Supporting background notes by Eric Britton, World Streets & the New Mobility Agenda
Greetings from Paris. I am very glad to be with you even if only by this video link, but time is short solet's get to the topic. We have worked hard over the last months to prepare this conference, and thepoint I wish to make right here at the outset that this is not just one more ambitious expert workshopon sustainable transportation. I am joining you in Changzhi today with a single idea in mind.Specifically to see if, along with my esteemed colleagues from whom you will be hearing shortly, I canconvince at least a certain number of you in this room of the importance , the relevance and indeed theabsolute necessity of introducing the concept of share/transport in the future of not only your own cityand cities across China more generally, but in cities around the world.At the end of the day I do not need you all to agree with all the ideas that are set outhere. Indeed I do not expect you to. It is my experience that when it comes toexploring new approaches that break with past practices, that it is more likely to be aminority of the young people and younger minds (not always the same thing) that aremore open to new ideas. If that's you, you are the person whom I now want to addressover the next twenty or some minutes than in the dialogue that is to follow.When someone talks about sharing in the transport sector in China these days,because of all of the activity and publicity that has gone with that over the last two years or so, the firstthing that comes to mind is shared bicycle projects. And then when we think about it a bit more andperhaps we get to projects like BRT's, this leads us to think about sharing the street with other users,including cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians. And of course cars. But there is more to it than that.The concept of shared transport is at once old and new, formal and informal, but above all it is anelement of the transport sector that is growing very fast. Something important is clearly going on, andthe Changzhi event will look at this carefully, in the hope of providing a broader strategic understandingfor advancing not just the individual shared modes (e.g., car/share, ride/share, bike/share, street/share,taxi/share, etc.), but of combining them to advance the sustainable transport agenda of our cities morebroadly.Are we at a turning point? Is sharing already starting to be a more broadly used and relevantsocial/economic pattern? Is there an over-arching concept which we can identify and put to work forpeople and the planet? And what do you need to look at and do to make your specific sharing projectwork? These are some of the issues that we shall be examining with prominent invited guests from thefields of economics, politics, psychology, who will join transportation experts to discuss these trends.
Thus my main interest here in this first stage is not in the specific kinds of sharing -- that's important of course but it came come later. Rather what we need to sort out together anted get right here at thestart is our understanding of the overall strategy and justification for and behind the concept of sharing,both in general and in the transport sector . At this early point it is not the specifics of any one kind of sharing approach, but rather the broader human issues which it necessarily touches. Let's have a look.
- Eric Britton. World Streets and the New Mobility Agenda, Paris, France