With more cars on the road than ever before, combined with man yo fetch world’s largest cities becoming grossly overpopulated, governments have been taking action recently to reduce the volume of congestion in their cities. Congestion is bad for many reasons, it puts off tourists, it causes time problems for locals and it causing great damage to the environment.
Many cities are taking different approaches and I caught up with Secretary General of the International Road Transport Union, Umberto de Pretto to find out more about what action is being taken by the world’s cities to rid themselves of this problem.
Just over 8 years ago London introduced a congestion zone in the centre of the city. In order rot drive within this congestion zone, you must pay an annual subscription or a one time fee, neither of which are every cheap. This zone has been fitted with license plate recognition cameras which assess whether or not each car has paid, should someone fail to pay, they are hit with a hefty fine. The money which comes in from the congestion charge and the fines, is directly invested into improving public transport in the city.
One of the most successful responses to the heavy traffic issues in big cities has been the introduction of bike stations around the city which allow residents and tourists to rent a bike. These bike systems work with an application on your mobile phone and you can use it to unlock and lock the bike after you have used it. In Mexico City, London and Miami, these bikes are very popular and they charge an extremely low fee. More often than not, the first 30 minutes of bike use is free, which is usually enough time to get someone to work. With more bikes and less cars on the roads, we can greatly reduce traffic and the consequent pollution.
The preferred option for traffic reduction in cities is public transport which can take huge numbers of people, whilst filling the space as a car on the roads. Th problem with many public transport systems in big cities, was that people didn’t want to use them as they had become antiquated. Realizing this, many governments around the world have decided to give heavy investment into modernizing their public transport routes. Metro and bus systems have been radically improved around the world and this too is having a very positive effect on reducing the congestion which many big cities face.
Many governments are looking into new and exciting ways to use technology so that they can ease traffic in their cities. from driverless cars to pedestrian pods that will travel overground and underground, new technology is really forging the way forward in terms of reducing traffic and congestion. Ideas that were once considered to be pie in the sky, are now being tested throughout the world and could hit our cities in no time at all.