Author | Eduardo BravoAir pollution dropped across the world during the quarantine decreed as a result of COVID-19. In China, CO2 emissions dropped by 25% in March and, in May, the European Space Agency released images illustrating a considerable drop in Italy too. In Spain, a report drawn up by Ecologistas en Acción (Ecologists in Action), established that the average drop in areas with more than 150,000 inhabitants was 58%. There was a simple explanation behind this drop in nitrogen dioxide emissions across the planet: over a number of months, there were hardly any cars on the streets in cities in which the authorities had decreed a confinement.According to the World Health Organization, air pollution is to blame for approximately seven million deaths across the globe each year. Furthermore, the gases emitted by motor vehicles are one of the main causes of climate change. This reality has once again led to the debate about the convenience or not of banning motor vehicles in urban environments.In the main cities of Croatia, including Dubrovnik and Split, private vehicles can no longer be driven in its historic center. The same applies on various Greek Islands, in the medinas of Fez, Tangier and Casablanca, on the island of Nagasaki, in Vitoria-Gasteiz or in Pontevedra, where, after a decade with restrictive measures applied to the use of motor vehicles, traffic has dropped by 90% in the entire city. This decision has not only improved air quality, but has also enabled the number of traffic accidents including pedestrians hit by vehicles, to drop to almost zero. In 2000 1,203 accidents of this sort were recorded, while, in 2014, there were 484 and in 2020 just 20.Despite the positive results for citizens’ health and quality of life, there are still sectors that do not believe it is possible to impose a total ban on motor vehicles in urban spaces. This opinion is based on the fact that suburban cities, i.e. those that have a main nucleus and a series of satellite districts with low population densities and where basic services such as hospitals, schools or shops, are located too far away and require the use of cars.The reasoning does make sense. While a large number of villages and islands in Brittany in France such as Mont Saint Michel, Île-d’Aix, Île de Porquerolles or Île-Molène are now car free areas because of the reduced size of the towns, larger cities, such as the country’s capital, are struggling to reach this point. Despite this, the policies to discourage the use of motor vehicles in Paris have led to 60% of Parisians who, in 2001, had private vehicles, dropping to 40%, a percentage which the authorities intend to reduce even further in the coming years.Therefore, it will take more than prohibitions to banish motor vehicles from cities. It is essential to provide urban areas with extensive and efficient public transport networks that enable people to change their habits and for cars to become an indispensable asset, as well as infrastructures that enable the use of alternative means of transport such as bicycles, providing a risk-free environment for cyclists and pedestrians.These solutions are easy to apply in newly constructed smart cities, thanks to their reduced sizes, their efficient urban planning strategies and by promoting alternative means of transport. This is the case with the design of Chengdu, a city located in southwest China, which will enable to obtain any necessary service withing a 15 minute walk radius from downtown. The same goal set by Paris, shocking its own residents. Huge bets, but in no way impossible to achieve if planned with care and respect for all citizens.Images | Donald Tong, Carlos Pernalete Tua, Maksim Goncharenok, Cottonbro, Pixabay.
Deloitte - Simplifying City Management With Data Models and Digital Twins
Dialogue with the Spanish Minister of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda: Cities and Mobility of the Future
The Energy Crisis – A Chance For Change?
Marco te Brömmelstroet: Why was John Lennon in bed with a bicycle?
What Happened to the New Normal?
Mikael Colville-Andersen: Techno-Optimism vs Actual Human Needs
Dutch cities team to optimise shared mobility
What is minimobility?
The Parking Reform Era Underway for Urban Planning
We will not see cars disappear in the future, but we may see car-free cities
Content Pills #11: Efficient Mobility Systems
Vienna: A city in the fast lane of the smart mobility revolution
What are Top Smart Urban Mobility Trends?
How technology can help make urban transport work for people
Can Technology Help Cities Manage Curbs Better?
The 10 Best U.S. Cities to Visit for Art Lovers
The age of ‘the car is king’ is over. The sooner we accept that, the better
Why is micro-mobility having so many issues taking off?
Electric cars and on-street charging: how to overcome this problem?
4 Commonly-Used Smart City Technologies
The case for... cities that aren't dystopian surveillance states
Are cities engines of production or consumption, and does it matter?
Smart City Mission: ‘Towards a smarter city with our identity’
Women in the health and care sector earn 24 per cent less than men
Electric mobility can defy the climate crisis, says General Motors
Ethics and responsibility of self-driving cars: who is responsible for AI accidents?
The evolving pattern of China’s public transport system: from pedals to high speed and back again
A Somali boy's mission to find food as climate change takes its toll
Autonomous vehicles and accidents: are they safer than vehicles operated by drivers?
The climate challenges lying ahead
100 European cities take up the challenge to become carbon neutral by 2030
Ranking: Nordic tech startups to watch in 2022
Helsingborg to unveil world’s first cord-free electric car pool
Why mobility matters when it comes to social inclusion
The Most Sustainable Building Is the One That Is Already Built: Multi-purpose and Healthy Spaces
What is the outlook for urban mobility?
Universal basic mobility: Cities tackle the transport gap with free transit, e-bikes and car sharing
How to Make a City Safer for E-Bikes? Think Infrastructure
Report highlights the role of cities and emerging tech in supply chain resilience
Subway Graffiti Is on the Rise in New York City
Urban air mobility, amid a complex reality and startup fiction
Three Smart Cities Leading The Way With Smart Mobility Systems
Five principles for sustainable mobility
How smart cities are preventing ‘jaywalking’
Why the internet of things should be top of your company’s priority list
'The bike saved me': cycling project for vulnerable people under threat
How E-Scooters Are Transforming Tel Aviv
‘Micromobility’ Will Rise Again, Even After Blow Dealt To Trend By Covid
12 best ways to get cars out of cities – ranked by new research
Berlin citizens propose the largest car-free area in the world
Recommended profiles for you
ENGIE Technika Instalacyjna Sp. z o.o.
Electromobility project manager
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
José Manuel Benedetti
Director EMEA-Digital Innovation
MIS FUNCIONES DE CENTRAN EN DESARROLLAR NUEVAS AREAS DE NEGOCIOS
Ministry of Development and Investments
Communication Officer, National URBACT Point for Greece and Cyprus
Advanced Engineering Supervisor
Airport Authority Hong Kong
Project Engineer, BIM / Airport Authority Hong Kong
María del Valle Rojas Antonio
Laura Lázaro Aranda
Thank you for registering to Tomorrow.City. You can now start exploring from your computer, or with your phone or tablet downloading our app!