It doesn’t happen very often. Thank goodness. But there are times, very rare times, when in our work, we experience a kind of mid-life crisis, when some external event sparks the realization that we have been traveling down a decision-path for so long, we’ve lost sight of something very important – when we stop and say, how did we get here?
It happened last month -- in Weihai, China’s Shandong Province, where we are working with the municipal government on the development of the city’s first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lines.
Transport projects typically do not include the reduction of crime and violence as an objective, but it could be a collateral benefit from investments in certain equipment and services also meant to improve the operational efficiency of a transport system. One example of this is the case of CPTM, the State suburban rail system for the São Paulo Metropolitan Region which carries almost 2 million passengers per day. CPTM was created
In Chenggong, there are more than a hundred-thousand new apartments with no occupants, lush tree-lined streets with no cars, enormous office buildings with no workers, and billboards advertising cold medicine and real estate services – with no one to see them.
As my colleagues and I wandered, on–foot, down the center of Chenggong’s empty 8-lane boulevards and dedicated bus lanes, never seeing a single person, we marveled about the fiscal and political conditions that would have to exist to create something like this.
The number of motorcycles in many Latin American cities, such as São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia and Bogotá, has grown much faster than the automobile fleet in recent years. In many Asian cities, motorcycles and three-wheeled vehicles are the primary modes on urban roads.
Have you ever been to a foreign city and not been able to figure out the names of the stations or directions of that city’s metro? Did you feel completely lost and upset with whoever designed the system? Maybe as a parent you have tried taking a bus with a stroller and gave up because you were not able to take it up the steep stairs?
The book ‘Stories I Stole’ was written by the English author Wendell Steavenson, who lived in the South Caucasus’ – mainly Georgia – from 1998 to 2001. This was a turbulent time, with great hardship and limited law-and-order. It makes for a fascinating read, since so much has changed in Georgia in these ten years.
I have recently returned from CarbonExpo in Cologne, along with most of the unprecedented 70-person Bank delegation we sent this year. For the uninitiated, CarbonExpo is an annual, oh, call it a high-energy trade fair, where carbon finance project developers, financial institutions, auditors, policy makers, and international organizations meet to strike deals and innovate ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
During a recent World Bank retreat, my colleagues and I visited Baltimore, a city that has developed some interesting, low-cost, innovative strategies to improve governance and increase transparency in policymaking. These strategies could be applied in many of the developing cities where we work, and, I will admit, stumbling across this initiative was akin to finding hidden treasure.
Mega-events such as the Olympics and the World Cup can be catalysts not only for huge investments in infrastructure, but also policy changes that may induce positive behavioral changes. Transport operations and mobility are particularly important for mega-events as they involve much planning and long-lasting infrastructure. The question, however, is how to keep the long-term development vision and legacy in mind while meeting the shorter-term mo