Barcelona’s strict policy against pollution
As second biggest city in Spain and tourist magnet, Barcelona is increasingly confronted with similar problems as other European metropoles. To facilitate the transport transformation the city is focusing on increasing the use of public transport and decreasing car traffic. Barcelona has been struggling to meet EU limits for the level of pollution. Also out of the fear of EU sanctions, the city introduces initiatives to increase air quality
- Petrol cars sold before the year 2000 and diesel cars older than 10 years won’t be allowed during days of high pollution
- Increase green and pedestrian zones
- Increase bicycle rails in the city
Barcelona has to understand mobility in a new way that substitutes the concept of owning cars: car sharing services, car-pooling providers etc. already start the movement that could complement the traditional public transport.
Madrid and its electric bikes
Madrid, being the capital of Spain and third largest metropolitan area in Europe is facing challenges in terms of pollution. In order to improve the living conditions of the “Madrilenos”, the Spanish government is launching several initiatives.
- Increase of pedestrian zones
- Temporary closing of some down-town areas for the main traffic – access only for residents
- Closing of some areas for cars during the week-end
- Shut-down traffic when alarmingly high pollution level (e.g. use even and odd number plates to manage the reduction of cars)
- Increase of bicycle rails and shared bike services in the city
Compared to other large cities, Berlin has a remarkably low rate of motorization. Some reasons for this increasing mobility development are a total length of around 1.900 km of public transportation network, the continuous promotion of pedestrian and bicycle traffic as well as public transport, the creation of 340 new pedestrian crossing facilities in the Berlin road network since 2001, well over 1.000 km of cycling facilities, the introduction of the environmental “Green Zone” in 2008 (only vehicles that meet certain emission standards are allowed to drive within that zone) and a night time limit of 30 km/h as a noise protection measure. As a result, a modest downward in motorization trend can be detected in the last ten years due to the above-mentioned measures, traffic continues to produce around a quarter of climate-relevant CO2 emissions in Berlin, prompting more and more people to leave Berlin city and move to its more rural areas.
Compared with other German cities, Munich’s infrastructure is relatively advanced in terms of digitalisation. The presence of big automotive companies (BMW…), medium-sized component manufacturers and scientific research centres is one of the reasons, why Munich is a focus area for mobility-related discussions. As the mobility needs in large cities are changing at a fast pace, the German government has chosen Munich as a test city for a project called the “Digital Hub Mobility”. This initiative aims at building a worldwide leading experimental and testing field for urban mobility concepts. In cooperation with strong partners from the industrial sector like Audi, BMW, Continental, Daimler, Porsche, Bosch and VW, the government wants to create a general framework for automated and connected driving as well as services for connected mobility. The project will be focused on making traffic more efficient, saving space and improving air and life quality.
Rome opened to new mobility solutions
Rome tries to expand its public transportation network with the difficulty of finding the remains of historic buildings every time there are civil works! Only in 1980 the eternal city opened its first metro line, 16 years after Milan. Every day, 700,000 people use line A and the same for line B despite flooding problems every time it rains... Affluence from Romans and tourists is amazing... The latest metro line is underway prolonged despite its only 50,000 travelers per day.
Unfortunately, public transport is not enough for Romans to move. Thanks to the good weather, the two-wheelers are the citizens’ preferred solutions. Bikes are not so much appreciated, perhaps because of the 7 hills! Finally, cars are very much appreciated, but drivers often find themselves in the chaos. Then, who wants to take the best solution, can use public transport and mix it with scooter sharing with e.coltra and car sharing with several operators: Sharen'go, Enjoy or Car2go. Sharen'go claims 15,000 customers and 1 million kilometers driven in one year with 500 EVs.
The big trend for the last several years in Moscow is to force citizens to use less their own cars and use more public transport. Moscow government introduces:
- Paid parking
- Evacuation service for improper parked cars
- Increase of pedestrian and green zones
- Nearly 50 new metro stations since 2011, including second circle metro line with 31 stations.
- Bus line
- Car sharing within just 1 year the car sharing parc increased to 1 800 cars in total in different car sharing companies operating in Moscow. Cars from these companies are able to park for free in all paid parking in Moscow.
- One control center of transport situation, which controls buses, trolleybuses, trams, metro, boats, but also taxi, car sharing, parking, evacuation trucks, service of parking control.
All of these efforts bring changes to Moscow life and environment; it leads to lower CO2 and emission. Increasing of pedestrian zones and “green” zones in the city, enhancing the ecological situation and provide space for events, like concerts, bazaars and festivals, in different places around the city.
Warsaw and its area is not a megacity yet, however it is the biggest city in Poland, overloaded with cars and full of traffic jams. There is still a lot to do in terms of mobility. Nevertheless in the last years a lot has changed ! In 1999 Warsaw authorities introduced paid parking in the city center, since then the area of paid parking is constantly expanding. In 2012 the self-service bicycle rental system has been established, at the same time more and more cycle paths has been build. In 2015 the second line of metro has started running and new stations and its range is still expanding. Many new bus/ taxi lanes has been introduced. There has always been quite good railway infrastructure around Warsaw, but lately city authorities introduced Park&Ride system – people commuting to the city area by cars can park their cars in the suburbs free of charge and use trains, metro and other public transport. This year also two private companies established urban car rental service (cars can be rented for minutes and picked up from different locations in the city), city authorities also plan to introduce a similar system. There are also plans for banning old cars from entering the city center but resistance of public opinion is very high. All these actions should contribute to reduction of traffic and pollution. However, the biggest change we need, is the change of mentality of inhabitants.
London is a dynamic and progressive city when it comes to new mobility. On top of the introduction of one of the largest congestion charges in the world in 2003, implemented to reduce traffic and improve air quality in the city centre, London has seen/will see the introduction of:
- The 13,600 Santander bicycles scattered over the city for hire.
- 2,535 hybrid, 71 pure electric, and 8 hydrogen fuel cell busses.
- More pedestrianised areas in central London, including the whole of Oxford Street by 2020.
- 20 Ford plug-in hybrid vans to be used by Transport for London, the Met police, and various other businesses/taxi services over a 12-month trial.
- The garden bridge – a proposed pedestrian bridge over the Thames river, featuring trees, shrubs, hedges, and grassy areas on it.
- The introduction of the ‘CityMapper Smartbus” – through its new bus service and software, CityMapper hope to reinvent how buses operate and show how smarter bus technology will lead to better mobility within cities.
- Driverless vehicle tests in Greenwich, aimed to improved public transport links in the area.
Each one of these projects has been designed to either improve transport and mobility, air quality, or reduce emissions. With changing perceptions on the standard of living expected in a megacity like London, and climate change moving to the forefront of public concern, we will no doubt see projects like these become more common place in the coming years.