mobility & design

A smooth journey

Two images have preoccupied me in recent days. The first one [below] was taken in a lounge at Paris airport. I remember being struck by the intense design effort that had been made to create a controlled and insulated environment. On the tv screen were images of the popular revolt that is unfolding, bloodily, in […]

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If it’s not the destination, and it’s not the journey…

A study by Transportation Alternatives found that up to 45 percent of traffic in an area of Brooklyn was caused by cars circling the streets looking for parking. And in 2006, UCLA professor of urban planning Donald Shoup calculated that, within a year, vehicles searching for parking in a small business district in LA consumed […]

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Is an environmentally neutral car possible?

The future of the car has been electric for what? Five years now? ten? The answer is 110 years, for it was back in 1899 that La Jamais Contente (“The Never Satisfied”) became the first vehicle to go over 100 km/h (62 mph) at Achères, near Paris. Since then, as we produced hundreds of millions […]

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Leave nothing but footsteps

Three years ago German photographer Thomas Kalak published a book called Thailand – Same same, but different!. Featuring all manner of bamboo scaffolding, knotted aerial lines, hand painted signs, or converted plastic bags, the book celebrated the Thais’ exceptionally gifted art of improvisation. The strange objects and arrangements reminded Kalak of art world “ready-mades” from […]

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A Tale of Two Trains

Oslo Airport’s mean-looking bullet train reaches the city centre in nineteen minutes. At 210 kph [130 mph] it is not the world’s fastest – some of China’a new trains will soon reach nearly twice that speed – but Norway’s is surely the most macho to look at. Traveling on Oslo’s mean-looking machine for nineteen minutes […]

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Heathrow chaos: time to start digging?

(Summer re-run: first published 31 March 2008) The chaos at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 is an excellent example of what happens when the logic of finance interacts with the logic of large complex systems. As Will Hutton wrote at the weekend, shareholders in British Airways (its sole tenant) and BAA (which runs the airport) demand perpetually […]

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Dawn of the new age of coach travel?

If Katla (above: she’s Eyjafjallajökull’s much bigger sister) blows, and grounds flights forever, will this finally be Dr Storkey’s moment? The blogwaves are already filled with links to Seat 61. But as I’ve Cassandra’d here repeatedly (yes, I’ve made it into a verb) train travel is not all that light once total system costs are […]

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How to be global, and great, without traveling

While I’m away, would you help me promote these new editions of my book? In The Bubble has now been translated into French, Italian and Portuguese – and I’d appreciate your support in three ways: a) buy-and-send copies for all your French, Italian and Portuguese-speaking friends around the world; b) tell everyone you know, who […]

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Now just add one more column…

They’ve installed this impressive new departures board at Paris CDG airport. It lists a good number of the more than one thousand departures from there each day. Now, what it needs next is a right hand column that shows, for every flight, the forcings per passenger of climate through CO2, NOx, and contrail formation. With […]

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