Thinking Exercises

  • Jump Start
  • Measures, Actions
  • Idea Factory
  • Thinking exercises
  • Jump Start
  • Man on the Street
  • Contested Streets
  • Pattern breaks needed
  • Clues
  • Our Idea Factory
  • ThinkPad
  • Video Libraries
  • Watching world traffic
  • Wikipedia explores . . .

  • "The significant problems we face cannot be solved by the
    same level of thinking that created them."
    -- Albert Einstein

    24 August 2006: This page still in process. Have suggestions? Please let us have them.

    In this section of the introduction to the Briefs, we have assembled a certain number of materials which have as their goal bascially to challenge the entrenched thinking in our field which has in city after city shown that it cannot deal with the fundamential problems invovled. And because your time is as ever short, we have tried to make this time-efficient, interesting and fun.

    Why the thinking in this sector needs to be front-loaded

    As you will certainly understand there is a great deal of professional competence and technical virtuosity that is going to be needed if we are to make the New Mobility Agenda work in any city. But behind it all this sheer technical competence is a critical first step: that of stepping back, looking hard and with fresh eyes, and through this process creating a new vision, a new understanding, a new mental architecture of what mobility in cities is all about.

    The truth is that the most important shaping decision in public policy and indeed other complex system decisions tend to be taken at the front end of the process - but as it happens in all too many cases that is exactly where those involved tend to rush to a first level of decisions which very quickly narrow the field both in terms of their understanding of what the basic issues and priorities are, and the different ways in which they can be addressed. They seem all to ready to tick off the solutions before they have fully come to understand what the problems and basic priorities are or should be. This is properly known as the "Ready, Fire, Aim" syndrome.

    And in all this the first steps are invariably among the most important - and sorting them out requires thinking. Painful and time consuming though this may be. And as a base for this thinking what must be developed in a wide outreach effort, a full panoply of information and leads as to both what the underlying problems are, and what in turn are the full range of measures and solutions needed and available for dealing with them.

    And why in matters of transport and related policies is the initial thinking process all too often truncated. Well, we guess that it's because it's such hard work.

    1. Jump Start

    A first selection of some media tools (video clips, audio, other) that are intended to help open up your thinking on all this. As you will see they are intended both to characterize some of the extremes of old mobility thinking, as well as open up your mind to this new generation of policies and measures.

    Back to top

    2. Action Measures

    Food for thought. More than one hundred measures, policies and tools which constitute (maybe!) building blocks of a New Mobility System - many of which one-click to various references, starting points, and background materials (of great diversity) to help orient you on those items perhaps not immediately familiar to you.

    Back to top

    3. New Mobility ThinkPad

    A collection of more than one hundred essays and extracts from international sources which look at problems and solutions from a wide range of perspectives. Here are a first selection of five challenging entries that you can click to directly from here. To access the full ThinkPad, click here.

    1. Is anybody willing to do something about climate change?
    2. Transport in cities: Why are we so desperately off target and doing so poorly in the States? (And everywhere else in the world where our examples and perspectives spill over)
    3. Kyoto promises are nothing but hot air
    4. Vision ZeroPlan in Sweden
    5. Road design? He calls it a revolution

    Back to top

    4. Idea Factory

    This is more work, but if you are looking for expert discussions on a specific issue or problem, it can be useful to spend a few minutes with the good Search function. Here are a couple of examples to give you a feeling for how you can put this useful tool to work:

    More New Mobility Idea Factories

    Back to top

    5. New (and Old) Mobility Video Libraries

    We have started to organize a certain number of video libraries as part of the challenge to old thinking and all the problems that go with it. What is most interesting about them is that for the most part they represent entirely independent "citizens' eyes views" in each case. For now they are organized in four groups, to which you can click directly from here. You will find that each explains itself pretty well in their respective home pages.

    What you have here is for now the first stages of what we call a thinking exercise. The idea is to play with the site a bit and see if in good order we can create a useful shared video library offering independent evidence in support of the New Mobility Agenda at and its associated collaborative programs. My thought was ... (more)

    This is intended to work as a supporting subset of the New Mobility Agenda video library site here and the full NMA program at (If you are not sure as to what “old mobility” means in this context, we can refer you to from the New Mobility Advisory/Briefs program ... (more)

    This “Global South Mobility” section of the New Mobility Agenda video collection provides a collection of private views of both the problems (most of which based on the results of the imported car-based, “old mobility” model from the North) and the Global South’s search for new and often original and surprising solutions. And as with the ... (more)

    Independent video records of situations, actions, anomalies, and events taking place on the street in cities around the world. Please understand that this is not (exactly) an anti-car forum. But the shared goal behind all this: lots less cars in our cities, and cities that are healthier, safer and better places to live, work and for our children gr ... (more)

    This dedicated library is a working sub-set of the New Mobility Agenda Video Library -- and in turn of the New Mobility Agenda and the World Carshare Consortium at We have to figure out best way to stock and link for efficiency, transparency, and easy use. For now this is begin organ ... (more)

    Transportation politics, planning and decision making. Live example of how things come about in democratic societies. Focus on cities, the local levels of government. and the representations of public sector agencies. Citizen and local interest groups participation. (Eventually leading us perhaps to some ideas as to how one might eventually influe ... (more)

    Back to top

    6. Ponder World City Traffic -- On-Line
    It has long been our contention that one of the critical things holding us back from creating better, fairer and more sustainable transportation systems relates to our collective inability to imagine the cities that we would like to live in. It is, in fact, a double bind. We are, to try a phrase, literally blinded by the present as we look to the future.

    To this end one of the main themes behind the New Mobility approach is that we need to learn to look more clearly at what we have, to see it for what it is, and then to see if we can move beyond that to something that is better and more sustainable. The several hundred views of traffic around the world that you have here provides food for thought. Here you will find a selection of real time views of traffic on city streets which provide some pretty interesting one-click coverage of how things look today in a huge variety of settings around the world.

    Back to top

    7. Wikipedia - Work in progress

    We have two new concepts in a fast changing and increasingly networked world: the New Mobility Agenda and something called the Wikipedia. The two are intercepting in some interesting ways.

    The Wikipedia is a free-content, collaborative, internet-based encyclopedia, made up of individual (but interconnected) entries. Anyone can create an entry, and anyone else can come along and edit existing entries. The intent is to tap the power of the general internet community's knowledge and the desire to share that knowledge, to build a free, high-quality, comprehensive online encyclopedia.

    We have been working over the last year along with a number of people including colleagues world wide on the Wikipedia in order to make it into a strong first-stop reference sources for entries on all key aspects of sustainable transportation and the New Mobility Agenda. This has not been an easy task and is still very much in progress, but as you will see it is already turning into a useful reference point for many of the concepts that are key to our shared interests here.

    Please note that the Wikipedia entries take over the full page rather than popping up in their own window. This is a bit irritating but workable (especially once you know. ;-)

        Home About Events Message Center  New Mobility Cafe   Contact

    Le Frene, 8/10 rue Joseph Bara 75006 Paris, France, Europe. T: +331 4326 1323
    Copyright © 1994-2007 The Commons ® All rights reserved.
    Last updated on 22 July 2007