New Mobility 2006 Program Overview:
  • The Agenda
  • Kyoto World Cities
  • New Mobility Partners
  • Global South
  • Lots Less Cars
  • xTransit
  • World Car Share
  • Gender & Transport
  • Journal of World Transport
  • Value Capture/Taxes
  • Video Libraries

  • International collaboration
  • Origins and Perspectives
  • Talking New Mobility
  • Useful Tools
  • "Backdrop" Programs
  • "The significant problems we face cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them."
    -- Albert Einstein

    Building Blocks of the New Mobility Agenda

    1. The New Mobility Agenda
      Unconstrained by bureaucracy, economic interests or schedules, New Mobility was launched under The Commons in 1988 as an open international platform for critical discussion, exchanges of materials and views, and diverse forms of cross-border collaboration on the challenging, necessarily conflicted topic of "sustainable transportation and social justice". It is an example of what we call a Self-Organizing Collaborative Network, within which our role is simply to provide the platform for the open group discussions and creative interactions.

      The Agenda looks at policy, practice and leading edge developments and new tools that are shaping the sector. All with an insistent horizon on the importance of creating new patters of behavior and performance in a one to five year time horizon, maximum. On the grounds that these new ways of doing things are going to help us better understand what we can achieve in the longer run.

      • The Idea Factory of the New Mobility Agenda t offers a free, public, flexible discussion space for those who feel that our transport systems need to be, and can be made to be, more sustainable and more just -- and who wish to freely exchange ideas and information about it. This talking parlor for the strategic discussion of transport-related issues. It is (with the odd wild exception) sober, balanced and professional. The mail address for posting is To join the group, an email to

      • The New Mobility ThinkPad is a collaborative blog which posts think pieces and articles which challenge and amplify. Check it out. Contribute.

      • The New Mobility/Wikipedia interface offers via the Wikipedia an open encylopedia which we have underestaken to stock with accurate and up to date entreis toucnig n a good number of key new moblity and ustianble transport modes and activities. You can add and modify as your competence, energy and willingness to share permits.

    2. Kyoto World Cities Challenge
      Despite the fact that the transport sector is responsible for at least half, often more, of all CO2 production in most cities of the world, there is no provision under the Kyoto Protocols to provide guidelines, mechanisms or incentives to attack these problems. This international collaborative program is being created to take direct aim at this challenge -- in cooperation with other programs and agencies whose reach and main competence is related but not quite identical. More than one hundred of the world's leading sustainability thinkers and practitioners are participating in this collaborative effort. Area of expertise: city and short distance transportation. Only! It is very ambitious and proposes rigorous, open and checkable short-term performance targets at the level of each participating city -- along with the tools and strategies to make it happen. Only!

    3. Global South Mobility
      Focusing specificlly on the transport-related problems, performance, innovations and possilbities of the cities of the developing world in their tough struggle for sustainabilty and soical justice.

    4. New Mobility Partnerships
      There is today a great gulf between what is being looked at and done in the transport sector in most cities -- and the way it is being handled at the leading edge. But many of the most useful things that local government can put into play are simply insufficiently known in most places. The New Mobility Briefs provide concise information and decision counsel to leaders on outstanding policies succeeding in leading cities around the world today. Their special bailiwick: the politics of transportation.

    5. xTransit - the “third way” of getting around in cities:
      xTransit: getting people around in road vehicles, smaller than full sized buses, driven by real human beings, dynamically shared with others, and aided by state of the art communications technologies as the only way to offer “car like” mobility in most of our 21st century cities without killing the cities themselves (the old mobility way). And what’s the big difference with these same concepts many of which have been around for decades? It’s the technology, stupid! Stay tuned and get involved. It’s your factory.

    6. World CarShare Consortium
      The world's first-stop shop for information and perspective on carsharing. Why are we supporting a concept that may to some appear to be so off-beat and marginal as carsharing? Simple! We think it's a great, sustainable, practical mobility concept whose time has come. Now in more than 600 cities world wide. Carsharing: the missing link in your city's new sustainable transport system

    7. World Car Free Days Network
      Cities around the world are beginning to work with this ice-breaking sustainability approach. It's not research or theory; it is policy and practice. This forum offering information, discussion space and ideas on this pattern-break approach, for people who care about sustainable transport and aren't afraid to work at it.

    8. xTransit - the “third way” of getting around in cities:
      xTransit: getting people around in road vehicles, smaller than full sized buses, driven by real human beings, dynamically shared with others, and aided by state of the art communications technologies as the only way to offer “car like” mobility in most of our 21st century cities without killing the cities themselves (the old mobility way). And what’s the big difference with these same concepts many of which have been around for decades? It’s the technology, stupid! Stay tuned and get involved. It’s your factory.

    9. New national carshare program in France
      It has taken the better part of a decade, but since the last weeks of 2005 we have managed to help crate a consortium of people and groups, both carshare providers and interested cities and public agencies, to come together to create and support the Forum International de l'Autopartage. We have set the goal of at least thirty cities with carsharing by 2010. Stay tuned! (It may not surprise you that the site is in French. We invite you to use the Translate tools to get a feel for how this is going.)

    10. United Nations Car Free Days Programme
      After the accomplishments of the World Car Free Days collaborative program over its first seven years, and in particular the notable success as a result of our cooperation with the City of Bogotá to organize a prize-winning Car Free Day program in February 2000, the Commons was approached by the UN in 2001 and asked to structure and lead this cooperative program in preparation for the World Summit on Sustainable Development. This is above all a process- and event driven approach to opening the windows of sustainability in the developing world. Negotiations & hard thinking in process. Stay tuned over 2006. (And maybe you have some ideas for us?)

    11. The Journal of World Transport Policy & Practice
      The first practically-oriented journal dealing consistently and with full independence with the major issues of sustainable mobility. Click here to visit the electronic version of the Journal through 2002. (And here to get the latest copy of the Journal direct from John Whitelegg at the new site for Eco-logica in Britain.)

    12. Personal Responsibility: Walking the Walk
      We live in an age in which it's not all that easy in the rich countries (or circles) to be sustainable in our personal life choices. But there are a few tools out there now to help us do better. Check them out for yourselves. (And you may have a few ideas for us as well on this, so do let us know.)

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    Collaborative International Projects/Peer Support:

    1. Collective Actions/Peer Support
      We have three main assets that allow us to get together to support outstanding project initiatives: (a) a group of highly knowledgeable committed people with diverse backgrounds and points of view, (b) a strongly shared interest not only in improving physical movements but also in the sustainability and social justice agendas, and (c) an effective networking and communications medium. Read on to see how we are putting this to work in 2004.

    2. Land Value Capture Initiative
      When our public servants invest our hard earned taxpayer dollars in investments that improve our communities and increase the value of real estate in the impacted areas, some or all of this increment should be recouped in order to fund much needed public services. This is easy to say but hard to do. So tune in here and lend a hand in this important task.

    3. Children on the Move
      A place to share and develop ideas, materials and collaboration on matters involving the ways our children can and could move around in their daily lives. And how we can perhaps help them better understand and link their personal mobility choices to the broader challenges of sustainability and full lives. (To be jointly reactivated in 2004.)

    4. World Technology Environment 2004 Prize Nomination
      After extensive discussion and some reservations, more than fifty distinguished members of the New Mobility Network got behind the nomination of Ken Livingston, the Mayor of London, for his strong personal commitment to the Congestion Charging project that is bringing this important policy into the tool kit for every major city in the world.

    5. International Peer Review of WBCSD 'Sustainable Mobility' report
      The World Business Council for Sustainable Development has just issued an ambitious and much heralded report by a consortium of auto and energy producers in which it set out to identify 'pathways to sustainable mobility'. We have invited critical discussion and comment in the form of an International Peer Review. Their report and the group's critical review is available from here

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    Origins and Perspectives (1988)

    The New Mobility program was established by EcoPlan in 1988 as an independent international collaborative and support program aimed directly at the challenge of first defining and then implementing sustainable transportation systems. The original sub-title of the program: "Toward an Alternative Framework for Transport Policy & Action in Cities" The program builds on more than three decades of international collaboration, cross-disciplinary research, advisory work with the interlinked problems of transport, the economy, energy, environment, industry and quality of life, and more generally with the broader challenges of managing technology in society. (See the List of past @New Mobility reports here.) The following descriptive statement is exactly as it was set out in the 1988 opening manifesto announcing the program.

    * * *

    "The point of departure for @New Mobility was the obvious conflict between cars and cities. But that was only the beginning. The next step was to recognize a gradually growing uneasiness that something has gone badly wrong: that private cars no longer work particularly well in cities, or at least not all cars in all cities. This hard fact is proving awkward for planners and policy-makers alike. Despite the problems they have brought in their wake, cars continue to perform a variety of functions and are perceived by many people as essential to their daily lives. As a result they have been planned into the system. And now that they are in there, their extreme complexity of function effectively rules out any easy solutions. For this reason we cannot in most places sensibly talk about cities without cars -- but rather places with fewer and much better managed cars.

    "The problem of cars in cities is, in truth, part of a much broader set of social and technology management issues which are coming into increasingly high relief. The links to pressing environmental and energy concerns are obvious and critical, as are impacts on quality of life, safety, urban form and economic efficiency. More subtle are the links between cars and human behavior, including such problems as urban isolation, alienation, violence, rejection of responsibility, and loss of human vitality, intimacy and neighborliness. A great deal of good work is going on in many places around the world aimed at parts of this complex problem, but much of this is not widely known. And there is a requirement for altogether new approaches which has yet to be met.

    "It was against this background that Access was established, with the goal of developing a long term (ten year), independent and vigorous international collaborative effort, untrammeled by bureaucratic requirements and run on an open basis with creative inputs and support from a wide variety of co-operating individuals, sources and institutions. Five objectives have been set for the period 1989-94:

    1. Provide concrete evidence showing how modern communities can work without today's overwhelming and damaging dependence on cars -- drawing attention to leading techniques, groups and places that have successfully tackled parts of the problem.
    2. Encourage the development of much broader agendas of issues and approaches to the problems of transport in cities -- thereby bringing into the discussions and solution process actors and interests beyond the limits of traditional transport agencies and specialists.
    3. Contribute to improving international communications, co-ordination and exchanges of information and expertise in the full range of disciplines and approaches involved -- so that each new project is able to build knowledgeably on the experience and accomplishments of the past.
    4. Work to stimulate further research, tools development and problem solving as needed to improve our collective knowledge and mastery of these issues -- and find the means to inform and involve the public in both the debate and the decision process.
    5. Encourage and contribute to exemplary projects and programs in leading cities and communities, working in close collaboration with highly qualified local partner groups and sponsoring institutions.

    Initially, as it was getting underway in the latter eighties, New Mobility made only limited use of electronic media (email, file transfers, etc.). The main products of the program were its various reports and working papers, sponsored working groups, advisory assignments, organization and participation in conferences, and a small but increasingly interesting set of on-site demonstration projects. In 1993 the first steps were taken to make fuller use of the quickly expanding array of electronic communications aids: several news groups were set up Internet on a trial basis and toward the middle of the year the first @New Mobility Forum was establishment, in cooperation with the European Commission Telecommunications Forum under Compuserve.

    The @Forum which you see here in its latest version has been built up in careful steps over the last years on that first foundation. Go to Access on the ECTF to see how the original Internet site was organized back in 1993, just before the move to the Web.

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    Is The @Forum For You?

    Hard as we have tried to make it an easy place to be and to get around in, this bit of assembled 21st century content and electronics that we call The Commons is not for everyone. On the one hand, it is only going to be useful for those who share the concerns of this program. There are however a couple of other non-trivial practical constraints that may serve to keep this from being a tool set which is equally useful to everyone, and which you may wish to consider before taking this further. Thus..

    • Having the right equipment and technical competence is critical.
    • High speed, broad-band communications links are important if you are to be a comfortable and efficient user.
    • Patience and a certain turn of mind are also important. If you are not patient with technology, this is surely not going to be an agreeable place for you).

    A quick visit to the Start Here section, as well as those pages of the Help Desk here (see top menu) which set out the technology, software and skill requirements for full and easy participation may help you make up your mind on this. No sense on climbing on board if you are going to be unhappy and unproductive. On the other hand, if you have been waiting for an excuse to make the break into these new technologies and work methods, this may be about as good a way as you can find to negotiate the transformation. And of course if we can help... well, that's precisely what we are here for.

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    Last updated on 12 August 2006