Is being car-free the future of the cities?
A study claims that cars should be eliminated from urban areas, but is this feasible?
According to a study conducted by experts at University College in London, as more cars are produced and added within a typical city, congestion levels and commuting times increase exponentially, while the infrastructure requires more increases.
In the article the researchers call for a drastic reduction of the number of private cars in urban areas.
The report’s lead author, Dr. Rafael Prieto Curiel, says that “In a few decades, we will have cities with 40 or 50 million inhabitants, and these could resemble parking lots with 40 or 50 million cars. The idea that we need cars comes from a high-polluting industry and very expensive marketing. Although due to the COVID 19 pandemic the number of private car use has started to decrease, recently numbers show that people are avoiding public transportation when returning to their workplaces.
In addition, ride-sharing services have generated a large increase in car use. In New York City, for example, people are relying more on apps like Uber than public transportation, thus increasing congestion, even though they don’t have vehicles.
Is it feasible to completely eliminate cars from our city centers? Among the main challenges of doing this is probably the alteration of infrastructure that was originally designed for motor vehicles. Since all cities are different, there can be no specific plan to do this. American streets for example can be particularly difficult to redesign given the many lanes and extensive road areas. Clearly, going completely car-free is a more complicated issue than it may seem.