The special challenges of transport in cities
  • The million tailpipe problem
  • Challenges and responses
  • Five kinds of cities: The Sustainable Cities Ladder
  • Group examples, comments

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  • "We have to reduce about 80% of our greenhouse gas emissions over the next 10 to 15 years."
    - William Jefferson Clinton, 1 August 2006

    President Clinton set the bar extraordinarily high in announcing the Clinton Climate Initiative collaboration with the Large Cities Climate Leadership Group in Los Angeles in August of 2006, setting out the goal of his program: ". . . to reduce about 80% of our greenhouse gas emissions over the next 10 to 15 years." Hmm. This means global city reductions for the planet as a whole on the rough order of 10% or a bit less each year. And the clock starts ticking on 1 August 2006. This high reduction target is the vital litmus test to which every program, city, project and expenditure of funds and effort by all those who wish to make this work must be subjected.

    We can work with that.

    Cities, transport & the potential for achieving massive CO2 reductions

    Transport in cities - The million tailpipe problem

    We cannot tell you about those other city sectors the Clinton team is looking at (industry, buildings, energy, water, waste . . . ), but if however the Initiative is to achieve its ambitious goals in our patch, we have an especially thorny job ahead when it comes to achieving significant near term reductions in CO2 from city transport. The whole complex nexus of transport in cities is sufficiently different from the others, such that it requires its own quite different problem-solving approach.

    To understand this all you have to do is look out the window this morning, observe all the traffic and think about what's behind it. Clearly, it is quite one thing to work with producers and companies that are doing something and generating untoward emissions in the process. The relatively small number of sources involved, the relatively reduced numbers of players making the decisions, their well defined relationship with government, and the fact that almost all of the polluting sources oblige us by staying in the same place, make it one kind of challenge.

    But when it comes to how people and goods trundle around in the city it's quite another set of issues. The so-called "million tailpipe problem". Look at all those cars, two wheelers, trucks and busses out there roaming through the streets. With the exception of those vehicles which are organized in fleets - buses, trucks, taxis and the like - all the rest, the overwhelming majority, are out there moving around for reasons that are firmly inside the heads of the people at the wheel. Millions of individual citizens who are living their lives and making their individual choices, often for reasons that even they do not fully understand. That is the main target group in our sector, and as you can imagine reaching them and influencing their decisions is quite another kind of challenge. But that is the one that interests us in particular and where we hope that we can be of some help to the Clinton/Large Cities Climate teams.

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    Making it work. Challenges and responses

    In an attempt to make this clear, here is a quick list of "challenges and responses" on matters of city transport which we draw to your attention as you start out on this leg of your challenge. If you want more on any item, all you have to do is click of course.

    But briefly before you turn to this next section, a quick word here on our strategic view the Clinton Challenge from the city transport side. Although we are starting off here in a neutral questioning mode, and while we are aware of the extraordinary difficulties involved, we are taking it as a pillar of what is being proposed here and in any future work we might do on this, that the call for huge reductions is a valid one and that somehow we are going to be smart and wise enough to at least start to make significant global progress on this. Given the nature of the challenge however, we can be sure from the beginning here that the progress will be in something other than a convenient straight line. But now let's scratch some of the underlying issues before we take this any further.

    We are confident that any city in the world that has the will and commitment, the technical virtuosity that is needed to make it work, and the leadership capable of mobilizing popular support, can reduce its CO2 production in the transport sector by anywhere from 5-10% annually for each of the next two to five years, and are ready to show how it can be done. But first let's look at the following.

    1. Is a global 80% reduction in CO2 (all sectors) in the target period possible?
    2. Are cities are the right target?
    3. Is CO2 is the right target?
    4. Are there any cities anywhere in the world which are actually reducing their CO2 load today?
    5. What is the role of the larger cities in this transition process?
    6. You seem to claim the transport is different from the rest? How?
    7. And we have a special problem behind all of this.
    8. Can "big bang" solutions save the day?
    9. Will "technology" do the job?
    10. It's more than just "transportation":
    11. Is it a long term problem? Are decades required to solve?
    12. Nice idea, but we can't afford it?
    13. So that means we have to attack cars, car drivers and the car industry?
    14. Strong lobbies, interests and residual attitudes?
    15. What in a few words is it exactly that you are proposing?
    16. What do you mean when you say "Maximum diversity and efficiency in the minimum space"
    17. World wide peer networks, competence exists - so . . .
    18. Who is going to make this work?
    19. How does one "sell" this program xx in a city? what, where?
    20. Personal commitment? Is that everybody or just me?
    21. PS. And through it all just about everyone is going to tell you it can't be done!
    22. Two to five years at this rate? But then what?

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    And here in less brief

    1. The bottom line: All world cities are today failing the C02 test.
      • That's the bad news. Fortunately though enough progress has been made with New Mobility approaches at the leading edge in recent years in enough places, and enough well-charted international expertise developed, such that if you can find a way to bring together all these energies, experience and skills, it is going to be possible to make real progress.

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    2. CO2 is the right target!
      • The only way to draw down CO2 in this emergency time window is by reducing the number of vehicles moving on the street. Dramatically! You do that and you save energy, reduce accidents, improve public health, strengthen the economy, and create a stronger and better city.

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    3. Cities are the right target!
      • Cities account for over 75% of carbon emissions. To bring about significant CO2 reductions there are a number of sectors in which local government can intervene effectively and which are now being well charted by a number of leading cities, not least because in areas such as waste and water treatment, recycling, energy, vehicle procurement, etc., local government (with huge local variations) often had purchasing and legal powers which they can put to good use.

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    4. But transport is different!
      • City transport systems are massively complex interactive metabolisms subject to huge numbers of independent decision points and many counter-intuitive aspects. It's not just a matter of influencing which buses and garbage trucks to buy. It presents a very different set of technical, leadership and communications challenges. In short, it requires world level expertise.

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    5. But we have a little problem. The prevailing mindset in terms of policy and practice in the sector is (a) strongly entrenched and, far worse, (b) close to100% wrong in terms of what it makes happen in our cities
      • Fortunately . . . of all the problem areas faced, the transport sector turns out to be so grossly underperforming and so very poorly constructed that there is enormous room for improvement. All that flab and inefficiency of the old system is to our main and enormous strategic advantage. In short, the bad news of the present is our good news for the future transformation.

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    6. Big bang solutions to save the day? There isn't one -- and getting our mind around this is the vital first step.
      • The needed changes and remedies are very many in number: measures, policies, tools and methods. And in a city of any size there will be hundred of instruments to be screened and eventually prepared, packaged and brought on line in carefully thought-out phases for their city. If you are looking for one phrase to sum it all up: "Packages of measures": And very big packages indeed, since most will be able to handle on a percent or two of the total problem.

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    7. More than "transportation": Transport planners and policy makers have been trying many things in many places, but none of them are proving sufficient to reverse this bottom line.
      • More than half of the measures needed to deal with these challenges come from way beyond the traditional transport solutions toolbox - and there is a great deal out there that can now be put to work. This indeed is one of the major advantages to this end of the challenge.

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    8. It's a long term problem? It is often claimed that it's going to take many years, decades to make the changes needed to achieve any major inroads in our carbon production in the sector.
      • Wrong! Indeed, the first step in creating the needed restructuring program is to accept (a) that this is indeed a real EMERGENCY, (b) that as such it is sufficiently important that it overrides all our usual habits and priorities, and that (c) the changes can be made in months and not in decades. It is indeed by accepting that major inroads can be made within an electoral term that we will find our way (say 20% reductions in two-three years as one quite achievable target).

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    9. Can't afford it? The switch from present-day mobility systems and practices is going to be hugely costly and we simply cannot afford to take it on at this time.
      • 100% wrong. Indeed, better advised new mobility transport policies are going to save money for the cities, for government as a whole, and for the people who live and work in our cities. Sustainable transport restructuring is not revenue neutral (thought that's often a pretty good goal) -- it's better than that: it's actually an economic development instrument.

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    10. Maximum diversity and efficiency in the minimum space
      • The old mobility system is/was a bulimic space eater, as well as a classic example of a non- evolutionary monoculture (with its unsustainable emphasis on all-car solutions. The New Mobility systems which replace it must be far more varied, far more evolutionary, and far more closely linked to its specific environments. The two keys to success: (a) traffic reduction (read cars) and (b) "space-efficient transport", meaning that you want more of it (a lot more). If not, down it goes. And as this happens, CO2 goes down proportionately.

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    11. So I guess this means that you have to attack cars, car drivers and the car industry?
      • Wrong again! These citizens as our customers and our partners. We need first to listen to them, And then to work with them to define solutions to their problems and fears that will leave them better off. Given the egregious underperformance of the sector, this should not be hard. We'll have plenty of cars in the future, no doubt. But their place is certainly not in our cities.

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    12. Strong lobbies, interests and residual attitudes make it difficult to displace the old mobility model and the role of the car in our daily lives and aspirations. And yet the only path to significant CO2 reductions is to reduce dramatically the number of cars on the streets.
      • The majority of people in cities are in fact not car owner/drivers (or at least should not be on economic or safety grounds). Thus alternatives to "all-car" solutions should be heavily favored both on the grounds of not only environment, quality of life and equity, but also because they make good sense at the ballot box. This makes it a political and leadership challenge.

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    13. All willing hands needed:
      • The number, complexity and spread of problems and opportunities in our sector are enormous, and the competence to work toward and refine the necessary remedial decisions and competences must be fully informed and near at hand. This means that the program will need to achieve exceptional outreach. New kinds of networking and collaborative problem-solving.

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    14. World wide peer networks, competence exists - so let's use it::
      • Fortunately . . . there is a fast growing body of positive experience, information and real expertise on tap world wide, and much of this can be brought to bear on your problems if you make creative use of networking and the cheap and effective communications tools of the 21st century.

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    15. PS. Almost everyone is going to tell you it can't be done!
      • President Clinton thinks it can be done. And so do I. And so too do a couple of thousand influential world experts I know. And whom you should probably know too.

    *           *           *

    At the end of the day, the quite unique problem with transport in cities from a policy perspective is that it does not lend itself to the same kind of one-shot analytic brilliance and decision-making that may do the job in other sectors of city management. It is, in sharp contrast, an enormously fussy, continuing, iterative process. The crux of the remedial policies in this sector in our pluralistic democratic societies is that they can require not only "executive decisions", international treaties or buying lots of new stuff, but that we need to find ways of dealing with and influencing many thousands, millions of mainly minute and personal decisions and changes made by individual citizens and groups with very different views on the topic of how they are to get about in their daily lives. It is an enormous strategic and political challenge to bring about these changes in people's minds and actions. This is, in a very real way, the unique Politics of Transportation.

    To make all this happen is going to require a combination of vision pragmatism, generosity, commitment. Along with rare political leadership and a certain dose of guile. This is something that of all programs I know today, the Clinton Foundation just may be one of our greatest hopes. But for this to work there must also be in parallel a world wide networking effort which brings to the program the best of the experience, perspective and expertise available on these issues. Maximum diversity in the minimum space. And that is possibly where we can lend a hand.

    Eric Britton
    The New Mobility Agenda
    Wednesday, January 24, 2007, Paris

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    Old Mobility rules - Five kinds of cities (Where are you on this list?)

    Looking at them from a sustainability or Old/New Mobility perspective, I would propose that there are basically five gross categories of cities in the world today. Moreover, it's my guess that as you work your way down this list you find that the number of cities in each progressive category grows much smaller. Here it is in a nutshell, with "worse" of course meaning more traffic, more CO2 et al each year.

    Category 1. Comatose, and . .
    Cities doing nothing to deal with the issues, getting worse fast and who don't seem to care. And in general are steadily doing what is needed to make things even worse.

    Category 2. Nervous, but . . .
    Those doing nothing, getting worse. . . but who are starting to worry. And who just don't know where to start.

    Category 3. Starting to cope, but ..
    Those who overall are continuing to do worse (i.e., who continue to have growing traffic, more CO2, etc.), but have started to do a few better things - examples, some pedestrianization, cycling paths, buying more buses, improved intermodal links, some parking and public space improvements, traffic engineering to smooth flows and provide most consistent speeds, etc.. And above all talking a lot about it. But who from the bottom line are still spending their money in the wrong (old) way, such that the only real impact of all this proto-greenness is to provide a cover for not really attacking the problem at the root.

    Category 4. Ambitious, but . . .
    Those who have decided explicitly to break with past practices and are starting to do long lists of good things. About these there are three important things to be said: First that up to now they represent a tiny extremely small minority. Second, in every case I know the basic bottom-line traffic and environmental indicators continue to move in the wrong direction, if not for some narrow target area for the urban region as a whole. And finally when you look at the budgets they are still when you total them up spending more on roads and parking than on the rest.

    Category 5. World Leaders - Clinton-compliant
    Cities who have bought into a policy massive, near term traffic and CO2 reduction, and who have adopted an aggressive integrated retrofit strategy for the sector with clearly defined, publicly available benchmarks and indicators of both micro and macro progress. Who have radically revised their budgets in the transport and related sectors, and are spending more on the new measures and programs than on road building, etc. If a city in Category 5 is to be "Clinton Compliant", as it must be, this means they are targeting and getting traffic and CO2 reductions on the order of 5%-8% annually

    Think of this as a Ladder of Sustainable Transportation performance, with one clear strategic goal of any eventual program being to do what is needed to help cities move up a rung as quickly as possible. It is my guess that the world leaders, who may serve to provide some practical examples for the rest, will be mainly in Category 4. And now in closing two questions:

    • " First, to ask you where in this rough ranking you would put the city or cities you know best.

    • " Second, to ask if you can tell us one single city in the world who have made it to the final level -- one in which the move to sustainability is currently on track and, in being so, able to provide a shining example for the rest. (Though we have some great examples of cities that are real trying to dig in at Cat. 4, and that already is a wonderful start.

    With your permission your replies will be posted to the New Mobility Idea Factory and the Global South Forum. I look forward to them and hope that you will find this exercise of some use.

    Kind thanks.

    Eric Britton

    PS. It is my thought that this information, perspective and eventual diverse feedback from world colleagues who know their cities from direct in-place experience, may help the Clinton Climate Initiative/Large Cities transport team in their search for places, projects, methods and partners to, in some way, lead their campaign to encourage and assist the up-hill (but winnable) battle for the necessary huge CO2 savings in world cities.

    Comments from international observors and policy experts

    The above message was posted to several hundred cooperating world wide colleagues with deep experience in our sector on 24 January, with a first set of responses that follow directly below. (For more go to and click the "Talking New Mobility" links to the Idea Factory and Global South (Sustran Network).

    -----Original Message----- From: Sujit Patwardhan [], India
    Sent: Thursday, January 25, 2007
    Subject: Re: [Sustran] Old Mobility rules - 5 kinds of cities

    Thanks Eric for this excellent exercise. Pune I would say is in Category 3 and somewhat stuck there. I will write in some detail soon. Warm regards,


    Sujit Patwardhan - -
    "Yamuna", ICS Colony, Ganeshkhind Road, Pune 411 007 India
    Hon. Secretary: Parisar
    Founder Member: PTTF (Pune Traffic & Transportation Forum)

    -----Original Message----- From: Brendan Finn, Ireland
    Sent: Thursday, January 25, 2007

    I suggest to add Category 0, those who are getting worse by doing plenty - of the "wrong" stuff - and are pretty determined to keep doing it. Those who are "doing nothing" - Category 1/2 - have at least paused in the hole they are digging.

    I would put Dublin in category 3, dressing itself up as something better. For all the talk about Transport 21 and public transport investment, the big bucks have gone into roads and will continue to do so for the next few years.

    For Cork, I would say that they are 4, with the caveats exactly as you describe them.


    -----Original Message-----
    From: Lize Jennings, South Africa
    Sent: Thursday, January 25, 2007

    Cape Town, South Africa probably falls within category 2 and 3. Although there are some people in the local government who wish to implement measures to improve the situation, particularly in addressing the problem of congestion, there is still the problem of traditional thinking and planning who believe that expanding roadways are probably the only way to go. In many cases the traditional (old-school) thinkers and those with the money.

    The interventions that are planned to be implemented are on a very small scale and are usually run as pilot projects, which once tested, stop because funding runs out.

    South Africa is hosting the 2010 Soccer World Cup and we are currently experiencing major congestion problems, particularly in the centre of town (where the main stadium will the built), so we can't image what it will be like once the large number of visitors arrive in the country.

    There are however, some organizations that are working with governments to change their thinking and planning methods and hopefully make a difference.

    We'll just have to wait and see.

    Regards, Lize

    On Behalf Of Ryan McGreal, Canada
    Sent: Thursday, January 25, 2007

    Quoting > I would like to propose to you a thinking exercise. It works like this. . . .

    Hi Eric,

    Do you mind if I post this to Raise the Hammer? I think it's a great system for categorizing cities (my city, Hamilton, Ontario, for example, is clearly a Category 3).


    Ryan McGreal
    Editor, Raise the Hammer

    On Behalf Of Ian Wingrove, UK
    Sent: Thursday, January 25, 2007

    London is probably in category five. London is the only world city where car traffic as a proportion of journeys is in decline. Spending on public transport obviously dwarfs spending on roads, but apart from one new road bridge in East London which has been strongly opposed, there is no major road building program. Expenditure is slowly being switched to better things. The amount spent on cycling has trebled since 2004. The Demand Management Strategy now has around £30m of funding a year. As a result of this years agreement over the budget between the London Mayor and the greens we have started increasing the funding for walking.

    There is also a big push on low and zero emission vehicles, as well as continuing work of safer roads. This year we also have £25m set aside over the next three years for work on climate change and transport. A climate change action plan will be launched shortly to add some substance to the targets and indicators.

    The one area we still haven't cracked is planning, which is outside of the budget process.

    Most of what is happening is outlined in the attached letter from the London Mayor to the two green Assembly members, which is the deal struck in return for their pivotal support for his budget.

    Cheers, IW

    From: Eric Britton
    Sent: Thursday, January 25, 2007

    I am delighted to hear Ian that London is a strong Category 5 candidate? I recall when I was lending a hand in the Contested Streets film out of New York last summer, that they were looking very favorably on your fair city as a possible example.

    But just to be quite sure on the ground rules in all this.

    Category 5: Verifiable progress for the full defined city area (we need to be very clear on this) in terms of:

    1. An explicit announced and strongly defended and supported city policy to this effect.
    2. Global decreases in overall vehicle traffic (not just here and there). I.e., for the city area as a whole
    3. Corresponding area-wide CO2 decreases (though to measure but there are ways)
    4. Significant shifts from single occupancy (or thereabouts) car trips anywhere in the city area.
    5. Significant tightening of road space available for moving and stationary cars
    6. No quality sacrifices in "mobility for all" in terms of trip availability, cost and convenience for

    It may be that the first three on this list are all we need to do this job, but let me post this as a challenge draft and see what we can do with it.

    I am eager to hear what others who know your city well have to say. I think this could prove a lively and creative exercise for us all.

    Eric Britton

    On Behalf Of Simon Norton, UK
    Sent: Thursday, January 25, 2007

    In the UK in particular divided responsibility is a particular problem. Most cities have no control over their transport policies -- buses are deregulated, decisions on trains are made at national level, and projects such as light rail are dependent on Government support. Cities do not have adequate fund raising powers. The planning system also denies the planning authorities (who are sometimes but not always the city councils) full control over what gets built, with the result that "planning drift" -- the gradual replacement of less car dependent development by more car dependent development -- is still widespread.

    In London, the central area may deserve a category 5, though even there progress is agonisingly slow. Outer London boroughs, I think, are split between category 3s and category 4s.

    Cambridge is to my mind a clear category 3. The County Council makes lots of good sounding noise but doesn't really have the policies to save the city (outside the historic area) from car domination. Politically the ruling group on the county council doesn't have a single member from within the city, and people from the surrounding area are far more car oriented, so this really isn't surprising. Unfortunately the County Council seems to be a regular winner of awards -- even though its political orientation is not aligned with that of the central government -- which gives a misleading impression of the real state of affairs.

    Simon Norton

    On Behalf Of Chris Bradshaw
    Sent: Thursday, January 25, 2007 Eric,

    If you want to make the points that your five 'states' represents _kinds_ of cities, you will need names for each, e.g., the famous article by Sherrie Arnstein about kinds of public participation (

    Probably the titles would suggest either the outcomes (from "about to be overwhelmed" to "fated for significant upsurge in eco-tourism and reduced property taxes") for the various kinds or a characterization of their mental model of their own efficacy, e.g., "out-to-lunch", "slightly conscious," "struggling," "just coping, and "showing leadership."

    You seem to have done a good job of keeping the 'rungs' on your ladder close enough that the next one up doesn't appear to be too daunting.

    You should develop into a longer piece with specific jobs each needs to do to get to the next rung.

    Chris Bradshaw, Ottawa

    On Behalf Of Jack M. Nilles
    Sent: Friday, January 26, 2007 1:39 AM Eric: A great set of distinctions.

    Los Angeles, unfortunately, seems also to be stuck at 3. In the early 1990s the South Coast (or Southern California) Air Quality Management District had a regulation requiring traffic reduction. The regulation had some teeth, requiring all employers of more than 100 employees in a single facility to comply with an upper limit on the number of commuter cars associated with the facility--or face a fine of up to $10,000 per day of noncompliance.

    This regulation spurred considerable interest in traffic reduction, including a telecommuting demonstration project by the City of Los Angeles. Alas, the captains of industry prevailed and the regulation was scrapped in the mid-90s. So even though our per capita, normal-sized automobile air pollution production has been decreasing, it has been largely through technology not behavior change. The city's telecommuting program vanished with the transition from Mayor Bradley (a populist) to Mayor Riordan (a financier). A decade after I thought we were finally getting people's attention we're back to the old ways of approaching the problem, not even questioning the need for, timing of, or vehicle used in some trips.

    On the other hand, my car put on 700 miles in 2005. If only we can get the other 12 million LAers to try similar measures. OK, half of them. It's feasible. A couple of days per week.

    Never mind level 5, are there any cities of more than 100,00 population at level 4?


    Jack Nilles

    On Behalf Of Jonathan Kagan, UK
    Sent: Sunday, January 28, 2007

    Simon points out that being a category 4 or 5 takes more than commitment, it also requires a degree of independence. That being said, can anyone suggest a list of top cities in category 4?

    Thanks. Jonathan

    -----Original Message----- From: Eric Britton (ChoiceMail) [] Sent: Monday, January 29, 2007

    Chris Bradshaw posted this on Friday:
    Eric, If you want to make the points that your five 'states' represents _kinds_ of cities, you will need names for each. . . Probably the titles would suggest either the outcomes (from "about to be overwhelmed" to "fated for significant upsurge in eco-tourism and reduced property taxes") for the various kinds or a characterization of their mental model of their own efficacy, e.g., "out-to-lunch", "slightly conscious," "struggling," "just coping, and "showing leadership."

    You seem to have done a good job of keeping the 'rungs' on your ladder close enough that the next one up doesn't appear to be too daunting.

    To which I answered as a first go. What about . . . ?

    • Category 1. Profligate
    • Category 2. Perplexed
    • Category 3. Pusillanimous
    • Category 4. Punctilious
    • Category 5. World Leader - model for CCI

    Chris then countered with this:

    Having scanned the CCI stuff, I know what the fifth level refers to. But the other four don't move me. What about:

    • Category 1. Truculent or Torpid
    • Category 2. Timid, Trepid. or Tepid
    • Category 3. Tentative
    • Category 4. Trendy
    • Category 5. Tenacious

    I commend Clinton for what he said, since the current emergence of climate change as the Western world's #1 issue (a poll in the Globe and Mail's edition today says that's what it is in Canada), and the cities are where it has to happen.

    I draw this exchange to your attention this morning with the thought that as you play with these words and the concepts behind them, you may, I would like to think, begin to dig in more deeply to the issues and challenges. I really think that all of us need to start to get involved and ready to pitch in to put this in high gear.

    Transport in cities is perhaps the one area in which we can do most in the shortest amount of time. So stay tuned.

    From: Carlos F. Pardo SUTP [], Bogotá, Colombia
    Sent: Monday, January 29, 2007

    This rating is interesting, and very similar to the stages of change of Proshansky et al which are used to describe people's level of awareness towards physical activity. I adapted it to my "public awareness and behavior change in sustainable transport" training document (in ), and I think it's also nice to apply it to cities. It's very simple and a good way to "rank" and know how to act upon them. I also wrote a bit about that in the training document, since people in the "1" stage (technically called precontemplation) are not really reactive to changing drastically to a very different setting (unless their mayor is very progressive), and people in the "4" stage (technically, action) are really easy to improve towards level 5 (maintenance).

    In cities, there's also a big problem with those that find there is something wrong (congestion, emissions, road safety), but when they try to solve it they do unsustainable things: build highways, ring roads, pedestrian overpasses, ban rickshaws, ask for driver licenses for bicycles, take bicycles away from people without helmets (and the cost of retrieving the bicycle is higher than the bicycle itself). So they would be in a kind of "stage 3" but going the wrong way... I'm not sure how to go about this. Maybe a drawing would be good to show this, but I'm not that good drawing these things (or it takes me weeks to finish).

    If this message is not yet too long, another concept that really extends all this is Vygotstky's zone of proximal development, which actually explains (though for education of children) how to teach with people depending on their current level of knowledge. The interesting thing is that he states this as a dynamic process (and writing it around 1930!) where people have a "zone" to which they can improve, so anything that goes beyond that would be discarded or never understood (only when they've reached a zone that goes farther).

    I would then propose that people state the cities' ratings and the direction towards where they're going ("3 directed towards 5"). For example, Bogotá was for a long time a 4 or 5, but during the past few years may have been going down. These past few months, however, it is really aiming towards a 5 (and if Peñalosa wins again, it should definitely go to 5 and beyond).

    Best regards, Carlos F. Pardo
    Coordinador de Proyecto, GTZ - Proyecto de Transporte Sostenible (SUTP, SUTP-LAC)
    Cl 126 # 52A-28 of 404 Bogotá D.C., Colombia

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