their larger cousins.

Why are their numbers surging? How much potential is there? Which kinds will take off, the lighter/slower or the heavier/faster? (Do you see the double meaning in the title?) What benefits and risks/costs do they have? What policies are appropriate? Stefan and I tackled these questions and more.

Here are highlights from the conversation.
Stefan was prompted to write about electric two-wheelers after several years working in Southeast Asia where he noticed th…

An end to mass car ownership without draconian policies? (And a tribute to Chris Bradshaw)

Could we end the era of mass car ownership without a huge fight ("they're coming to take our cars!") and without draconian policies? 

That's the focus of this article and podcast episode (Reinventing Transport #11).

It is based on an essay I wrote in 2011 (but unfortunately never published). I speculated about a future dominated by "shared" modes of transport and with much less personal possession of motor vehicles. I was overly optimistic in places and likely wrong on various points. But I hope I was wrong in thought-provoking ways. I think this is still relevant 8 years later to ideas like Mobility as a Service and initiatives such as the "Shared Mobility Principles for Livable Cities" and the New Urban Mobility (NUMO) alliance. But you be the judge.


This edition is also a tribute to Chris Bradshaw.  Chris Bradshaw was the person who asked me to write the essay on ending mass car ownership. It was for a journal special edition he was editing whi…

Auckland shows car-dependent cities how to change

This encouraging Reinventing Transport episode takes another look at Auckland in New Zealand.

This time we focus on the city itself and how this car-dependent metropolitan area has been showing its peers how to change course.

This is actually the third part of my December 2018 discussion with Matt Lowrie and Patrick Reynolds, two of the bloggers on the Greater Auckland blog. In the first part, which was Reinventing Transport episode #9, we looked at their blog, Greater Auckland, and how it has become so influential. The second part was on my other podcast, Reinventing Parking, recently, where Matt and I talked about Auckland’s impressive parking reforms.

Auckland’s experience has a lot to teach other cities and Patrick and Matt are incredibly knowledgeable guides.

Here are highlights from the conversation.
Auckland is still a car-dependent city but it is now rapidly becoming less car-dependent. All the key trends are in the right direction. [1:20]Rapid population growth and a geography …

The blog that's changing Auckland and what you can learn from it

I recently interviewed Patrick Reynolds and Matt Lowrie who are two of the bloggers on the Greater Auckland blog in New Zealand’s largest city.  It was a wide ranging conversation which will eventually become two Reinventing Transport episodes and one Reinventing Parking episode.

Auckland is a striking example of a rather car dependent city that has actually been changing some of its key trends and taking some remarkable steps towards becoming a different kind of city in which other transport options are steadily improving. This story will be the focus of anther episode.

Today's episode focuses on the Greater Auckland blog itself and its role in Auckland’s transport (and planning) policy conversations and debates. 

Greater Auckland is an influential example of a transport policy (and planning) focused blog/site with an advocacy mission. It is akin to sites like the Streetsblogs and Greater Greater Washington.

Greater Auckland has been amazingly effective and influential and there …

Parking: What's Wrong and How to Fix It

We should stop planning parking the way we plan toilets. I began with that odd (but true) statement to get your attention, obviously. But I am also serious.

Many people think parking policy is boring, which is unfortunate, because boring or not, parking is important.

If you care about cities and urban mobility, you really need to pay some attention to parking.

Most local governments really do plan parking the same way they plan toilets (using minimum parking/toilet requirements) and it is disastrous. More on that below.

Municipalities do this because of another mistake - treating on-street parking as a public good (and therefore failing to manage it properly). Please take note: parking in cities is generally NOT a public good.

These two mistakes cause huge problems:
1. on-street parking problems, which worsen many other mobility and street problems, and  2. a slow-motion disaster of increasingly excessive (but under-used) off-street parking supply which fuels car dependence.

It's …

Transport-based City Types and their Trajectories

I want to help you get perspective on your city and its transport system with the help of simple city types based on their dominant transport modes, such as Walking Cities, Transit Cities, Bus Cities, Motorcycle Cities and Car Cities.

This way of thinking about cities is a heuristic (an imperfect mental model or technique that is nevertheless good enough to be helpful). And it obviously is imperfect. For example, real cities often have various modes of transport, and modern cities are really all some kind of hybrid city type.

But it is still useful, especially if we add the idea of a Traffic Saturated City, which is a very different beast from a Car City. It is important for change-makers in Traffic Saturated Cities to be aware they are not in automobile dependent cities yet.

Options for digesting this: 
Read the brief article below and study the diagrams. They complement the podcast. For more depth, LISTEN to the 37 minute audio with the player above. A full transcript of the podcast is…

Reducing transport emissions: lessons from a career

Margarita Parra and I discussed lessons from her 8 years directing William and Flora Hewlett Foundation grant-making aimed at reducing transportation-related air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.The interview was prompted by an article Margarita wrote for the Foundation’s website to reflect on and share lessons learned from her work there.  As I end my term as Program Officer of the @Hewlett_Found I want to share my learning and experience advocating for #lowcarbon#transport. Check my blog!https://t.co/Y47TKTvXMf — Margarita Parra (@ciclistamaluca) July 19, 2018The article was also picked up (and adapted slightly) by WRI’s the CityFix blog
Margarita is worth paying attention to on this issue given her long track record of working on it through several relevant organizations. Before Hewlett Foundation, her experience included ICLEI's Ecomobility programme. She is also a Member of the Board of Directors for the Partnership on Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport (SLoCaT). 
Here i…

"Slow" is not a dirty word

Carlos Felipe Pardo and I discussed the intriguing and neglected idea of "slowness" in urban transport. Slowness has a poor reputation but it has its place, especially in cities. 

Speed offers to bring more destinations within reach. Yet slow-but-steady is often better than a series of sprints between traffic signals or delays. 

Deliberately slowing certain sensitive segments of many vehicle trips could bring huge benefits.

Does that sound puzzling? Read on (or listen) and all will become clearer.


Listen with the player above or subscribe to the podcast with your favorite podcast player (click on the wifi symbol) or read the detailed summary below. Digest my discussion with Carlos in several ways: READ the article below. LISTEN to the audio with the player above. The Youtube version is at the end of this post (scroll to the bottom).My Patreon patrons will be able to download a full transcript. Subscribe to the audio podcast if you are a podcast listener (search for 'Reinven…

Singapore Urban Transport: The Warts-and-All Story

Singapore's National Day is this week (9 August). So I decided to share Singapore's urban transport story - or my slightly unusual take on itIt isa unique city in various ways but its urban transport policies are well worth your attention even if you don't live in Singapore.

This is a warts-and-all version of the story, and it is my own view, not any kind of official one.

It's also a little wonkish in parts. [Hi all you policy wonks!]

But I hope to keep your interest with some surprising twists, such as:
Why was the bus-only public transport system in an awful state by the early 1970s?If the buses were awful in early 1974, how was Singapore able to impose drastic increases to the cost of motoring in 1975?You will have guessed that the buses must have been drastically improved in 1974/75. But how was that achieved?Singapore urban transport enjoyed success through the 1980s and 1990s but its core social bargain (cars for the rich; decent but basic public transport for …

Multimodal urban transport: Todd Litman explains how and why

I interviewed the energetic Todd Litman, founder and Executive Director of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute (VTPI). I am a great admirer of his work, most of which he generously shares on the VTPI website.

If you want less car-focused and more multi-modal transport planning, you'll benefit from Todd's clear explanations of the key problems with conventional urban transport planning, why we need multi-modal urban transport planning and how to get it.


Scroll down to read a summary (including links to relevant articles and reports by Todd).Or listen to the interview (Episode 3 of the Reinventing Transport podcast) with this player. If you can't see the player, click HERE to listen. If you like podcasts, please do subscribe using your favorite podcast app. 



The conversation covered these main topics (more details are below but the audio interview provides an even deeper dive into these issues):
Multimodal versus conventional transport planningComprehensive transportation …

Streets for people in India: Shreya Gadepalli

‘Complete Streets’ are spreading rapidly in India, according to Shreya Gadepalli of ITDP India, who I interviewed for Episode 2 of the Reinventing Transport podcast.  Chennai and Pune, in particular, are improving conditions for people on foot, on bicycles and in buses. We spoke about India but her comments are relevant internationally.

Highlights from our conversation are below, followed by links to relevant documents and more detail about Shreya herself.  Right at the end you can read a full transcript.

To listen use the player below OR click here OR search for "Reinventing Transport" in your podcast app OR scroll to the bottom to watch the Youtube video version. 



The need for complete street improvements in India is enormous and urgent. “Less than one percent of streets in urban India actually have footpaths. There is almost no infrastructure for cycling and the majority of space is hogged by personal motor vehicles even though they account for less than a quarter of all tri…

Trailer for the new Reinventing Transport podcast

Here is the Trailer for the new Reinventing Transport show, an international podcast to help you work locally for better urban mobility and better cities.



Can't see the player? Try clicking here

UPDATE: Scroll down for a video version. 

Regular Reinventing Transport episodes will start in June July 2018. After that, they will go out once every two weeks.

Are you already a podcast listener? You can subscribe now![It is free.] Here are three ways:
in the player above, click the symbol that looks like a wifi signal strength icon.  There are links to subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and GooglePlay Music.copy the RSS Feed address (http://reinventingtransport.libsyn.com/rss)  into your favourite podcast player app. (You can also get this adddress by rightclicking or clicking 'RSS Feed' after you clicked the wifi icon in the player above.)search for 'Reinventing Transport' in your podcast player app. If it doesn't show up yet, it should be there within the next d…