Mission Statement: Toward a New Mobility Agenda

Say good-bye to Old Mobility

“Old Mobility” – with its drumbeat stress on steadily increasing supply, more
vehicles, higher speeds, longer distances and more infrastructure as the auto-pilot, unexamined  answer to our city mobility problems — has been the favored path for decision-making and investment in the sector over the last 70 years. It is well-known and easy to see where it is leading.  Aggressing the planet, costing us a bundle, draining the world’s petroleum reserves, and delivering poor service for the transport majority.  It’s time to learn from the best of the rest, the several hundred cities, many of them in Europe, that are showing the way for the rest.

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Public transport advocate solicits ideas to break ‘car culture’ in Penang


Penang has around 8,000 traffic lights, creating a start and stop system that is …


– The Malay Mail OnlineThe Malay Mail Online – 6 hours ago

GEORGE TOWN, Sept 23 — A predilection for cars means that 80 per cent of transport funding is used to cater for the needs of 20 per cent of society, according to a public transport proponent today.

World Car Free Day founder Eric Britton pointed out this uneven distribution in public expenditure was an issue in many modern cities, including Penang.

“It should be the other way around where only 20 per cent funding is needed and it can fulfil the needs of 80 per cent of the society,” he said during a media focus group under the Sustainable Penang: Toward a New Mobility Agenda two-week programme this morning.

In a bid to change that, Britton is here for the two-week Sustainable Penang: Towards a New Mobility Agenda.

The programme, which will consist of daily events such as more focus groups and dialogue sessions between Britton and various groups, from non-governmental organisations to relevant government agencies, will hopefully give rise to 21 small sustainable transportation projects that could be implemented in the next 15 months in the state.

“We want to work towards the planned 2015 Penang conference on Implementing Sustainable Transport in Smaller Asian Cities so we hope to have something to share by then,” he said.

According to Britton, Penang’s transport system is “over-built” and “poorly used” as most infrastructure was catered to those who travel by cars.

“Why not build infrastructure for the groups that don’t travel by cars such as the disabled, the very young or the very old? When infrastructure is built for them and systems put to ease their mobility, the system will suit everyone, not just one group of people,” he said.

Penang has over-built infrastructures that are poorly used, says Eric Britton. — Picture by K.E. OoiHe said if Penang were to continue to be driven by its fast-paced automobile industry, it will soon end up as a city that is not only unsustainable but also not liveable.

He expressed his disappointment at the fast pace with which Penang has adapted to what he termed as a “car culture” where there are more cars on the roads than expected.

“Now that Penang is in this unacceptable present trend, it will be a challenge to change it and this will require the participation of civil societies to get the message across,” he said.

Amongst the proposals to be considered to deal with such challenges include removing half of the more than 8,000 traffic lights in the state.

“We are in a start and stop system so it would be great for Penang to remove half the traffic lights currently installed and have in place a better traffic flow system,” he said.

World Car Free Day founder Eric Britton will be in Penang for the two-week Sustainable Penang programme. — Picture by K.E. Ooi

Other suggestions he came up with that could make up the 21 projects include having a dedicated bicycle lane, creating laws and infrastructure to allow safer mobility for those who don’t travel by cars, lowering the speed limits so that motorcyclists can share the roads safely with cars and letting each project be a learning experience for all road users to change mindsets and trends.

“For these projects to succeed, all large transportation projects should be set aside and the funds be used to implement these smaller projects which will in the long run prove to be more effective in managing the transportation and traffic flow system,” Britton said.

The two-week programme is from September 22 until October 5.

For a full list of the events, visit www.sustainablepenang.wordpress.com.

Source:  http://my.news.yahoo.com/photos/public-transport-advocate-solicits-ideas-break-car-culture-photo-071700554.html

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eb - about the editor - 28jun13

Point of view: Rapid transit system a better option than tunnel

Hardly a day that passes that someone somewhere on this gasping planet does not come up with a bright idea for a project for constructing high cost new infrastructure the main achievement of which ultimately will be to increase the number of vehicles in whatever the given space is.  This is so well known at the leading edge of transportation thinking and practice that it would be  hardly worthy of discussion, other than the fact that these  bright ideas appear all too often and in all too  many places. They need to be dealt with in a positive sense and with as much diplomacy as we can muster.


Enjoying the bridge in Penang

Here is a perfect  example from Penang which is refreshing given the way in which the author takes on the challenge of making a positive proposal instead of just lambasting the tunnel option. One might prefer not to specify the technology that will be used to improve throughput on the existing road/bridge system in this increasingly congested part of the world (in this case LRT or monorail).  However the main fundamentals are in place in this excellent newspaper article and worthy of the attention of all of those of us who care about sustainable transport, and above all the people and voters of Penang who are in a position to make this choice themselves — and not have the final decision foisted on them by people with approaches and agendas that do not necessarily match up with sustainable transport policy and practice in the 21st-century.  After all, it is their city. 

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Inside world: 2013 Haiku Sustainability Slam



japen statue BashoThe 2013 Haiku Sustainability Slam is being organized by World Streets and its friends as an ecumenical  pagan celebration to the coming Rite of Spring, in part inspired by  the exhilarating  French annual speak-out program The Springtime of Poets (Le printemps des poètes) which runs this year  to the 24th of March.  A few words of background to set the stage for what we hope will be your own valiant poeticizing efforts.

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Calendar of events (revised)

(As per 23 Sept. 2013)

No. SCHEDULE  Venue  
Date / Time Event Time (hrs)
1 24 Sep 2013 (Tues) Eric Britton  Inaugural  University Lecture: Sustainable Development,  Sustainable Cities and Sustainable Lives 2000 – 2200 Dewan Pembangunan Siswa II, Kompleks Cahaya, Bahagian Hal Ehwal &

Pembangunan Pelajar, USM

2 25 Sept 2013 (Wed) Focus Group Discussion 5: Professional Group 1100 – 1230 Think City, Level 14, EPF Building Jln Sultan Ahmad Shah (Northam Rd)
3 Focus Group Discussion 6: Civil Society 1400 -1530 Think City, Level 14, EPF Building Jln Sultan Ahmad Shah (Northam Rd)
4 26 Sept 2013


Focus Group Discussion 8: Non-motorised transport 1100 – 1230 Think City, Level 14, EPF Building Jln Sultan Ahmad Shah (Northam Rd)
5 27 Sept 2013


Focus Group Discussion 4:  Transport Operators 0900 – 1045 Caring society Complex
6 Focus Group Discussion 7: Transport Regulators 1500- 1600 Caring society Complex
7 30 Sept 2013 (Mon) Focus Group Discussion 10: Women, Gender Balance & Leadership 0900 – 1030  Think City, Level 14, EPF Building Jln Sultan Ahmad Shah (Northam Rd)
8 Master Class 1 :Sustainable Development, Economy and Society 1700 – 1930 Dewan Kuliah B, USM (Lecture Hall B, USM)
9 02 Oct 2013 (Wed) Master Class 2: Action measures and projects  for 2013/14 1700 – 1930 Dewan Kuliah B, USM (Lecture Hall B, USM)
11 Master Class 3: Preparing for 2015 Penang Conference: Implementing Sustainable Transport in Smaller Asian Cities. 1700 – 1930 Dewan Kuliah B, USM (Lecture Hall B, USM)
12 05 Oct 2013 (Sat) STATE OF SUSTAINABLE PENANG MESSAGE 1000 -1200 Penang Municipal Park Lepau Corner

About the editor:

Eric Britton
9, rue Gabillot, 69003 Lyon France

Bio: Educated as an international development economist, Eric Britton is an American political scientist, teacher and sustainability activist who has worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. Professor of Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy at the Institut Supérieur de Gestion (Paris), he is also MD of EcoPlan Association, an independent advisory network providing strategic counsel for government and business on policy and decision issues involving complex systems, social-technical change, civil society and sustainable development. Founding editor of World Streets: The Politics of Transport in Cities | See Britton online at https://goo.gl/9CJXTh and @ericbritton

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