Car free cities in the world
While many companies are trying to replace fuel conventional cars with new electric cars, some cities decided to get rid of cars altogether and have a car free city! Too many cars have caused many problems in cities and that’s on us! The air and noise pollution are only part of the problem. With all those heavy traffics in downtown and spending lots of money on building new bridges and tunnels every year, finally, some concluded that using cars doesn’t worth it anymore.
Some cities around the world have banned cars! But many still figuring out ways to handle it. But everyone agrees about one thing: nobody wants any more cars in their city!
Capital cities are kind of a role model for other cities. That’s why looking for capital cities with the fewest number of cars could give us an idea about the general strategy of other cities in the country. These cities (mostly capitals) have the lead in decreasing car problems and we think every city in the world should follow them.
Oslo will be probably the first capital city to be car free. Right now, downtown is almost car free and people use their bikes and the city bike-sharing system to go around. Oslo has been investing in public transportation since 1970 and tries to be a complete car free city as soon as 1 or 2 years!
Spain wants to ban cars in several cities and the capital city is one of them. Madrid has a very high concentration of residents and there only a few other cities that can compete with it. Narrow streets of Central Madrid was never built for cars and it seemingly won’t ever be as the city is going to strictly ban cars. Madrid has many zones in which using cars are forbidden including a 4.6 square km ultra-low emission zone. 24 streets are included in new plans and are going to be transformed to suit walking and cycling. Madrid plans to decrease traffic by 29% to 23%.
Chengdu is the capital of southern china’s Sichuan province which is going to have a special area just for residents. Chinese have plans to design a residential area that makes it easier to walk rather than drive. So Chengdu will be one of the first cities in China to deal with growing traffic problems and turn to a green city. Chengdu won’t go completely car-free but will change half of the roads while keeping the other half intact.
Many cities in Germany have been already using bikes all over the town. And within the next decades, many of these cities will be almost free of cars leading by Hamburg. A network of places that can be reached without using a car will be spread through the city. By 2034 it will cover 40 percent of the city area. This green network or as they call it “gruenes netz”, includes parks, playgrounds, sports fields, and other places.
Copenhagen has been expanding the pedestrian-only zone that first introduced in1960 and today half of its population use bikes instead of cars. Thanks to the forward-looking plan, Copenhagen now has the lowest percentage of car ownage in Europe. They also have plans to expand the idea even more with the hope of becoming one of the first car free cities in the world.
Paris is one of the most populated cities in Europe. Residential concentration in downtown is so high that everyone’s happier if driving is completely banned! First old cars were banned and then preparing multiple bike lanes in the city was planned. By replacing fuel cars with electric cars and using more bikes in the city, they hope to breathe completely clean air one day.
London will ban diesel cars by 2020 like many other cities in Europe. The first step would be discouraging the use of diesel vehicles by charging them. Now they want ultra-low emission zones which means in the near future no diesel car would be allowed in London.
Many streets have always been pedestrian-only in downtown Brussels. Now they’re much more than just a couple of streets. Brussels has the largest car free area in Europe after Copenhagen. It all started in 2002 when the plan for public transportation with private transport was carried out. Brussels looking for ways to expand car free zone even more.
People in Vancouver don’t have much resistance to change and go with good city plans easily. After all, they may not need any car free zones if they continue using the subway system, buses, bikes, and their feet! More than half of all trips around the city is done by one of these methods. They are already ahead of most cities in the world even without any car free zones. Although plans have been made to prepare pedestrian-only streets and expanding the bike lane network to encourage people to go with the plan.
While these cities are trying their best to expand car-free zones and get the most from electric cars and public transportation, many cities in the world are still planning to build more roads, using more cars and figuring out ways to overcome traffic problems. They may find the true solution in the coming years when they’re stuck and there’s nothing more they can do except embracing the unavoidable change!
What do you think? Do you think that cars should be banned or only be allowed in special zones?