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Sustainable transport activism
What communities can do
Overview, see right hand column for more
Why it matters
Sustainable transport systems make a positive contribution to the environmental, social and economic sustainability of the communities they serve.
Communities which are successfully improving the sustainability of their transport networks are doing so as part of a wider programme of creating more vibrant, livable, sustainable cities. W
Sustainable transport is fundamentally a grassroots movement, albeit one which is now recognised as of citywide, national and international significance.
Whereas it started as a movement driven by environmental concerns, over these last years there has been increased emphasis on social equity and fairness issues, and in particular the need to ensure proper access and services for lower income groups and people with mobility limitations, including the fast-growing population of older citizens. Many of the people exposed to the most vehicle noise, pollution and safety risk have been those who do not own, or cannot drive cars, and those for whom the cost of car ownership causes a severe financial burden. W
Reduced dependence on cars and technology
eg see: What the Rise of Technology Has to Do With the Decline of Driving, CityLab, Oct 01, 2013
Alternatives to the automobile
Current technological developments suggest that the present car system will be replaced. Established alternatives to the automobile include public transit (buses, trolleybuses, trains, subways, monorails, tramways), cycling, walking, rollerblading and skateboarding. W
A carfree city or car free city is a population center that relies primarily on public transport, walking, or cycling for transport within the urban area. Carfree cities greatly reduce petroleum dependency, air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, automobile crashes, noise pollution, and traffic congestion. Some cities have one or more districts where motorized vehicles are prohibited, referred to as car-free zones. Many older cities in Europe, Asia, and Africa were founded centuries before the advent of the automobile, and some continue to have carfree areas in the oldest parts of the city -- especially in areas where it is impossible for cars to fit, e.g. in narrow alleys. W
The car-free movement is a broad, informal, emergent network of individuals and organizations including social activists, urban planners and others brought together by a shared belief that large and/or high-speed motorized vehicles (cars, trucks, tractor units, motorcycles, ...) are too dominant in most modern cities. The goal of the movement is to create places where motorized vehicle use is greatly reduced or eliminated, to convert road and parking space to other public uses and to rebuild compact urban environments where most destinations are within easy reach by walking, cycling or public transport. W
Carpooling (also car-sharing, ride-sharing, lift-sharing and covoiturage), is the sharing of car journeys so that more than one person travels in a car.
By having more people using one vehicle, carpooling reduces each person's travel costs such as fuel costs, tolls, and the stress of driving. Carpooling is seen as a more environmentally friendly and sustainable way to travel as sharing journeys reduces carbon emissions, traffic congestion on the roads, and the need for parking spaces. Authorities often encourage carpooling, especially during high pollution periods and high fuel prices. W
Carsharing or car sharing (US) or car clubs (UK) is a model of car rental where people rent cars for short periods of time, often by the hour. They are attractive to customers who make only occasional use of a vehicle, as well as others who would like occasional access to a vehicle of a different type than they use day-to-day. The organization renting the cars may be a commercial business or the users may be organized as a company, public agency, cooperative, or ad hoc grouping.
Carsharing contributes to sustainable transport because it is a less car intensive means of urban transport, and according to The Economist, carsharing can reduce car ownership at an estimated rate of one rental car replacing 15 owned vehicles. W
Flexible carpooling is carpooling that is not arranged ahead of time, but instead makes use of designated meeting places. It seeks to replicate the informal 'slug-lines' that form in Washington DC, Houston, and San Francisco, by establishing more formal locations for travelers to form carpools without advance contact. W
Peer-to-peer carsharing (also known as person-to-person carsharing and peer-to-peer car rental) is the process whereby existing car owners make their vehicles available for others to rent for short periods of time.
Peer-to-peer carsharing is a form of person-to-person lending or collaborative consumption, as part of the sharing economy.
As with person-to-person lending, enabling technology for this behavior has been the Internet and the adoption of geo-location-based service. W
A share taxi is a mode of transport which falls between both taxicabs and buses. These vehicles for hire are typically smaller than buses and usually take passengers on a fixed or semi-fixed route without timetables, but instead departing when all seats are filled. They may stop anywhere to pick up or drop off passengers. Often found in developing countries, the vehicles used as share taxis range from four-seat cars to minibuses. They are often owner-operated. W
Shared transport is a term for describing a demand-driven vehicle-sharing arrangement, in which travelers share a vehicle either simultaneously (e.g. ride-sharing) or over time (e.g. carsharing or bike sharing), and in the process share the cost of the journey, thereby creating a hybrid between private vehicle use and mass or public transport.
Shared transport systems include carsharing (also called car clubs in the UK), bicycle sharing (also known as PBS or Public Bicycle Systems), carpools and vanpools (aka ride-sharing or lift-sharing), real-time ridesharing, slugging, casual carpooling, community buses and vans, demand responsive transit (DRT), paratransit, a range of taxi projects and even hitchhiking and its numerous variants.
Shared transport is taking on increasing importance as a key strategy for reducing greenhouse gas and other emissions from the transport sector in the face of the global climate emergency by finding ways of getting more intensive use of vehicles on the road. W
Slugging, also known as casual carpooling, is the practice of forming ad hoc, informal carpools for purposes of commuting, essentially a variation of ride-share commuting and hitchhiking. Typically slugging is motivated by an incentive such as a faster HOV lane or a toll reduction. While the practice is most common and most publicized in the congested Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, slugging also occurs in San Francisco, Houston, and other cities. W
News and comment
See separate article: Sustainable transport news
Apps for sustainability
Citizens data initiative
As of December 2012, there were an estimated 1.7 million car-sharing members in 27 countries, including so-called peer-to-peer services, according to the Transportation Sustainability Research Center at U.C. Berkeley. W
Open Charge Map, global public registry of electric vehicle charging locations
“A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It's where the rich use public transportation.”
— Enrique Peñalosa, Ex-Mayor of Bogotá
BRT Mexico City - English on youtube
Contested Streets: Breaking NYC Gridlock on youtube
Greenlivingpedia: Green cars
Hitchwiki: portal, leading to different language wiki. "Hitchwiki is a collaborative website for gathering information about hitchhiking and other ways of extremely cheap ways of transport. It is maintained by many active hitchhikers all around the world. We have information about how to hitch out of big cities, how to cover long distances, maps and many more tips."