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Showing posts from 2018

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 influentia

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 d

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 transcri

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! — Margarita Parra (@ciclistamaluca) July 19, 2018 The 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, Lo

"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.  S peed 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 podca

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 it .  It is   a 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 bas

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 plann

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 t

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 (  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 b

Podcasts on urban mobility and urban issues: a LONG list

Here is my list of podcasts on urban mobility and urban issues.  Please use the comments to send tips or corrections. If you are not yet a regular podcast listener, you need to  download a podcast-listening app to your phone, tablet or desktop and subscribe to the podcasts that interest you  (it's free). UPDATE 1: This list has many podcasts but obviously I hope you will try mine!  They are  Reinventing Transport  and  Reinventing Parking . UPDATE 2: I have added FOURTY THREE  more since this was first published.

New international podcast on urban mobility: Reinventing Transport

I will be starting the Reinventing Transport podcast soon. I am making my preparations, scheduling the early interviews and summoning my courage. UPDATE: the TRAILER Episode is now live .  If a Reinventing Transport podcast sounds good to you, please subscribe to Reinventing Transport email updates so you will get an alert when the first shows appear.  So what will the Reinventing Transport show be like?