8 Replies Latest reply: Mar 5, 2015 11:29 AM by ricardo RSS

    eDiscussion on “The role of cross sector integration in building a sustainable urban transport system”

    rodica.tomescu C4D Extraordinaire

      Dear All,


      First of all, I would like to thank the participants in the Ideation Contest for their valuable input!

      The winner of the Ideation Contest is topic number 3, namely: The role of cross sector integration in building a sustainable urban transport system.

       

      In order to set stage for our eDiscussion please take a moment to read the below selection from the study Formulating an Urban Transport Policy – Choosing between Options (the study is available on the platform’s front page under “What’s New”) and then join the discussion in this thread where panelists from different fields provide online facilitation to answer your questions/comments.

       

      The eDiscussion will kick off at 4pm EST on Tuesday, February 24th and go to 4pm EST the next Tuesday, March 3rd.

       

       

              THE MULTIDIMENSIONALITY OF URBAN TRANSPORT

      “Because cities are complex and multifaceted, urban mobility planning needs to be multidimensional. Though this approach is intricate, it is not difficult. It simply calls for more holistic thinking and comprehensive planning. In other words, construction of mass transit systems need to be backed up by complementary transit oriented development, the right kind of feeder systems, pricing signals that discourage personal motor vehicles, and public awareness campaigns. Further, transport infrastructure and services need to be provided in an integrated manner so that seamless travel—across different modes—becomes possible. They need to be affordable for the poor and at the same time be financially sustainable; they need to be designed to accommodate the needs of women, children, the elderly, the disabled, and other vulnerable populations.

       

      Thus, they need to be universally accessible. Rarely is building facilities and adding to infrastructure capacity an adequate or durable response to the growing demands for mobility. It has to be complemented by several other interventions that simultaneously channel demand in a desired direction. Without this cohesion, additions in infrastructure capacity will not result in the desired outcomes.

       

      The comprehensive and holistic planning approach requires a combination of supply-side and demand-side measures. It must consider land use planning, urban geography, environment, human behavior, local culture, economics, finance, public policy, political economy, governance, health, safety, gender, disability, affordability, livelihoods, communication, information technology (IT), and a host of other things. It is important to fully understand the links between the different dimensions in order to secure the best outcomes. Often the most obvious remedies are not the most appropriate ones. For example, the most obvious remedy for congestion is to create more road space; however, the benefits that are initially secured by easier travel are soon lost as more vehicles come on the road and congestion

      1. resurfaces.

       

      The capacity to adequately deal with such a multidimensional subject is generally lacking in many cities—particularly, though not exclusively, those of the developing world. Very often, institutional structures are highly fragmented and not conducive to coordinated planning. Several agencies undertake initiatives, which then conflict and compete with each other, thus constraining the ability to secure the best out of any investment. Legal and administrative frameworks are not in place to handle this problem effectively. Further, policy makers and political leaders charged with the responsibility of dealing with the problem often lack transport or urban planning backgrounds. Sometimes they seek expert opinions, which at times conflict, leaving them confused and unsure of what to do.”

       

      Looking forward to your comments, questions and evaluations. I will get back to you later on in the day when we will officially launch the eDiscussion!


      Have a great day,

      Rodica


        • Re: eDiscussion on “The role of cross sector integration in building a sustainable urban transport system”
          rodica.tomescu C4D Extraordinaire

          Dear All,

          The eDiscussion is officially active! Please feel free to share your introductory comments on the topic and highlight the relevance of cross-sector integration for urban transport.

          I look forward to this week's discussion!

          Best,

          Rodica

            • Re: eDiscussion on “The role of cross sector integration in building a sustainable urban transport system”
              scastelar C4D Enthusiast

              It is important to understand how a city works in order to create sustainable transportation systems. People do not move around the city for the sake of moving from one place to another, the need to move arises from the requirement to fulfill different needs. It is necessary to understand these needs and how best to fulfill them as a basis for developing adequate and sustainable transportation systems. This goes beyond the realm of transportation planning or the realm of the usual authorities in charge of the cities' transportation systems. The challenge goes beyond that of moving people and goods, to that of fulfilling needs in the most efficient way possible. It requires a fluid communication among  different actors in charge of different city elements like education, health, environment, safety and many more already mentioned in the reading above. Many cities fail when they see the development of sustainable transportation systems as a compartmentalized job that involves only transportation authorities. Cross sector integration becomes critical and it is not only important for the way we develop transport systems, but for the way we do public policy in general.

                • Re: eDiscussion on “The role of cross sector integration in building a sustainable urban transport system”
                  rodica.tomescu C4D Extraordinaire

                  Thank you Saul for an excellent introductory comment – I think your argument leads us to the main questions that we should address during our eDiscussion. Taking into consideration the complexity of urban transport, public policy and government have a very important role to play.

                   

                  The first question that arises is: Which level of government should be responsible for developing sustainable urban transport systems? Should it be national or local? And going a step further, from your practical experience at what level and which institutions need to coordinate all efforts?

                   

                  Understanding how a city works and knowing/acknowledging a city’s needs are key elements for developing a sustainable urban transport system. In this case, local authorities/local government seems to be the most suitable actor to take responsibility and coordinate the development of a sustainable urban transport system. On the other hand, bouncing on Saul’s point, cross sector integration is critical as well as involving all the actors/sectors – considering things from tis angle, is a broader perspective and a more integrated approach with a higher level of authority – like the one the central government has – needed?

              • Re: eDiscussion on “The role of cross sector integration in building a sustainable urban transport system”
                C4D Connoisseur

                Hi all,

                 

                First of all, thank you Rodica for this interesting discussion and for your invitation to participate of it.

                 

                After reading the extract of the study "Formulating an Urban Transport Policy", a first (and probably obvious) conclusion is that the role of cross sector integration  is definitely strategic and necessary to contribute to create real multidimensional urban transport policies in order to build a strong foundation for a future sustainable transport system, especially in developing countries. 

                 

                Nevertheless, it is important to note that we are talking about including all possible sectors (*) like an immense mixture of complementary components to be considered. I still not read the complete study, but I am sure that there should be a hierarchical organization or distribution of these components by scales, sizes and types of cities, political, enconomic and social context, etc. I totally agree that we need to promote cross-sectorial integration in urban planning and, as a direct outcome, in urban transport planning. But we also need to consider an specific order and a priorization of sectors according urban scales and contexts.

                 

                And in this part, I would like to engage with the question of Rodica to Saul about competences in urban transport planning. From my point of view, the national government should contribute with the policies that promote the development and planning of sustainable urban transport systems by local governments. Nonetheless, in the case of metropolis from developing countries, local governments need the additional economic and political support from national governments. As it was mentioned in the extract, the challenge for cities in the developing world is that their public transport systems should be "afordable for poor people but financially sustainable".

                 

                So, this is my first point or question to discuss: It is really possible to include all sectors at the same time and at the same scale or governmental level?

                 

                In my opinion the first level should be the construction of cross-sectorial public transport policies developed by national governments in order to create a solid foundation for the progressive generation of new and innovative local scale policies, plans and projects which include the most important issues (sectors) to tackle by each city according to its social, economic and political context. In other words, there should be an strategic distribution of responsabilities and competences in order to build an efficient cross-sectorial sustainable urban transport planning.

                 

                Finally, I liked this phrase from the text: "Often the most obvious remedies are not the most appropriate ones". It implies the necessity to question our previous statements, no matter how obvious they seem to be. It is perfect for this discussion!

                 

                Please, let me know your opinions!

                 

                Kind regards,

                 

                Ricardo

                 

                 

                 

                 

                (*) land use planning, urban geography, environment, human behavior, local culture, economics, finance, public policy, political economy, governance, health, safety, gender, disability, affordability, livelihoods, communication, information technology (IT), and a host of other things.

                  • Re: eDiscussion on “The role of cross sector integration in building a sustainable urban transport system”
                    rodica.tomescu C4D Extraordinaire

                    Thank you, Ricardo - YES!!  That phrase from the text also struck me as being very relevant and I think that this is the reason why every "master plan" for developing sustainable urban transport systems should be flexible and include a margin of "responsiveness" to non-intuitive and/or surprising results.

                     

                    Going back to the other point you raised, namely the need for s strategic distribution of responsibilities and competences, as the study mentions, "The overall responsibility may change as urbanization progresses. At early stages of urbanization, the construction sector could lead, as the dominant issues relate to the construction of facilities and infrastructure. At slightly more advanced stages, the linkages between land use and transport become important, and so the land use planning sector could take the lead. At more mature levels (...) the technical complexities of a transport system become important, and so the transport sector could take the lead".

                     

                    I also think that it is important to note here that while projecting and developing a sustainable transport system the authorities should first of all have a vision statement and then some major objectives - depending on these objectives and keeping in mind the importance of cross-sector integration, they prioritize and distribute the roles and competences of all the sectors.

                     

                    Let me know what you think!

                     

                    Best,

                    Rodica

                      • Re: eDiscussion on “The role of cross sector integration in building a sustainable urban transport system”
                        scastelar C4D Enthusiast

                        Thank you Ricardo and Rodica for keeping the discussion alive, it would be great to see more people join in and share their views. I believe that what works in a particular context may not work somewhere else, but in some places, central government has a planning authority in charge of dealing with policies at the highest level that may set guidelines for different particular authorities to follow. This central planning department again tries to act as a link across different sectors in order to make sure that their work is carried out under a common vision, much like Rodica suggests. It is based on these general guidelines that local authorities may proceed with their work in order to have the cross sector feedback that they require. I would like to ask here to those reading the discussion what do they think of such an approach.

                          • Re: eDiscussion on “The role of cross sector integration in building a sustainable urban transport system”
                            rodica.tomescu C4D Extraordinaire

                            Dear All,

                            Thanks for all the excellent participants who have been involved in this interesting eDiscussion - special thanks to Ricardo and Saul for their active and insightful contributions.

                            The one-week eDiscussion is now "officially closed" but we will keep this thread open to continue our conversation for those who didn't have the chance to share their opinions/comments until now.

                            I hope you all enjoyed the eDiscussion and I look forward to your suggestions for future eDicussions - in order to make these conversations (eDiscussions) more successful and meaningful we will run a survey asking for your opinions on how you would like these eDiscussions to further develop.

                            Thanks again to all for your replies, questions and suggestions.

                            With best wishes,

                            Rodica

                              • Re: eDiscussion on “The role of cross sector integration in building a sustainable urban transport system”
                                C4D Connoisseur

                                Dear Rodica and Saul,

                                 

                                Thanks for your comments! I agree with you. Every case is different and every answer should be addapted to the reality of every city and country. Especially, in the case of developing countries the problems increase exponentially. The overpopulation in big cities and the rise of inequalty are the main characteristics of the contemporary socio-spatial fragmented Latin American cities. In the case of Ecuador, my country, urban transport planning has important challenges to tackle for the next decades. Despite of the fact that the most populated cities (Guayaquil and Quito) have around 3 million inhabitants every one, both have been suffering during the last decade of several problems because of the excess of private cars and the bad quality of public transport systems.

                                 

                                Quito, our capital, is planning to build its first metro transport system (and it will the first metro in the country). Nevertheless, the huge cost of this transport infrastructure and the difficulty to recuperate the public inversion are undermining this idea. About the latter, it is important to remark that traditionally in Ecuador, the cost of the ticket in the public transport system (buses) and several basic services have been subsidized for several decades as a form to compensate extreme poverty, especially in cities. In other words, people would like to transport in metro or any other modern transport system, but at the same time they won't accept to pay more money for a better service.

                                 

                                So, we still have in Guayaquil and Quito two types of public transport systems: the Metro-vía and Trole-bus , which is a BRTs (Bus Rapid Transit System) and cost 30 to 50 cents of US dollar per ticket; and we have the traditional old and disorganized buses which cost 25 cents per ticket. Despite of the efforts of the Municipalities to take out the old buses from the streets, it has been impossible to do it. People prefer the old buses and understand them as part of the city identity and culture. To sum up, we have socially fragmented transport flows: high and middle income inhabitants prefer private car, low-income families use the subsidized buses. The BRT transport system was a good idea, but it can not increase the price of the ticket, otherwise nobody will use it.

                                 

                                So, I would like to ask to other friends from other countries, and especially from developing countries: Do you have the same problems? How could cross-sectorial urban transport planning help to deal with a problem like this?

                                 

                                Please, let us know your comments, ideas or more examples from your cities.

                                 

                                Regards,


                                Ricardo