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W H AT A R E T H E C H A L L E N G E S T O C R E AT I N G S U S TA I N A B L E T R A N S P O RTAT I O N ? 47 TAMING THE COMPLEXITY OF SUSTAINABILITY: but I still think it might facilitate dialogue in a number SETTING PRIORITIES of ways. One way of using a matrix like this would be to Societies do not do well with complexity, nor in all like- assign priority weights to a particular intersection of lihood do workshop conferences like this one. We need actors and elements. For example, one of us might think to find a way of reducing our discussion to manageable that the depletion of energy reserves is extremely impor- components, just as we need to find ways of enacting tant and that it should fall to the national government policies through manageable steps and workable com- to play a large role, so a high score might be placed in ponents. We need to acknowledge complex relation- the box where the national government row intersects ships among the elements while focusing on them one at the energy reserves column. Similarly, one might think a time. We only seem to be able to enact laws and regu- that traffic congestion is an important public policy lations, to take actions, and to set priorities one bite at problem but that it is not really important to global sus- a time. Even if we limit our discussion to the United tainability and is primarily a problem that should be States, which is in itself an enormous oversimplification addressed by local and regional governments. This of what needs to be done, we will not be able to address might be reflected by a moderate score in the box simultaneously all the dimensions of sustainability dis- formed by the intersection of the traffic congestion col- cussed so far at this meeting. We certainly will not be umn and the local government row, while zeros are able to do so at all levels of government and within the entered in some of the cells elsewhere in that column. private corporate sector and at the household level. Yet Another way in which a matrix could help us orga- eventually sustainable transportation will require nize our thoughts would be to fill into each box a few responses on all those dimensions and from all those actions or strategies that might be most effective if taken actors. by a particular actor (row) with respect to a sustainabil- I propose that our workshop discussions consider ity element (column). For example, we might think that priorities for the coming decade while acknowledging pricing would be an appropriate strategy by which state that priorities will certainly change over time. We governments (row) could address congestion (column), should consider how the various actors might con- while we might think that traffic safety (column) might tribute to sustainability most productively over that best be addressed at the national level (row) through period. I have tried to illustrate the nature of the com- regulation of vehicles. plexity we are facing in Figure 1, which presents the two I offer this suggestion as a way of grabbing hold of a dimensions of sustainability that I just mentioned. I rec- monster while recognizing that the issue remains enor- ognize, of course, that the figure is a gross oversimplifi- mously complex and that the elements of the matrix are cation of anything that might happen in the real world, indeed highly interrelated. s se s Ga ce r ou se ion es rm ou t yR llu nh Fo Po ee rg n ba Gr e ir En A n Ur tio of al s ty of te & on llu ion ion fe as e ion Sa Po sti Us nt at W ge let ve er ffic er e d d ois en ep on on at an oli ra *W *G *D *C *C *N *S *T *L * Individuals * Families * Organizations (companies & institutions) * Governments Local Regional State National FIGURE 1 Complexity of sustainable transportation.