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Showing posts from September, 2008

BRT Dos and Don'ts (Part One)

Is your city considering Bus Rapid Transit? If so then you are in fine company.

As more and more cities implement BRT, we are gradually learning what works and what doesn't.

DON'T put your BRT in an outer lane by the curb
Much more than median lanes, curb-side lanes are prone to delay from turning vehicles and stopping taxis and to conflict with bicycle users. So ...

DO put BRT in the median location
It simply works better in most circumstances.

DO have lots of doors ... and make them wide ones
Walter Hook of ITDP says that the "size and number of doors is more important than bus size" for speed and capacity of your BRT system.


Jakarta's BRT has boarding problems

DO have level boarding of the buses
Having no steps up when boarding makes for speedier boarding and universal accessibility.

DO have prepaid boarding in stations
This also speeds up boarding.

DON'T skimp on pedestrian access to the stations
Some people think this is only an issue for median BRT lanes. Wrong! Eit…

Everything you wanted to know about sustainable and equitable transport worldwide

Well almost ... especially if you are interested in Bus Rapid Transit or Non-Motorised Vehicle/Bicycle planning for cities in developing countries.

For a long time I have had a lot of respect for the work of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) which works on almost every continent to promote and provide technical assistance on 'sustainable and equitable transportation'.


I just noticed that ITDP's Information Center has been expanded and improved since the last time I looked. It contains a wealth of reports and resources in a number of languages. Just about every report ITDP has ever done seems to be there now.

Some recent highlights include:
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Planning GuideNonmotorized Transport (NMT) Training CourseReasons Not to Construct Bikelanes on Sidewalks (in Spanish)

Vienna's livable streets in photos

Vienna has been a pioneer of 'livable streets' policies since the early 1970s.

In July, I was lucky enough to visit Austria for a conference (where I presented a paper on 'car possession'). So here are some photos from my explorations of Vienna's public transport, bicycle facilities and pedestrian environment.

Hover mouse near top of slideshow to control speed or pause.

Click on an image if you want more information about it.

Update and addendum: The following quote from the indomitable Prof. Hermann Knoflacher might help you appreciate the photos:
In the early seventies a new transport plan for the city centre was developed (Knoflacher 1970) converting most of the streets in the city centre into pedestrian areas. This was realized in 1972 and since then the city centre of Vienna became an attraction for the region and for the country; it has become a global attraction and a global heritage. Two-thirds of the people coming into the city centre use the public transport,…

World Urban Transport Leaders Summit 2008

Singapore's LTA Academy has asked me to give a plug for this forthcoming event.

LTA Academy, Singapore, is organizing the inaugural World Urban Transport Leaders Summit from 4 to 6 November 2008 in Singapore.

This first of its kind high-level global summit is exclusively for top policy makers, transport chiefs, industry leaders, senior management of international organisations, and leading academics and transport professionals from around the world.

There will be no registration fee (delegates will make their own travel and hotel arrangements) and participation in the summit is by invitation only.
Visit the LTA Academy's Summit Website for more information or if you wish to be considered for participation.

New transport innovations blog

A new blog on transport innovations has appeared.

SMART's Inspire Mobility blog started in June. It is billed as "the official on-line innovations library of SMART (Sustainable Mobility & Accessibility Research & Transformation) at the University of Michigan".

The blog depends on contributions from readers, so head over there if you think you have a transport innovation to submit.

What is SMART? More information here. It also has a lively series of events and speakers and a useful e-newsletter.

I like their 'five themes' approach to 'sustainable transportation'. The diagram above is from the SMART website here.

Should we (can we?) make our cars dispensible?

It's interesting to see the ideal of universal car ownership gradually eroding.

Don't believe me? There have been several books in recent years along the lines of "Divorce your car!" and "How to live well without a car". The rise of car-sharing has prompted some to see it as a potential alternative to car ownership. The car-free housing movement seems to be gathering pace and entering the mainstream of real estate development in certain places. Meanwhile, Shoupista parking policy reformists are increasingly questioning parking entitlements, including (gasp!) residential parking entitlements. Even William Ford Jr. of Ford Motor Company seems willing to contemplate a future in which cars provide a service rather than being primarily a product.

So more and more people seem to be asking the question, 'are our cars dispensable' or 'could we make our cars more dispensable?' But maybe a more positive way to ask the same question is, 'can we mak…

Planning is key to public transport excellence (but by all means delegate operations to businesses)

Vienna's public transport is an example of excellent integration and planning

I have long been interested in public transport systems in which a public agency takes responsibility for the excellence of a highly integrated system. This interest was provoked by Felix Laube's explanations of Zurich's public transport system and by Paul Mees' excellent book, 'A Very Public Solution'.

I am also interested in the growing trend for such agencies to often delegate operation of most services to business enterprises under service contracts, often with competitive tendering.

Examples that I have blogged about include Seoul and Bogotá but many others are moving in the same direction, such as various Scandinavian cities, Adelaide in Australia and London famously. Even Indore in India has created a much-praised bus system with a similar regulatory approach.

This year, Singapore announced a shift in this direction too, something which I called for in an OpEd in Ethos Magazine (s…