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The Era of Not Driving

Cities are in transformation. Now, major European cities are cutting down spaces for cars and working on making rooms for people. [1]

Cities are now inclined to downplay the major role that cars have been playing in urban planning; instead, they are thinking to embrace cleaner and healthier urban travel by building cycle lanes and footpaths. Below are examples from three European cities.  

Lisbon is cutting down the space available for cars to 42 percent from today’s 70 percent. To achieve this ambitious plan, Lisbon has also been offering municipal and metropolitan public transport subscription services and recruiting employers to sign up for the authority’s Corporate Mobility Pact to build a ground for employees to test new behaviors and ways of transport.

London, on its way to reconciling a timeworn and complex transport system to meet the fast-growing demand, has also made a commitment to increase cycling and walking significantly. London relies on mass public transport and complements citizens with good possibilities for cycling and walking. Transport for London (TfL) has less faith in solutions brought by mobility start-ups due to the lack of sustainable business models. Besides personal mobility, TfL also has a specific focus on freight transport solutions for last-mile issues. For example, by transforming obsolete parking spaces to charging hubs or using them for freight consolidation.  

Amsterdam is now working on moving all fleets to be zero-emission vehicles to tackle the 40 percent forecasted growth in traffic by 2040. Only electric or fuel-cell busses will be allowed in the city center by 2022. The Dutch measures also include giving incentives to businesses using electric vehicles by allowing more loading and unloading locations for goods that are transported fossil-fuel free. Besides this, there are also plans to expand logistics hubs, that lie on the edge of the city, to allow more goods to be handled and transferred to smaller electric vehicles before entering the city. 

 

Personal Comments

More cities start to rethink how a city should be designed for people, not for cars. Since cities are built to last for hundreds of years, we stand now at the very start of the era of not driving. However, in this period of transition, how to compromise and content different mobility needs from urban areas, suburban areas and different types of countryside areas is essential, and unfortunately, extremely difficult. Good practices from different cities with a clear description of area profiles can potentially inspire cities to go towards the same direction, or even help cities that are stuck in similar situations to find the exit from the maze. Sharing experiences is an enabler to support the transition towards car-free cities.

 

Written by Anne Faxér, RISE.

 

Sources

1. 2020-02-26. Major European cities to make life difficult for fleets.