New Mobility Agenda

The New Mobility Agenda is an international institution which while virtual and an open collaborative was originally set up by an international working group meeting at the Abbey de Royaumont near Paris with the support of the OECD in Paris in 1974 to challenge old ideas and practices in the field of urban transport through a long term collaborative program of information exchange, education and peer support. The Agenda today draws together the experience, expertise and support of more than four thousand individuals and groups world wide in an open collaborative peer network. One of the original proponents of this approach, Professor Mikoto Usui then director of the OECD Development Centre, referred to it in the founding meeting at the “Abbé de Royaumont as an “invisible college”. Drawing together the experience and expertise of more than four thousand individuals and groups world wide, who are networked via a combination of websites, discussion groups and fora, and collaborative projects, the Agenda takes an approach to transportation planning, policy and practice that has gained considerable force over the last two decades -- provides a leading-edge alternative to earlier (20th century) methods of looking at and providing mobility for people and goods in cities. The Agenda has received prestigious awards for its contributions, including the Stockholm Environment Challenge Prize (2000) and the World Technology Environment Award (2002).

Like the sustainable transportation movement, to which it is closely related, it differs from previous methods (which in fact still dominate planning, policy, investment and operations in most parts of the world) in that it takes a global or broad systemic approach to the challenges of how to get around in cities, and is especially sensitive not only to pure transport efficiency (which traditionally is interpreted in pure engineering terms as speed and volume of vehicle throughput) but equally to matters of sustainable development, pollution and environmental impacts -- including matters relating to climate change, the reduction of Greenhouse gases, resource efficiency, energy conservation, public health, both personal and public economics, overall time savings, public spaces, and quality of life in communities, including relations between people in public spaces – with particular attention to social justice and the unmet needs of women, children, and others with mobility or economic or health disadvantages which are not being properly served in our present mainly car-based systems and thinking, in which other forms of transport, including public transport, play only residual roles.

New Mobility vs. Sustainable Transportation

These two are closely related but not identical concepts. The term “Sustainable Transportation” had it origins in the mid-eighties and has developed over time and for the most part with particular emphasis on informing transport and environmental policy, with support from a number of university programs, NGOs and from some international and government organizations. By contrast the term New Mobility Agenda takes the issues of sustainable transportation the other way around: by emphasizing the supply side -- and specifically targets projects and programs which demonstrate and achieve the basic principles behind sustainable transportation.

Targeted near-term improvements

A distinguishing aspect of the new mobility approach is its emphasis on the importance of targeted near-term improvements. It does not give up at all on long term thinking, but in response to what are increasingly understood to be unacceptable levels of pressure coming from current transportation arrangements, and the speed with which this degradation is taking place, there is a growing consensus that projects and measures should be targeting substantial improvements within a period of two or four years. In most places this also coincides with the electoral terms of those in office, thus giving those elected an opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to more sustainable transportation arrangements.

New Mobility and New Urbanism

These two movements share a common base of concern about the importance of bringing new approaches to the manner in which we structure our cities. Both key on facilitating the move to more economically and environmentally efficient higher density communities. Collaboration between the two independent programs is just getting underway

In Brief

The New Mobility Agenda looks for and coordinates a complex bouquet of overlapping mobility arrangements in an attempt to offer a high quality alternative – or complement – to the mostly car-based transport system of the city. Services most often incorporated into this multi-level alternative transport system include: Bus lane, Car diets/reduction plans, Congestion charging, HOV, Intelligent transportation system, LOV (Low-Occupancy Vehicle), Shared space, Park and ride, Parking, Road diets, SOV, Single Occupancy Vehicle, Toll roads, Traffic Calming, Transportation Demand Management, Bus rapid transit, Car rental , Car Free Days, Carpooling, Carsharing, Cycling, utility cycling, e-work, flexible working, flextime, Hitch-hiking, Human-powered transport, Jitney, Midibus, Mini-bus, Pedestrianization, Promenadology, Public space management, Public transport, Ride sharing, road pricing, Roller skating, Self-Organizing Collaborative Networks, Share taxis, Taxicab, Telecommuting, Telework, Vanpooling, Walking.

The individual components of ‘new mobility’, transportation modes and policies including those listed just above, are in generally broadly well understood and defined. But what makes the whole an “agenda” stems from the fact that new mobility policies are based on the development and orchestration of extensive packages of measures which need to be brought on line over time and as experience and demonstrated competence with these new approaches develops. Hence the totality is referred to as an “agenda”

Continental Europe is leading the way in understanding and implementing the New Mobility Agenda, and the increasingly higher quality of their transportation systems performance and their life quality and environmental impacts are immediately visible to both visitors and those who live there. German, Swiss, Dutch, Austrian, Danish, and increasingly the cities of France, Belgium, Northern Italy, and the rest of Scandinavia are joining in the new mobility/quality of life sweepstakes, driven as much by pride and strong local leadership as by purely negative factors (those these are many and important movers as well). A process has been engaged in Europe which other parts of the world are looking at and starting to emulate: cities increasingly looking at themselves and each other scanning for good ideas that they can take home and adapt for their communities. This is thus an example of a virtuous spiral. The European Commission has played an important supporting role in this process.

Terminology

To appreciate fully what "new mobility" means, it is useful to see how it differs from "Old Mobility" (often defined as being stuck in traffic, waiting in the rain for a bus that may never come, or paying large amounts of taxpayer dollars for "improvements" that ultimately find us still late for work or waiting for that bus. (See the multi-media presentation of A Day In The Life of New Mobility for one characterization of how it might look in day to day life in one city.)

What we now call "old mobility’ thinking and practice is in effect the dominant paradigm of 20th century visions and practices. It is/was essentially oriented to the search for engineering, technological and infrastructural solutions for increasing speed and throughput capacity in specific links and at key points (including bottlenecks). The old mobility paradigm was one that has been characterized as “forecast (growth) and build”. Old mobility solutions more often than not cost a lot of money, and created a broadly shared mind-set in which the main limit to providing for yet further capacity increases within the system was constrained only by funding limitations from public sources. The old system was and is essentially hierarchical and “expert oriented and controlled”. It is still dominant in many cities and parts of the world today.

(Since this entry is still in progress, here is an attempt to characterize the present arrangements and constraints that form it very broadly. By understanding these – if (a) true and (b) really a problem – we have a base for fine-tuning our proposed new solutions. So, here is how old mobility looks from the specific vantage of the proponents of the New Mobility Agenda:
  1. Based on an essentially closed system (looking at "transport" in isolation from the rest)
  2. Hierarchical
  3. Top-down
  4. Centralized
  5. Statistics based (historical)
  6. Bounded
  7. Reductive
  8. End-state solution oriented
  9. Authoritarian
  10. Supply oriented
  11. Oriented to maximizing vehicle throughput and speeds
  12. Expert based
  13. Engineering-based (i.e., working "within the box", but with high technical competence)
  14. Binary: i.e., either "private" (i.e., car-based) or "public" transport (and nothing of importance in between)
  15. De facto car-based
  16. Costly to the community (unnecessarily)
  17. Costly to individuals (unnecessarily)
  18. Resource intensive (unnecessarily)
  19. Total dependence on costly imported fossil fuels (unnecessarily)
  20. Highly polluting
  21. Massive public health menace
  22. Destroys urban fabric
  23. Hardware and build solutions, technology oriented
  24. Treats ex-car solutions as (very!) poor cousins
  25. Offers poor service/economic package to elderly, handicapped, poor and young
  26. Sharp divide between planning, policy and operations
  27. Obscure (to the public) decision making processes
  28. Focuses on bottlenecks impeding traffic flows (i.e., builds for > traffic)
  29. Attempts to anticipate them and build to forestall
  30. Searches for large projects to "solve" the problems
  31. These large projects and the substantial amounts involved often lead to corruption and waste of public moneys
  32. Still too much separation from underlying land use realities.
  33. Inadequate attention to transportation substitutes or complements
  34. Increasingly technical and tool oriented (this to the good)
  35. Anachronistic,
  36. Not doing the job that we need in 2005 and beyond!, and finally and worst of all. . .
  37. Creates a climate of passive citizenry and thus undermines participatory democracy and collective involvement and problem solving


The heart of new mobility policy by contrast is systemic complexity, diversity, participation, wide outreach and a wide array of partnerships and other forms of synergistic interaction and collaboration. It more often involves the orchestration of a large number of measures and policies, many of which often very small in themselves, in order to provide a dispersed modern city encompassing many different types of people and mobility needs – as opposed to the “big solution” approaches often favored in the past (whether major highway or road building or extensions, new Rapid transit (metros, subways or other expensive rail systems, massive central parking structures, and the like). The goal of the planners and authorities changes radically with this new paradigm, such that rather than “solving problems” with centrally planned and executed engineering and measurement; they start to get more involved in multi-level complex problem-solving, which brings them to such quite different kinds of approaches such as community outreach and orchestration of services and the participation of a much larger number of actors and players.

The New Mobility Agenda addresses the issues on both the supply and demand sides. It thus combines Transportation Demand Management TDM strategies and measures for containing, channeling and limiting wasteful and encumbering private car traffic in cities, with coordinated support of a wide “bouquet” of alterative transportation arrangements. These include various forms of Human-powered transport, utility cycling, walking, public space improvement, electronic substitutes for travel (such as telework, telecommuting or e-work) and a variety of shared and public transport strategies, new and old, including HOV (High Occupancy Vehicles), carpooling, ride sharing, car rentals, taxicab, Share taxi, Jitneys, and the list goes on (see long list of modes and component parts in Internal Links below).

History

What is today known as the New Mobility Agenda has had many antecedents and both before and since has proceeded in many places and on many fronts as traffic congestion and more generally the weight and poor performance -- environmental, economic, social, and destruction of urban fabric -- of the old, mainly car-based mobility system has increasingly made itself felt in city after city around the world. Unsurprisingly the worst problems we are seeing today are in the cities of the developing countries, and most of all in their megacities – in most of which the old mobility thinking continues to carry the day in policy and investment circles who are proving slow to adjust. Over the last two decades this movement has steadily gained force to the point where a growing array of programs and authorities are coming together in an attempt to create more balanced transportation systems, better equipped for dealing with the highly diverse mobility needs of people of all social and economic classes in the 21st century. (See references below for some of these.)

The New Mobility Agenda provides an example of a focused, international Self-Organizing Collaborative Network applied to the challenges of transport in cities. And while its antecedents are as old as the first time anyone got stuck in traffic and wondered about how things might be better organized, the actual "New Mobility Agenda" by that name was formally kicked off in 1996 during the OECD International Conference in Vancouver Canada (24-27 March 1996) under the title Towards Sustainable Transportation.

In the wake of the 1996 Towards Sustainable Transportation conference, two things happened immediately which started to give concrete expression to this new movement.
  • Working in cooperation with the OECD’s program EST - Environmentally Sustainable Transportation program a long-standing open expert forum organized on the topic area under in 1974 decided to relaunch their existing STEP program (Sustainable Transportation Emergency Program} with the name New Mobility Agenda. This program and its extensions today bring together more than four thousand international experts and activists working in this area, and is guided by an International Advisory Council. These individuals and groups are at work to develop a common frame of information and understanding mediated by a collection of exchange mechanisms, including a whole series of web sites, blogs, newsgroups, and periodic conferences, both physical and using the latest low cost video and voice conferencing techniques.
  • In parallel the City of Toronto launched a program, Moving the Economy with an explicit “New Mobility” Strategy, which continues to be active. The City has also created its own New Mobility HUB Network, which is supported by a New Mobility HUB Survey which can be usefully applied with only minor adaptations to any other community.

Collaborative New Mobility city projects, 1 Sept. 2007 update:

Recent collaborative projects that are presently (early 2007) getting considerable attention in specialist and policy circles around the world, include the relaunching of the Journal of World Transport Policy and Practice include the continuation of the Toronto (Canada) New Mobility Hub regional network and their latest Seamless Link program. In parallel the open group has launched the New Mobility Advisory/Briefs program which is aimed specifically to engage mayors and city leaders to give more attention to low cost remedial measures and projects offering near term relief. The Agenda has also recently created a handful of open video libraries which can be accessed via New Mobility Video Library.

The New Mobility program is providing independent counsel to the Clinton Climate Initiative in support of their call for 80% CO2 reductions in cities over the next ten – fifteen years. While not directly affiliated with the Clinton project, that is primarily looking at technology-based reforms in the largest world cities, the New Mobility program is concentrating on strategies to bring about major institutional reforms and a massive repartitioning of the transportation arrangements of cities of all sizes, including in the sprawl areas surround center cites.

The following cities are currently looking at eventual New Mobility projects and strategies: Paris, Stuttgart, Chicago, Washington DC, Santa Barbara (CA).

Context

New Mobility is based on a "bouquet" of arrangements and services which in place after place seeks to find the right mix of the following:

Demand Management

Supply (New Mobility Building Blocks)

One point that needs to be made concerning these building blocks, is that in any given city these will involve at least hundreds of coordinated actions, many of which carried out by or requiring the active support of groups outside of the traditional public and transport sector.

See also

External links

Royaumont Abbey is a Cistercian abbey, located near Asnières-sur-Oise in Val-d'Oise, approximately 30 km north of Paris, France.

It was built between 1228 and 1235 under the aegis of Louis IX.
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Ville de Paris

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Motto: Fluctuat nec mergitur
(Latin: "Tossed by the waves, she does not sink")

The Eiffel Tower in Paris, as seen from the esplanade du Trocadéro.
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The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), (in French: Organisation de coopération et de développement économiques; OCDE) is an international organisation of thirty countries that accept the principles of representative democracy and a free
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Ville de Paris

City flag City coat of arms

Motto: Fluctuat nec mergitur
(Latin: "Tossed by the waves, she does not sink")

The Eiffel Tower in Paris, as seen from the esplanade du Trocadéro.
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Mikoto Usui is a Japanese born, US educated (MIT Faculty of Economics, PhD program) development economist and international scholar whose life work has centered on multilateral environmental diplomacy, sustainable development governance and science & technology for economic and
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Sustainable transport, also commonly referred to as Sustainable Transportation or Sustainable Mobility, has no widely accepted definition. Since it is a sector-specific sub-set to the post-1988 sustainable development movement, it is often defined in words such as
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Sustainable development is a socio-ecological process characterized by the fulfilment of human needs while maintaining the quality of the natural environment indefinitely. The linkage between environment and development was globally recognized in 1980, when the International Union
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Pollution is the introduction of pollutants (whether chemical substances, or energy such as noise, heat, or light) into the environment to such a point that its effects become harmful to human health, other living organisms, or the environment.
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An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is an assessment of the likely influence a project may have on the environment. “Environmental Impact Assessment can be defined as: The process of identifying, predicting, evaluating and mitigating the biophysical, social, and other
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Climate change refers to the variation in the Earth's global climate or in regional climates over time. It describes changes in the variability or average state of the atmosphere over time scales ranging from decades to millions of years.
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Greenhouse gases are components of the atmosphere that contribute to the greenhouse effect. Without the greenhouse effect the Earth would be uninhabitable;[1] in its absence, the mean temperature of the earth would be about -19 °C (-2 °F, 254 K) rather than the present
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Energy conservation is the practice of decreasing the quantity of energy used while achieving a similar outcome. This practice may result in increase of financial capital, environmental value, national security, personal security, and human
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Public health is concerned with threats to the overall health of a community based on population health analysis. Health is defined and promoted differently by many organizations.
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A public space or a public place is a place where anyone has a right to come without being excluded because of economic or social conditions, although this may not always be the case in practice. One of the earliest examples of public spaces are commons.
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Quality of Life is a 2004 drama film, telling the fictional story of two graffiti writers in the Mission District of San Francisco.
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Social justice is the quality of a society's generalized right-ness. As there is no objective, known standard of what is just, the term can be amorphous and refer to sometimes self-contradictory values of justice.
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Public transport, public transportation, public transit or mass transit comprise all transport systems in which the passengers do not travel in their own vehicles.
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Sustainable transport, also commonly referred to as Sustainable Transportation or Sustainable Mobility, has no widely accepted definition. Since it is a sector-specific sub-set to the post-1988 sustainable development movement, it is often defined in words such as
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New urbanism is an American urban design movement that arose in the early 1980s. Its goal is to reform all aspects of real estate development and urban planning, from urban retrofits to suburban infill.
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bus (only) lane is a lane on a road restricted to buses, and generally used to speed up public transport otherwise held up by traffic congestions. Often taxicabs, high occupancy vehicles or motorcycles[1]
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Road pricing is a term used to cover all the various charges applied for the use of roads. The term includes fuel taxes, licence fees, tolls, and congestion charges, including those which may vary by time of day, by the specific road, or by the specific vehicle type, being used.
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Hov can refer to the following:
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  • A location:
  • Hov, Faroe Islands
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  • The Rapper Jay-Z

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The Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) program is a worldwide initiative to add information and communications technology to transport infrastructure and vehicles. It aims to manage factors that are typically at odds with each other such as vehicles, loads, and routes to
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A single-occupant vehicle (SOV) is a privately operated vehicle whose only occupant is the driver. The drivers of SOVs use their vehicles primarily for personal travel, daily commuting and for running errands.
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Shared space is a traffic engineering philosophy pioneered by the Dutch traffic engineer Hans Monderman. The approach relies on the principle that road users' behaviour is more likely to be affected by the street environment and design than by the traditional deployment of measures
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Park and ride facilities are public transport stations that allow commuters to leave their personal vehicles in a car park and transfer to a bus, rail system (rapid transit, light rail or commuter rail) or carpool for the rest of their trip.
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Parking is the act of stopping a vehicle and leaving it unoccupied for more than a brief time. It is against the law virtually everywhere to park a vehicle in the middle of a highway or road; parking on one or both sides of a road, however, is commonly permitted.
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SOV is an acronym for several terms:
  • S.O.V are a three piece West London Mod/Punk band that formed in 2006. Made up of Jimmy McGeoghan (Vox/Guitar), Sam Hill (Bass/Vox) and Harry Prescott (Drums/Vox) Tracks like 'Year of the Volunteer', 'End of Man as we Know it' and 'Ain't

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A single-occupant vehicle (SOV) is a privately operated vehicle whose only occupant is the driver. The drivers of SOVs use their vehicles primarily for personal travel, daily commuting and for running errands.
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