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robertogreco : transmobility   13

Transit Agencies Must Sell Freedom – Remix
"Some of you may have watched the recent Winter Olympic Games, during which, Toyota ran several ads highlighting individual mobility. The core message: celebrate the notion of freedom. Yet, absent from these commercials were actual vehicles.

Vehicle manufacturers have long sold themselves as purveyors of freedom. For decades in America, the purchase of a vehicle was not just a financial transaction, but the key to personal freedom. Through their commercial, Toyota was similarly connecting the notion of athletic freedoms to the personal freedoms granted by their vehicles.

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On the other hand, public transportation is often portrayed as an alternative to driving, or the option you use when driving is too expensive or unavailable to you. But at its core, there is no difference between the function of a private vehicle and a public transportation vehicle. Both are used to get you from wherever you are to where you want to be.

The Freedom Frame

Willful motion is a basic characteristic of life. Being able to move when you want and go where you want is a core element of personal freedom. In my work as a transit planner, I’ve found that when I am able to describe my work in the context of personal freedom, people engage. I believe that more transit agencies should use this “Freedom Frame” to plan, promote, and communicate their services to showcase the benefit they bring to their communities.

Using such a ‘Freedom Frame’ to talk about our work has several advantages.

1. It keeps the focus on what matters most to people — their ability to access destinations quickly and affordably.[1]

2. It allows you to transform beyond the individual experience and plan for a type of collective freedom.

3. It allows you to tap into the broader transportation market.

Fortunately, there are more and more tools becoming available to transit planners to measure transit freedom. These tools are known as transit accessibility analysis, isochrone analysis, or in the Remix world, Jane. Using Jane to estimate the accessibility for different demographics, such as low-income, minority, youth or seniors, has allowed me to make the transit Freedom Frame relevant to diverse audiences, and gain broad-based support for potential service changes.

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Freedom is Greater Than Efficiency

Too often, our conversations about transportation and transit are focused on operational details or efficiency metrics — roadway capacity, vehicle delay, passengers per hour, vehicle loads, etc. But it turns out, that no one really cares about efficiency for efficiency’s sake. In my experience, people care about efficiency only to the extent that it allows them to do something they otherwise would not be able to do. In other words, if we cannot explain our efficiency enhancements in terms of expanded freedom, they will continue to be undervalued or actively resisted.

This reality has implications for both transit planning and marketing. As an example, transfers are essential for an efficient network. However, it’s very difficult for a rider to accept this trade-off and they often resist adding new transfers to a network. You can reduce some of this resistance by illustrating and quantifying the number of new places riders can get to with the new transfer. Mapping one’s transit freedom immediately encourages the public to to imagine new trips they could make rather than focusing on the inconvenience of the transfer.

Freedom as a Business Bottom Line

When marketing to local employers, quantifying the size of the workforce that is accessible to them because of transit speaks to them in terms of their bottom lines. If they can move their workforce on transit, they can rethink their parking strategies and needs. If employers have commute trip reduction goals or targets, for example, marketing transit to their employees starts to be in their own self-interest. In the case of a small business owner, illustrating the number of people who could potentially arrive at their doorstep because of the bus stop could change their perspective. They come to see the bus stop as a virtual on-street parking space that turns over much more frequently than an actual parking spot. Through this lens, they too, have an interest in supporting people using transit.

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Collective Freedoms Enhance Individual Freedoms

Another significant challenge in transportation planning is that we tend to think about travel from our personal experience, which leads to individually optimized solutions. In transit we experience this, when certain customer groups approach us to ask what special service, or route, we can provide for them. Invariably the request stems from the desire to get a certain group or type of person to a specific type of destination to do a specific type of activity. Common examples include seniors getting to the grocery store, youth to a recreational center after school, a certain employer’s employees to their office building, or even concertgoers to a venue.

Approaching transportation from the perspective of the individual requires agencies to know a lot about each individual — where they live, where they’re they going, and when they’re going. Developing highly tailored services around individual trip patterns results in networks that are brittle (fragile to changes in the community) and less efficient. Further, optimizing for an individual will make the network less attractive to everyone but that individual.

To counter this trend, transit agencies need to pivot toward a collective approach. Begin by refocusing on freedom. At the core of each of those individual trips is the same desire, to get from where one is to where one wants to be. Connecting more people to more places more often will result in more seniors, more youth, and more employees reaching their destinations.

If we optimize a network for collective mobility, rather than individual trips, we will have a network that will enhance the individual freedoms for the greatest number of people. Not to mention, the network itself will be more resilient to change, more efficient, and require less specific knowledge about individual trips.

A Willingness to Pay for Freedom

The promise of freedom in transit is primarily sabotaged by its operating budget. The Freedom Frame however, has encouraged me to dramatically expand my vision beyond the limitations of an existing operating budget. We typically think about our current operating budget as the starting point for people’s willingness to pay for transit. For most small and even middle-sized transit agencies, this funding level is insufficient to provide freedom to the general population let alone our current passengers. This lens artificially limits transit’s potential.

I would challenge transit agencies to consider a “Freedom Frame” approach to funding. This changes the question from “How much should we spend on transit?” to “How much should we pay for the freedom to move?” As the automobile industry and Toyota have confirmed, people are willing to pay a lot of money for their personal freedom. Much more, in fact, than any transit agency’s operating budget.

For example, the two-county area surrounding Boise, Idaho, known as the Treasure Valley, is home to over 600,000 people. Residents of the Treasure Valley pay an estimated $1.5 billion per year on operating their own vehicles. By comparison, the transit operating budget for the Treasure Valley (including paratransit and demand response options) is $15 million — or one percent.

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This single statistic explains:

1. Why transit currently provides little freedom in the Treasure Valley

2. The remaining market share of what transit could provide

Today, asking people to take transit in the Treasure Valley is like asking them to step out of a world of $1.5 billion of freedom and into a world of only $15 million of freedom. Our residents experience this loss of freedom in terms of the bus not coming often enough, not coming on the days they need, or not taking them to their needed destinations. Understandably, few people, compared to the entire population, choose transit[1].

Catch the Freedom Train

If people are willing to spend $1.5 billion on their own freedom, why are we limiting ourselves to incremental transit expansion programs? Could transit provide more freedom to more people with less money than the current arrangement?

Of course it can! So, why isn’t that our target? Why aren’t we telling this story in terms of freedom rather than in terms of transportation needs assessments, alternatives, efficiencies, or environmental impacts?

Transit is about providing more freedom to more people at a lower cost. And those costs are not only out-of-pocket financial costs but also lower social costs, lower land requirements, and lower environmental costs. These concepts of transit freedom are not new, but have been elevated through new technology that transit planners now have at their fingertips.

There is truth in Toyota’s advertising: when people are free to move, anything is possible. Whether looking at the past and the tunnels cut by hand through the Rocky Mountains, or the ribbons of asphalt and concrete that crisscross our country, or looking to the future with investments in automated vehicles, Hyperloops, etc., it is clear that anything is possible when you provide people the freedom to move. Transit agencies will be much more likely to realize the investments they need to remain relevant if they are able to tap into people’s desire to move freely."
transmobility  2018  transportation  transit  publictransit  freedom  efficiency  mobility  collectivism  fundign  government  trains  buses  stephenhunt 
may 2018 by robertogreco
Uber, or: The technics and politics of socially corrosive mobility | Speedbird
"This state of affairs, however, is unlikely to last forever. Other interested parties will surely note Uber’s success, draw their own conclusions from it, and attempt to apply whatever lessons they derive to the marketing of their own products and services. If Uber is a confession that the “smart city” is a place we already live in, then, it is also a cautionary case study in the kinds of values we can expect such a city to uphold in its everyday operation — some merely strongly implicit, others right out there in the open. Just what are they?

– Those who can afford to pay more deserve to be treated better." …

– That “better” amounts to a bland generic luxury." …

– Interpersonal exchanges are more appropriately mediated by algorithms than by one’s own competence." …

– "Private enterprise should be valorized over public service provision on principle, even when public alternatives would afford comparable levels of service."



"Quite simply, the city is smaller for people who have access to Uber. The advent of near-effortless, on-demand, point-to-point personal mobility has given them a tesseract with which the occasionally unwieldy envelope of urban space-time can be folded down to something more readily manageable. It’s trivially easy to understand the appeal of this — especially when the night is dark, the bus shelter is cold, the neighborhood is remote, and one is alone.

But as should be clear by now, this power to fold space and time comes at a terrible cost. The four values enumerated above make Uber a prime generator of the patterns of spatialized injustice Stephen Graham has called “software-sorted geographies,” although it does so in a way unencompassed by Graham’s original account. Its ordinary operation injects the urban terrain with a mobile and distributed layer of invidious privilege, a hypersite where practices and values deeply inimical to any meaningful conception of the common wealth are continuously reproduced.

More insidiously yet, these become laminated into journey-planning and other services when they position Uber alongside other options available to the commuter, as simply another tab or item in a pull-down menu. Ethical questions are legislated at the level of interface design, at the hands of engineers and designers so immersed in the privileges of youth and relative wealth, and so inculcated with the values prevalent in their own industry, that they may well not perceive anything about Uber to be objectionable in the slightest. (Notable in this regard are Google Maps and Citymapper, both of which now integrate Uber as a modal option alongside public transit and taxis, and Apple’s App Store, which lists the Uber app as an “Essential.”) Consciously or not, though, every such integration acts to normalize the Randian solipsism, the fratboy misogyny, and the sneering disdain for the very notion of a public good that saturates Uber’s presentation of its identity.

Where innovations in personal mobility could just as easily be designed to extend the right to the city, and to conceive of on-demand access to all points in the urbanized field as a public utility, Uber acts to reinscribe and to actually strengthen existing inequities of access. It is an engine consciously, delicately and expertly tuned to socialize risk and privatize gain. In furtherance of the convenience of a few, it sheds risk on its drivers, its passengers, and the communities within which it operates. If in any way this offering is a harbinger of the network-mediated services we can expect to contend with in the city to come, I believe we are justified in harboring the gravest concern — and, further, in doing whatever we can to render the act of choosing to book a ride with Uber a social faux pas of Google Glass proportions."
2015  uber  adamgreenfield  tranpsportation  politics  technology  mobility  transmobility  inequality  injustice  socialjustice  community  luxury 
july 2015 by robertogreco
▶ TEDxMedellin - Alejandro Echeverri - Urbanismo Social Medellín - YouTube
"Alejandro Echeverri explica como los proyectos urbanos ayudan a ser inductores de muchos procesos definiendo tiempos, presupuestos y actores en el territorio. Tambien nos habla sobre el poder simbolico de la arquitectura, la belleza y la inclusion."
alehandroecheverri  urbanism  urban  urbanplanning  planning  architecture  2012  medellín  inclusion  colombia  medellin  cities  systemsthinking  publicspace  publictransit  mobility  transmobility  freedom  thechildinthecity  socialurbanism  inclusivity  inlcusivity 
october 2013 by robertogreco
Fighting Crime With Architecture in Medellín, Colombia - NYTimes.com
"city’s transformation established roots before…Fajardo took office, in thoughtful planning guidelines, amnesties & antiterrorism programs, community-based initiatives by Germany & UN &…Colombian national policy mandating architectural interventions as a means to attack poverty & crime.

…every mayor here has to have enormous architectural & infrastructural plans, or risk coming across as small-minded or an outsider.

…Empresas Públicas de Medellín…constitutionally mandated to provide clean water & electricity even to houses in the city’s illegal slums, so that unlike in Bogotá, where the worst barrios lack basic amenities, in Medellín there’s a safety net.

E.P.M.’s profits…go directly to building new schools, public plazas, the metro & parks.

“We took a view that everything is interconnected — education, culture, libraries, safety, public spaces,”

…goal of government should be providing rich and poor with the same quality education, transportation and public architecture…"
moravia  planb  jprcr  anaelviravélez  lorenzocastro  alejandrobernal  felipemesa  camilorestrepo  rogeliosalmona  conservation  catalinaortiz  normanfoster  slums  giancarlomazzanti  comuna13  epm  aníbalgaviria  chocó  chocano  bogotá  alejandroecheverri  transmobility  equality  transportation  schools  education  libraries  parks  architecture  policty  government  urban  urbanism  crimeprevention  placemaking  2012  sergiofajardo  colombia  medellin  medellín 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Reading L.A.: The once and future Plaza, nature in the city - latimes.com
"Promoting more events like ArroyoFest seems crucial in helping Angelenos define mobility in a new way. And, as Gottlieb points out, the kind of thinking that will be required to reimagine the freeway for 21st century Los Angeles is the same kind of thinking that helped create the city and its infrastructure in the first place. He reminds us in the book that the great Carey McWilliams -- one of the first authors we met in Reading L.A. -- described Los Angeles as "a land of magical improvisation."

Redefining or even repurposing the freeways of Los Angeles -- on a permanent rather than merely temporary basis -- may require the biggest and most creative improvisation of all."
improvisation  density  socal  change  transmobility  personalmobility  mobility  future  urbanism  urban  2012  history  books  cities  losangeles 
january 2012 by robertogreco
The Struggle to Define L.A.'s Transitional Moment - Design - The Atlantic Cities
"“If we can agree that the city has been linked with suburban development and private mobility, and those two things are both either being called into question or breaking down to some degree, what happens next? How do we establish some kind of identity for a post-suburban future?” Hawthorne says. “And that doesn’t mean the freeways are going away or cars are going away or single family houses for that matter, it just means that those things won’t define the character of the city in the way that they have.”

Just what that character will be is as much shaped by the transition underway as by our understanding of the city. For Hawthorne, this year-long literary trip has bolstered his perception of the city as a product of its past. But, he says, even the most overarching  studies of the city can’t and don’t describe what is emerging in the L.A. of today."
urbanism  change  density  transportation  cities  urban  books  christopherhawthorne  2012  transition  socal  transmobility  personalmobility  future  history  nateberg  losangeles 
january 2012 by robertogreco
PLoS ONE: Self-Organization Leads to Supraoptimal Performance in Public Transportation Systems
"The performance of public transportation systems affects a large part of the population. Current theory assumes that passengers are served optimally when vehicles arrive at stations with regular intervals. In this paper, it is shown that self-organization can improve the performance of public transportation systems beyond the theoretical optimum by responding adaptively to local conditions. This is possible because of a “slower-is-faster” effect, where passengers wait more time at stations but total travel times are reduced. The proposed self-organizing method uses “antipheromones” to regulate headways, which are inspired by the stigmergy (communication via environment) of some ant colonies."
self-organization  transportation  systems  anarchy  publictransit  performance  mobility  transmobility  urbanism  buses  trains  anarchism 
july 2011 by robertogreco
City offers lifetime tram passes in exchange for citizens’ cars | Springwise
"There are many approaches cities can take to reduce the number of cars on their roads. We’ve seen numerous bike-sharing schemes, for example, as well as similar efforts to share electric cars, but until just recently we had never come across anything quite as dramatic as what Spain’s city of Murcia recently proposed. The government of Murcia has offered to give citizens lifetime passes to its brand-new tram system in exchange for turning over their cars."
murcia  españa  spain  masstransit  transportation  design  cities  planning  mobility  carfree  carfreecity  transmobility  2011  incentives  exchanges 
july 2011 by robertogreco
How Mobile Devices Could Lead to More City Living - Science and Tech - The Atlantic
"mobile devices tapping on wireless networks can exert a powerful social influence, as we've all noticed. They could help tip the scales towards denser city living, or at least shorter commutes, for the wired workforce."
alexismadrigal  transmobility  cars  commuting  masstransit  density  cities  urban  urbanism  mobile  phones  mobiledevices  transportation  media  technology 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Fixing the Bus System : Artsy Techie
"What happens when one person moves on her own to an unknown major city is a fascinating way to observe (and hopefully help fix) things that are broken in our urban systems. Newcomers have to go through a period of fairly stressful learning and adaptation to the new city. Any system that is not welcoming or easy to understand for a “native” of the city will also systematically be a major bag of hurt for the rest of us, the impact of bad service design multiplied manifold."
buses  adamgreenfield  transportation  newcomers  travel  cities  learning  adaptability  adaptation  transmobility  readwriteurbanism  urban  urbanism  ubicomp  everyware  urbancomputing 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Transmobility, part II « Adam Greenfield's Speedbird
"What we ought to be designing are systems that allow people to compose coherent journeys, working from whatever parameters make most sense to them. We need to be asking ourselves how movement through urban space will express itself (and be experienced as travelers as a cohesive experience) across the various modes, nodes and couplings that will necessarily be involved. The challenge before us remains integrating this tangle of pressures, constraints, opportunities and affordances into coherent user-facing propositions, ones that would offer people smoother, more flexible, more graceful and more finely-grained control over their movements through urban space. Then we could, perhaps, begin to speak of a true transmobility."

[Part I here: http://speedbird.wordpress.com/2010/05/01/transmobility-part-i/
Part III here: http://speedbird.wordpress.com/2010/05/05/free-mobility-social-mobility-transmobility-part-iii/ ]
cities  transport  ubicomp  urban  urbanism  technology  local  mobility  transmobility  transportation  masstransit  architecture  design  adamgreenfield 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Free mobility, social mobility…transmobility (part III) « Adam Greenfield's Speedbird
"transit ought to be free to the user...Because access to good, low- or no-cost public institutions clearly, consistently catalyzes upward social mobility....

Municipalities ought to be conceiving of transit fees not as a potential revenue stream, but as a brake on a much bigger & more productive system.

To me, this isn’t a fantasy, but rather a matter of attending to the demands of basic social justice...

I’ve recently & persuasively seen privilege defined as when one’s “social & economic networks tend to facilitate goals, rather than block them.” As I sit here right now, my mobility options are as infinitely finely grained as present-day practices & technologies can get them... What I’ve here called “transmobility” is an opportunity to use our best available tools and insights to extend that privilege until it becomes nothing of the sort."

[Part I here: http://speedbird.wordpress.com/2010/05/01/transmobility-part-i/
Part III here: http://speedbird.wordpress.com/2010/05/02/transmobility-part-ii/ ]
socialism  urbanism  transport  transportation  adamgreenfield  socialmobility  freemobility  transmobility  urban  publictransit  masstransit  socialjustice  productivity  privilege  economics  networks 
august 2010 by robertogreco

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