Cities that have taken action
The German city of Frieburg shows how it can be done. A comprehensive network of cycle routes, expansion of the tram system, extensive pedestrianisation and traffic restraint measures have reduced car traffic whilst hugely increasing use of ‘green’ transport modes. Now cars are used for just 21% of all journeys – compared to some UK examples of Swindon (75%) Milton Keynes (63%) and Leeds (56%). More on Freiburg.
Other cities have taken decisive action for the benefit of their citizens and the environment. Oslo in Norway plans to have a car–free city centre by 2019 and is taking steps to boost cycling by replacing car-parking space with cycle lanes. More about Oslo’s story.
Copenhagen, Denmark, achieved its impressive transformation to 52% of commuter journeys by bicycle with a systematic plan and decisive policies over several years. Each year a small percentage of car parking spaces were removed from the city centre. At the same time streets were progressively pedestrianised and a network of cycle lanes was put in place. More on Copenhagen’s cycling success.
Stockholm in Sweden has introduced a congestion charge that has reduced ambient air pollution, cut child asthma attacks, reduced congestion and has majority public support !
These positive examples of more liveable towns and cities weren’t achieved by chance. They happened because decision makers had a bold, positive vision and had the political courage to overcome the resulting challenges to achieve it.
If the domination of the motor vehicle can be successfully challenged in these places, then together we can challenge it here in the UK – there have been examples of bold action in the UK, including the introduction of the London Congestion Charge, but more needs to be done now.