Thursday, October 30, 2014

On public leaders using public transport

The shape of a city depends on how it is planned. And how a city is planned depends on the transport assumptions of the planner. In many cities of the developing world, planners tend to assume that people will travel on private vehicles, be it cars or motorbikes. This paradigm inherently leads to sprawling, unwalkable, and inefficient cities.

Compare this to the assumptions of Sir Edward Lister, Deputy Mayor of London. At a public talk on 30 October, 2014, in Singapore, he said something like this:
"I don't drive a car to work, I take the public transport, just like most other Londoners. I don't even think about it (driving a car into the city). The public transport is the fastest and most convenient way to get around. I have a car parked in my home, which I keep just for the fun of it. It's a type of car that I'm trying to ban, because it has a big engine. But it doesn't really matter. I can't  really use it to go anywhere."
Good for you, London. They say that a developed city is one where the rich take public transport. As for cities in the developing world, how can we hope to have a good public transportation system if our public leaders don't even think about using it to work?

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