London Summit Offers Cutting-Edge Ideas on Transportation

Read the latest reports from the summit as it happens

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Heather Smith in the transportation area of the CNU Online Salons.

CNU invites you to London for the CNU Transportation Summit taking place November 12-14th. As the site of CNU’s first overseas summit, London serves as one of the world’s foremost leaders in transportation initiative and design. Come hear speakers like Hans Monderman and Ben Hamilton-Baillie address the concept of shared space. The strategy restores balance to the relationship between drivers and other users of the public space of the roadway not through typical methods such as signs, signals and lane markings, but through their absence. Where typical road engineering separates autos, pedesrians and other users -- giving drivers a mechanistic sense of owning the road and a reluctance to yield it to others -- the reforms of Monderman and Hamilton-Baillie create more ambigous shared spaces where more refined systems of user moderation and socialization take over. It has transformed urban space in the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, and England. On the loss of right-of-way,
Hans Monderman proclaims that "people have to find their own way, negotiate for themselves, use their own brains."

A thriving example of shared space is Seven Dials in the Covent Gardens area of London (shown at right). It's just one sign that London is a hub of innovative transportation reform and an ideal place to observe these strategiees in action, explore their promise and address the challenges associated with them. Time is still available for you to register and make travel arrangements; early registration will end on October 15th.

Partnering with the Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment, this year’s summit will offer new and exciting approaches to transportation design and reform. Presenters include Daniel Moylan, Deputy Council Leader for the London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, urban design expert Ben Hamilton-Baillie, and shared space creator Hans Monderman. With traffic lights, signage, and crosswalks removed, users traverse road spaces through body language, hand signals, and other forms of visual communication. Though seemingly unconventional, the inability to distinguish a right-of-way increases the visual and spatial awareness of drivers. As a result, research and experience reveal that shared space areas tend to be much safer for pedestrians, while also allowing a reasonably free flow of automobile traffic.

The summit's title is “The Convenient Remedy: Transport & The Carbon Challenge.” How can urbanism help reduce CO2 emissions? Is urbanism the “convenient remedy” to Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth’? What are transport planners responsibilities to the carbon challenge, and how can emission reduction be achieved? How can we use transportation as an opportunity to create and design urban places we want? Top transportation planners and engineers will tackle these questions to find a “convenient remedy.” Norman Garrick, professor of transportation engineering at University of Connecticut, will introduce LEED for Neighborhood Developments (LEED-ND) and discuss the significance of green building in our current social and environmental climate. Hank Dittmar, CNU Board Chair and CEO of the Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment, addresses the initiation of a carbon tax to fund transit and the effect of Vehicle Miles Traveled per person in urban areas. Examining the relationship between density, transit, and affordable housing will be Shelley Poticha, the Executive Director for Reconnecting America and Jacky Grimshaw of Chicago’s Center for Neighborhood Technology. Prepare yourself for a historic international event.

Photo courtesy of Ben Hamilton-Baillie