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New findings on social and physical mobility bring transport into the spotlight again

Julie Babinard's picture

For those of us anxiously awaiting the new edition of the World Bank’s leading publication, the World Development Report (WDR) each year, this year’s edition does not disappoint.  Credit should be given to the team of the ‘WDR2012: Gender Equality and Development’ team for successfully moving their analysis from skepticism to the elaboration of a sensible analytical framework focused on aspects of gender equa

Is the bicycle one of our best and oldest transport innovations yet?

Julie Babinard's picture

I was recently invited to a panel discussion to comment on the movie ‘With My Own Two Wheels’  (http://www.withmyowntwowheels.org) which illustrates how bicycles can serve as a missing link to development.  It follows the transformation taking place in the lives of 5 individuals.

How to address the climate change challenge in transport projects?

Charles E. Schlumberger's picture

One example discussed in a recent event held at World Bank offices in Washington DC concerned an innovative technology solution in the aviation sector, which could reduce global CO2 emissions by 14 million tons!

Today! United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 kicks off

Anna Barbone's picture

Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 Saving Lives Through Safer Roads (World Bank story) U.N. Decade of Action on Road Safety aims to save five million lives, prevent 50 million road injuries.

Let’s make transport the solution!

Virginia Tanase's picture

This seems to be a good time to stop blaming transport for all the World’s snags and start looking for simple ways of maximizing the benefits of this tool. Yes, you read it right: transport is a tool, for itself it does not create but adds value to goods and services moved where they are needed.

A road crash changed my life. Join me now to save lives...

Casey Marenge's picture

On the 26th of September 2003 my best friend Jonathan was killed in a car crash in Nairobi, Kenya in East Africa. Jonathan was only 19 years old and had just joined University three weeks prior to the road crash to pursue a degree in information technology. A speeding drunk driver rammed into the vehicle Jonathan was in; causing the car to spin out of control severally. Jonathan along with another friend, were killed on the spot.

50 Years of Innovation in Transport

Anna Barbone's picture

The World Bank's 2011 Transport Forum was held from March 28th to 31st, 2011.  It  focused on 50 Years of Innovation in Transport - Achievements and Future Challenges.

Here is what some World Bank Transport Staff think about transport innovations and the World Bank's contribution so far and its future role. 

How to mainstream gender in transport? It should not be complicated for transport engineers

Julie Babinard's picture

The ambiguities surrounding the interpretation of the word gender and what it means to ‘mainstream gender’ in relation to transport could prove to be a significant obstacle to those who plan and provide transport infrastructure and services, especially in developing economies.

The necessity to ensure gender equality as a primary goal in all area(s) of social and economic development was highlighted at the United Nations Fourth World Conference held in Beijing, China in 1995 and the concept of gender mainstreaming was defined by the 1997 United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) as 'a strategy for making women's as well as men’s concerns and experiences an integral dimension of […] the policies and programs in all political, economic and societal spheres so that women and men benefit equally and inequality is not perpetuated'.

The transport sector at the World Bank has been a leader in gender mainstreaming. The transport sector, as is the case in many other aspects of cross-sectoral interventions, has been leading the way in its response to the mainstreaming effort. Significant research has been undertaken along with the delivery of successful operations to address the specific needs and constraints of men and women in transportation.

The 10-Cent GPS

Holly Krambeck's picture

We know that technology is not a panacea, that gadgetry and software are not always the right solutions for our transport problems. But how do we know – really know -- when technology is truly the wrong way to go – when, say, using an old-fashioned compass is genuinely better than a GPS?

Thanks to blogger Sebastiao Ferreira, writing for MIT’s CoLab Radio, I have learned about an intriguing phenomenon in Lima, where entrepreneur data collectors, named dateros, stand with clipboards along frequented informal microbus routes, collecting data on headways, passenger counts, and vehicle occupancy levels. The microbus drivers pay dateros about 10-cents per instant update, and they use the information to adjust their driving speed.  For example, if there is a full bus only a minute ahead of the driver’s vehicle, the driver will slow down, hoping to collect more passengers further down the route. In informal transit systems, where drivers’ incomes are directly tied to passenger counts, paying dateros is a good investment (Photo from MIT CoLab Radio).

If you think about it, use of dateros could be more efficient than traditional schedule or GPS-based dispatch, because the headways are dynamically and continuously updated to optimize the number of passengers transported at any given time of day.  According to Jeff Warren (a DIY cartography pioneer), the dateros have been praised as the “natural database, an ‘informal bank’ of transportation optimization data.”

Does this little-known practice call into question our traditional prescription for high-tech solutions to bus dispatch?

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