NOTE: Transforming Transportation took place from January 26-27 at the World Bank Headquarters in Washington D.C. Apologies for such a belated post!
The last two days in Washington D.C. drew me to the Preston Auditorium at the World Bank offices in Washington D.C. In it’s fifth year running, Transforming Transportation brings together a wide spectrum of policy makers, transportation professionals, environmentalist and academics (to name a few) to discuss sustainability issues as they relate to transportation world-wide. This year focused on methods of scaling up sustainable transportation best practices in cities throughout the world. So what better way to start off things than with Jamie Lerner, the former mayor of Curitiba in Brazil. If there ever was a a city (or really, a country) that has made an example of itself through its transportation systems, it would be Brazil.
(Jamie Lerner and Manish Bapna, Acting President of the World Resources Institute)
According to Lerner, there are three things that cities can do to make fast changes to sustainability practices:
1) Teach children about sustainability. During his time as Mayor, Lerner was heavily involved in the production of “Convenient Start”, a documentary on Familia Folhas, an school outreach program that educates youth on the merits of living sustainability. The premise that the younger generations will have to teach their parents on how to live a healthier and more eco-friendly lifestyle.
2) Use your car less, live closer to work, make less waste. While much easier said than done for many cities throughout the world, this is pretty straight forward. It also gave way for this fantastic drawing of Otto:
3) Develop “Multi-Use” Cities. This was the most inspiring talking point of his talk as many cities are finding this approach a very tangible way to invigorate public spaces. Lerner empathized the need to assign different roles to a space, using an example of a multi-use market. In Brazil, some outdoor markets are hosts to several different events throughout the course of ONE day (i.e., a regular farmers market in the AM, an art and music showcase in the afternoon and a night market in the PM) as opposed to finding different venues throughout the city to have three different events.
This event also marked the 10-year anniversary of EMBARQ, the organization that graciously organizes Transforming Transportation each year. In association with the World Resources Institute (WRI), EMBARQs’ mission is to catalyze and help implement environmentally and financially sustainable transport solutions to improve quality of life in cities. In addition to this annual event, the organization publishes several reports and studies, and is also responsible for The City Fix, a celebrated blog highlighting sustainable transportation initiatives and news across the globe.
Specifically, EMBARQ released From Here to There, a comprehensive guide for the branding and marketing of public transportation. Highlighting successful examples of campaigns that increased and retained ridership as well as secured finding and political support from government officials, the report has important and relevant information for transit agencies here in the U.S. It was only fitting that the second day of the event included a panel on communications and marketing, which included a presentation from Ethan Arpi, one of the authors of the report.
(The EMBARQ team during their anniversary presentation.)
Thank you EMBARQ for ten years of inspiring and important work. See you next year!