How Are These Famous Cities Fighting Cars?
Since transportation is known for being the fastest-growing contributor to green house gases, cities around the world are implementing various ways that encourage individuals to ditch their car and become more eco-friendly. In this article we examine the proposals that cities have made to reduce pollution.
Known for being one of the most forward thinking cities, Oslo has been progressively changing its streets since the early 2000's. They have currently introduced charges towards rush hour traffic and congestion fees, limited the availability of parking spaces , and will be banning all private vehicles by 2019.
In an attempt to get cars of the streets, the city of Bogata hosts Ciclovia - a weekly event where over 75 miles of urban roads are closed to vehicles to make way for pedestrian zones.
While Bogata hosts a weekly car shut out, Paris participates in a similar event once a month when it closes access to the Champs-Elysees. Additionally, they have banned vehicles registered before 1997 from entering the city on weekdays. They plan to fully ban diesel vehicles by 2025.
Similar to other cities that are putting a ban on diesel cars, England aims to not only ban diesel cars by 2020 but also give owners a daily charge (called the T-Charge) to drive within central London. They also plan to expand and improve bike infrastructure by 2026.
While most cities have been focusing on banning diesel, Madrid aims to remove personal cars from 500 acres of its city by 2020. Instead of roads with cars, there will be more pedestrian friendly roads that will allow limited access to buses and taxis.
Wanting to improve the city's air quality, Athens proposes also banning diesel cars from the city center by 2025. They will also begin limiting access from the city center based on license plate numbers.
Since the year 2000, Tokyo has banned diesel vehicles from entering the city unless they had installed exhaust-fume purifiers.
Since the city of Milan experienced a period of more than 60 days where the limit for fine particles was exceeded, they had to take action against cars. Their temporary fix was to ban all cars when smog levels built up. Their current initiative is offering public-transit vouchers as incentives to individuals who choose to leave their vehicles at home.
In addition to their car-free Sundays, expanding pedestrian zones and replacing cars and motorbikes with picnic tables and strolling shoppers are just two of the initiatives Brussels is promoting for a more eco-friendly environment.
By 2035, Hamburg aims to have a 'green network' which will cover 40% of its urban area and will include more parks, playgrounds, and sports fields.
Already known for being one of the most bike-friendly places to live in the world, Copenhagen has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2025. To reach this goal, the city is developing a 500km bicycle network called a superhighway that will connect to the surrounding suburbs.
Mexico City, Mexico
Heavy smog in Mexico City has caused them to restrict road use by license plate numbers. They have already seen approximately 2 million cars taking off the streets daily because of their system.
Seoul, South Korea
In an effort to reduce pollution and smog, vehicles that cannot meet emissions standards will be banned from Seoul this year and from surrounding areas by 2020.
Wanting the city to become more walkable, Helsinki aims to launch an application called "mobility on demand" which will connect the user with a variety of services such as taxis, buses, bikes, ferries, and others looking to carpool.
Times Square, New York
In an attempt to promote more walkability in the city, New York has recently renovated a part of Times Square to a pedestrian plaza. So crowds can now wander through 110,000 sq ft which is believed to relieve the area of congestion and improve safety.
In an attempt to reduce emissions, Berlin implemented a low emission zone that bans diesel vehicles and petrol cars that cannot meet emission standards. The zone covers 88 sq km of the inner city and approximately one-third of Berlin's inhabitants. In addition to the zoning, Berlin plans to focus on creating cycling and pedestrian zones by installing a dozen new bike superhighways that are intended for exclusive use by cars and pedestrians.