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Showing posts from February, 2008

Motorcycles on the Rise in Africa

Cheap motorised two-wheelers have long been ubiquitous in various Asian countries. Now their numbers are surging in Africa too. Taiwan was apparently the pioneer of mass motor scooter ownership and use in the 1970s. Scooters lined every footway in 1996 when I visited Taipei. Today Vietnam's cities are the undisputed motorcycle capitals of the world. The volume of motorcycle traffic in Vietnamese cities is astounding! Ho Chi Minh City = Motorcycle City Motorcycles are also significant in (among others) Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, parts of China, and increasingly India. We have seen in Asia that motorcycles can be both highly problematic and a boon for people who sorely need better mobility. The dilemmas often create ambivalence, which is reflected in the diverse policies seen in Asian cities. Some welcome and accommodate motorcycles (as in Malaysia) while some seek to limit or even ban them (as in some Chinese cities). Vietnam's large cities have recently been tryin

Median BRT does not force users to cross more traffic lanes!

This is a follow-up to my earlier post about Delhi's BRT project. Now I do realise that this project may not be a perfect example of the well-proven BRT genre. But some of the arguments being thrown up against it are pure nonsense. One foolish claim is that median-BRT will force bus users to cross more streets, or more lanes of traffic. This is suggested for example, by an anti-BRT article in India's Pioneer newspaper on November 7, 2007: The most disconcerting aspect of the lunatic HCBS idea is the placement of bus stops in the centre of the road in those sections where the bus lanes run down the middle. ... When the scheme becomes operational, passengers will be required to cross the road on either side to access the bus stop. In the best of times, this stretch is marked by unruly motorists/scooterists and even more unruly pedestrians. Once they are legitimately given the right to scamper across the road, the ensuing chaos can be easily visualised. Gosh. I don't know wh

A bad week for BRT in Delhi

{Update: this blog now has a more recent - 22 April- posting on Delhi's BRT } A backlash against BRT has been hitting Delhi. Delhi's BRT, or High Capacity Bus System (HCBS) as it is often known in India, has been facing a barrage of vitriolic newspaper attacks. These have included quite vicious assaults on the credibility of IIT Delhi academics, Dinesh Mohan and Geetam Tiwari, who have championed and helped design the system (if you follow the link, click on 'urban transport') . Anti-BRT headlines have included: 'Experts' order serial rape of Delhi roads (in the Pioneer) Will somebody wake up to stop this HCBS madness? (Pioneer) Buses Hog Space, Cars Squeezed Out (Times of India, Nov 16, 2007) Unfortunately, it appears that these and similar attacks have now drawn a political response. Yesterday, the Chief Minister of Delhi, Sheila Dikshit, was reported (somewhat triumphantly by the Times of India) to have halted further BRT development beyond the initial co

Guangzhou parking cure worse than disease?

[Update: Looking for more parking policy information? Try Reinventing Parking. ] Urban Transport News links to some troubling parking news from Guangzhou in southern China. Guangzhou • 50,000 new parking spaces for Guangzhou • 2/19/2008 • China Daily • Parking Wang Dong, director of the Guangzhou urban planning bureau, said the local government plans to build large-scale parking lots at key stations to give motorists better access to the metro service and downtown destinations. "We will increase the total number of parking spaces in the city by 150,000 between now and 2010, with 50,000 coming this year," Wang said. In addition, Wang said the urban planning authority has introduced a new ruling that stipulates all new property developments must provide one car parking space for every 200 sq m of residential accommodation. The first part is about 'park and ride' at urban rail stations. More on that ano

Welcome Note

Here I am starting a new blog on urban transport. It is the successor to my older, now-dormant effort at Urban Transport Issues Asia . I am starting over because I don't want to be limited to Asian cities. Why the name 'reinventing'? One reason is that I see a wave of innovation breaking and opening up important new possibilities to be seized. These are interesting times to be thinking about urban transport policy. More soon.