Monthly Archives: March 2007

Bold CSR


Either the ad men have got hold of the Marks & Spencer CSR account or someone is doing something different on the high street:

Climate Change – We want to become carbon neutral and help customers, and our suppliers, cut carbon emissions too.

Pretty impressive targets, £200m budget, reducing food miles might be difficult for a store that has prided itself on the exotic fruits of air freight in the past – we shall see.

Eco warriors? Treehuggers?


The guy on the right? sure, but what about Alex?

The Guardian’s coverage of Al Gore’s latest visit  mission to the UK tells us that Sir Alex Ferguson has committed to spreading the climate change message. The delegates to the conference were given the Inconvenient Truth slide show and told to come back in 12 months with stories of their success (“sorry, need to secure the Treble first, Al…”) .

Having studied the 70,000 fans leaving Old Trafford on a Saturday afternoon I agree that a lecture from the top man should help when MUFC “think globally and act locally”. I am not usually a fan of celebrity endorsement in environmental debates (Think of the Hollywood Prius fan club), but a man known for his no nonsence approach could be pretty effective.

Private parking (again)


Another website offering private parking spaces , called The key difference from the site I posted about before, Parkatmyhouse, is the use of google maps – hardly a mashup but makes it user friendly. Also if you don’t like the price you can click on the negotiate button – to establish the true economic value of parking spaces (hmm, a possible resource for transport planners). 

Not many spaces offered yet, this is either a dotboom fad or just possibly a niche business – big companies will soon exploit it if critical mass is reached (, anyone?).

London rail growth

An interesting technical paper from David Levinson on whether population density affects the growth of the network (it isnt the only factor, you will not be surprised to hear), but the best bit is the growth movie – 40mb so make sure you have the bandwidth!

Economists and buses


Stephen Dubner, of “Freakonomics” fame comments yesterday on bus stop behaviour in New York. Gaming the bus system must come more naturally to UK passengers, especially in London, where I will often go “upstream” to ensure I get on the bus and get a seat. Any other user tricks of trade please post to the comments section… 

Shift Happens

yes I know, another youtube video, but thats what weekends are for 🙂



Just read for the first time the Wired 2004 article on the “less is more” approach to traffic management, as interpreted for the US audience. The Dutch, as always, credited with innovation in this area.

Like a lot of transport people I went to look at the Kensington High Street scheme (above) when the Borough dramatically changed the streetscape and also removed a significant % of the street furniture. Not being an engineer I liked what I saw of the £5m project but could see how it would upset the highway standards based approach.  A recent LTT article reminded me to go back and see what it is like now, after a few years to bed in.  

Pedestrian behaviour was interesting, with people who I presumed to be visitors still not certain where their territory starts and the car rules. (I would have though the Italian tourists would have felt at home, having sampled their “freeform” approach to traffic management.)

Since 2003 a number of other UK cities have looked at similar treatments, although it has to be recognised it isn’t going to be deliverable everywhere. CABE and Transport  2000 are promoting such schemes to “reclaim main roads from traffic”, but plenty of engineers rightly question the safety impacts of removing all guardrails, for example. Others where I work can say whether or not I am taking a too simplistic view.