Disappearing Traffic: Finding Traffic Congestion Solutions
Have you ever wished “someone would do something about the traffic”? This cause is about having better mobility with fewer vehicle trips.International
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ‘DOING SOMETHING ABOUT THE TRAFFIC’?
You probably thought that someone was already responsible for ‘doing something about the traffic’, and that somehow your tax dollars were already at work fixing this problem. And that is true, but as you can see on your roads every day: the experts and tax dollars are not fixing the problem. The thinking that got us into this situation is not getting us out of it. New thinking is needed but the decision-makers and allocators of funds do not choose to allocate money to support truly new thinking.
WHAT I’M DOING
So I’m trying to do something about the traffic. For this I am doing several things including:
Chairing and leading the Ridesharing Institute, exploring existing knowledge and developing new concepts, attending meetings and conferences and writing papers and articles.
Over the past decade I have built up a solid list of publications, conference presentations, and stories in newspapers and magazines, and a network of people who think that the status quo is not quite right.
Collectively you could say that we are the size of a flea on an elephant, compared with the road-building and public transport lobby - but movements have to start somewhere. At the moment you could say that we are building the case for change.
WHY I’M DOING IT
My work in this field began with an idea for a solution – express carpooling – that we, my business partner John Pearce and I, thought would help reduce the traffic. We thought that reducing the traffic would be a good idea – it is called for in every city transportation plan.
What we found was that decision-makers have very specific ideas about what solutions should look like, and they reject alternative solutions that do not meet their preconceived ideas. They are the gatekeepers of both funding and permissions for trying new ideas.
Since this model is clearly not working (not much innovation is happening, and congestion continues to be a problem), I decided to develop as full an understanding as I could about why, as a first step to bringing about change, and then I looked around for like-minded people who also think such an effort is needed.
I am 58 years old, and this is my third career. I have professional accounting qualifications, and an executive MBA from the University of Auckland. I worked for several years as a management consultant and have reasonably strong skills in analyzing problems and proposing solutions. I have spent about a decade focused on the questions of ridesharing and traffic congestion.
A journalist in the USA, Mark Svenvold, calls me the ‘Johnny Appleseed of Ridesharing’. He saw me present at the Economist Magazine’s Game Changing Solutions for the Carbon Economy Conference in Washington DC in November 2009 (watch the video here: http://youtu.be/sq5F3CcSXfA) and has been keeping in touch ever since. He recently wrote about me in this article in Orion Magazine: http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/8269
WHY I NEED MONEY
I have the opportunity to go to the International Road Federation’s (IRF) 1st IRF Asia Regional Congress in mid-November. They accepted a paper that I wrote about the need to find new, possibly non-engineering ways to approach the problem of congestion. I need to go to the Congress and present the paper.
The Congress organizers also invited me to moderate an expert panel on congestion management. In the panel I will challenge industry experts about what they are doing to find real solutions rather than just building more infrastructure that attracts more traffic.
It is going to cost me $2,000 to attend the Congress:
- Airfare $1,085
- Hotel $321
- Meals $300
- Transfers & Misc $294
This is just one step in the journey, but it is an important one, and I could really use your help. Consider pledging the cost of your bus fare, or the cost of filling up your car – really, every little helps.
As I mentioned above, the decision-makers and allocators of funds do not choose to allocate money to support the type of work I am doing.
WHY YOU SHOULD SUPPORT ME
You are either getting stuck in traffic, or you are bearing the costs of your fellow citizens and businesses getting stuck in traffic. The economic cost of congestion is high. If my work is successful, you might experience a reduction in these costs, either directly or through the productivity of your city.
We have several reasons to be optimistic that solutions can be found that will persistently reduce traffic congestion. I will post about these as updates. Have a look at the Updates Tab if you would like to learn more.
Mainly, I think you should support me because you think SOMEONE should do something about the traffic, and I am trying to do exactly that. Please click on the ‘pledge’ button now and do what you can to help.
If you support me:
I will give you early access to papers and articles that I am developing, as well as a regular update of progress as the journey progresses: the results of individual meetings, photos from meetings, early advice of any interesting developments.
There might be opportunities for you to get involved in some way, in which case I will be sure to invite you in case you are interested.
I will acknowledge your support wherever and whenever I can.
Paul Minett's involvement (page creator)
I want to be the best I can be as a leader of a movement to bring about this change.
Other page links
Brendan Halleman from IRF is negotiating with his contacts at World Bank to have a side meeting dedicated to the Road Decongestion Lab at the Transforming Transportation Conference in Washington DC on the 15/16th of January. See http://www.transformingtransportation.org. This would be a fantastic outcome of your support.
On December 11, I presented the Road Decongestion Lab to the Clean Air Society of Australia and New Zealand at their Transport Special Interest Group workshop with New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA). Possible follow-up includes presenting more broadly to NZTA folks. Thanks to my supporter Camilla Needham for suggesting this opportunity.
I am attending several meetings in January in the USA all focused on bringing more people into the discussion about reducing congestion.
I have established a website for Disappearing Traffic. See http://disappearingtraffic.com/.
Wishing all my supporters the very best for the upcoming festive season. Travel safely, as a passenger if you can. Next update in 2015.
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This page was created on 22 Oct 2014 and closed on 10 Nov 2014.