Thursday, May 26, 2011

Free bus services in Gibraltar


Gibraltar Government yesterday announced the restructure and shortening of bus routes plus the introduction of a free bus service for all on all routes with the exception of the frontier route. In a statement to the Chronicle, Minister for Transport Joe Holliday said these measures will bring about “a significant improvement in transport infrastructure, traffic flow and parking in Gibraltar.”

Commenting on the introduction of these new routes, Mr Holliday said: “In addition to the on going construction of car parks and parking schemes, traffic management, new roads and other initiatives that are currently being implemented, these new bus routes will provide for a significant improvement in transport infrastructure, traffic flow and parking in Gibraltar.

“The introduction of free bus fares on four of the five routes, is aimed at encouraging the increase in use of public transport and therefore a decrease in the use of private motor vehicles, so as to deliver an environmental gain, as well as improved traffic circulation. The introduction of the new bus routes and free bus service on most routes will represent further significant progress of the Plan.”

A statement by the Ministry of Transport said: “The Government will be introducing a new bus service as stated in its Integrated Traffic, Parking and Transport Plan and as part of its manifesto commitments, on Saturday 28th May 2011.

“The current routes have been reviewed and new routes will be introduced that are more consistent with an efficient and modern bus service that provides for point to point transport. The new routes will have as their main terminus the Market Place bus stop.

“The new routes will be numbered from 1 to 5. In keeping with the Government’s commitment to introduce a free bus service, routes 1, 2, 3 and 4 will provide a free service for all passengers at all times. Routes 1 to 4 will cover all points in Gibraltar, except a journey to and from the frontier.

“Route 5, which will be operated jointly by the Gibraltar Bus Company Limited and Calypso Transport Limited, will be the only fare paying route. This route will operate from the Frontier via Market Place to Reclamation Road and return to the frontier via Europort Avenue, Waterport Road and Market Place

Gibraltar Chronical 26 May 2011.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Rail against the express way

The Kapiti coast, north of Wellington, is faced with one of the government's "roads of significance", due to be bulldozed through the district despite a more logical, less expensive & community-friendly alternative.
Locals want their rail services & stations upgraded.
"Save Kapiti" has called for a protest rally at Parliament, Wellington on Wednesday 6 July from midday.


• Roads of National Significance (RoNS) – roads built for trucks, not for Kiwis
• Decisions made without honest public consultation
• Built with borrowed money funded by State Assets?
• There are proven safer, more efficient solutions
• Join over 4000 petition signers for a March on Parliament
Save Kapiti
And don’t forget to ‘vote with your vote’ - Vote against the expressway at the November election.

Check out the website:

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

HEI study finds London Congestion Charging Scheme shows little evidence of improving air quality

27 April 2011

The London Congestion Charging Scheme (CCS)—which charged for travel into central London and reduced traffic volume (earlier post)—has shown little evidence that it improved air quality as well, according to Part I of a new study published by the Health Effects Institute (HEI). The study, “The Impact of the Congestion Charging Scheme on Air Quality in London”, was led by Professor Frank Kelly of King’s College London as part of HEI’s research program to measure the possible health outcomes associated with actions taken to improve air quality.

Although the London CCS was designed to improve traffic and not necessarily air quality, early projections had suggested it could also improve air quality. Kelly and his team used a multifaceted approach to explore the impact of the Congestion Charging Scheme on air quality: a variety of emissions and exposure modeling techniques, analysis of air monitoring data, and a newly developed assay for the oxidative potential of particulate matter collected on filters at urban background and roadside monitors. Part I of the report deals with emissions modelling and analysis; Part II, to be released next month, analyzes the oxidative potential of PM.

The CCS offered an unusual opportunity to investigate the potential impact on air quality of a discrete and well-defined intervention to reduce traffic congestion in the middle of a major city. The CCS was implemented in London in February 2003 with the primary aim of reducing traffic congestion by charging vehicles to enter the central part of London, defined as the congestion charging zone (CCZ).

In an earlier study based on data from the first year of the scheme, members of the investigative team had reported early findings of modest reductions in the number of vehicles entering the zone and had projected declines of about 12% in emissions of both PM10 (particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of ≤10 µm) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) within the CCZ.

—Kelly et al.

The investigators did not find consistent evidence of improved air quality resulting from the CCS. In part it is difficult to identify significant air quality improvements from a specific program—especially one targeted at a small area within a large city—against the backdrop of broader regional pollutant and weather changes.

Within the CCZ, the investigators projected a net decline of 1.7 ppb in the annual average mean NOx concentration and a decline of 0.8 µg/m3 in PM10. The modeling also suggested that a major proportion of PM10 might be accounted for by regional background levels, but that contributions from tire and brake wear might also be important. NO2 was projected to increase slightly, by 0.3 ppb on average; the investigators attributed this increase to higher NO2 emissions associated with the introduction of particle traps on diesel buses as part of Transport for London’s improvements in the public transport system.

From their comparison of actual air pollutant measurements within the CCZ with those at control sites in Outer London, the investigators reported little evidence of CCS-related changes in pollutant levels at roadside monitoring sites, where their modeling had suggested the most pronounced effects would be seen.

—Kelly et al.

Also, some behavioral adjustments among the population, e.g. increased diesel-powered taxi and bus trips to transport people into the zone, may have offset any benefits. Finally, other changes occurring at the same time (e.g. the introduction of more filter-equipped diesel buses in response to a separate rule) likely also affected air quality and obscured effects of the CCS.

The Congestion Charging Scheme was one of the first to be implemented in a major city in Europe or the US—and did show measurable reductions in traffic volume—but air pollution does not know precise boundaries so any benefit of the CCS or air quality appears to have been lost in the larger regional pollution mix.

—Dan Greenbaum, HEI’s President

Overall, HEI’s Review Committee concluded that Kelly and colleagues’ investigation represents a creative effort to explore a subtle change in air quality associated with a complex intervention to reduce traffic congestion. Although they were unable to demonstrate a clear effect of the CCS either on individual air pollutant levels or on oxidative potential of particulate matter, their study offers lessons for future studies of interventions that are expected to influence air quality.

The London Congestion Charging Scheme was a world leading traffic intervention aimed at controlling excessive vehicle flows in central London. The findings reported in this HEI study will hopefully be of use to other administrations considering introducing traffic management schemes so that they can achieve vehicle reductions as well as improving air quality at the same time.

—Professor Frank Kelly

In addition to the Investigators’ Report by Kelly et al., Research Report 155 includes a Commentary by HEI’s Health Review Committee, which summarizes its independent review of the study and an HEI Statement that provides a nontechnical summary of the study and the committee’s comments.

The Health Effects Institute is an independent, non-profit research institute funded jointly by government and industry to provide credible, high-quality science on air pollution and health for air quality decisions. Typically, HEI receives half of its core funds from the US Environmental Protection Agency and half from the worldwide motor vehicle industry. Other public and private organizations periodically support special projects or certain research programs.

HEI has funded more than 280 research projects in North America, Europe, Asia, and Latin America, the results of which have informed decisions regarding carbon monoxide, air toxics, nitrogen oxides, diesel exhaust, ozone, particulate matter, and other pollutants. These results have appeared in the peer-reviewed literature and in more than 200 comprehensive reports published by HEI.


Frank Kelly, H. Ross Anderson, Ben Armstrong, Richard Atkinson, Ben Barratt, Sean Beevers, Dick Derwent, David Green, Ian Mudway, and Paul Wilkinson. The Impact of the Congestion Charging Scheme on Air Quality in London. HEI Report # 155

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Alright punitive measures don't work ... hey! - so how can we make car & oil dependency history & create healthy cities? ....what about fare free public transport! ....make it so attractive that no sane person would even consider driving around by car unless it was absolutety essential.... mmmm; yeah, but how would those poor oil companies survive?

FareFreeNZ editor

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Capitalism's war on the Earth

The ecology of consumption -- excerpt from John Bellamy Foster, Brett Clark and Richard York's `The Ecological Rift'

October 20, 2010 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, with the permission of Monthly Review Press, is excited to offer its readers an excerpt from the The Ecological Rift: Capitalism’s War on the Earth, an important new book by John Bellamy Foster, Brett Clark and Richard York. Links' readers are urged to purchase the book. Please click here to order your copy. You can download (in PDF) the chapter, "The ecology of consumption", below the following introduction, or read it on screen.

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Humanity in the 21st century is facing what might be described as its ultimate environmental catastrophe: the destruction of the climate that has nurtured human civilization and with it the basis of life on earth as we know it. All ecosystems on the planet are now in decline. Enormous rifts have been driven through the delicate fabric of the biosphere. The economy and the Earth are headed for a fateful collision—if we don’t alter course.

In The Ecological Rift: Capitalism’s War on the Earth, environmental sociologists John Bellamy Foster, Brett Clark and Richard York offer a radical assessment of both the problem and the solution. They argue that the source of our ecological crisis lies in the paradox of wealth in capitalist society, which expands individual riches at the expense of public wealth, including the wealth of nature. In the process, a huge ecological rift is driven between human beings and nature, undermining the conditions of sustainable existence: a rift in the metabolic relation between humanity and nature that is irreparable within capitalist society, since integral to its very laws of motion.

Critically examining the sanguine arguments of mainstream economists and technologists, Foster, Clark and York insist instead that fundamental changes in social relations must occur if the ecological (and social) problems presently facing us are to be transcended. Their analysis relies on the development of a deep dialectical naturalism concerned with issues of ecology and evolution and their interaction with the economy. Importantly, they offer reasons for revolutionary hope in moving beyond the regime of capital and toward a society of sustainable human development.

John Bellamy Foster is editor of the US-based Marxist journal, Monthly Review. He is professor of sociology at the University of Oregon and author of The Ecological Revolution, The Great Financial Crisis (with Fred Magdoff), Critique of Intelligent Design (with Brett Clark and Richard York), Ecology Against Capitalism, Marx’s Ecology, and The Vulnerable Planet.

Brett Clark is assistant professor of sociology at North Carolina State University. He is coauthor (with John Bellamy Foster and Richard York) of Critique of Intelligent Design.

Richard York is associate professor of sociology at the University of Oregon. He is co-editor of the journal Organization & Environment and coauthor (with John Bellamy Foster and Brett Clark) of Critique of Intelligent Design.

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Click HERE to download (PDF) "The ecology of consumption" or read it on screen below.

"The ecology of consumption", by John Bellamy Foster, Brett Clark and Richard York