Moving around cities

Bicycles, car sharing or traffic cameras to avoid traffic jams: cities become more modernized to make life easier for their inhabitants

Cities are full. More and more people move from the countryside or from smaller towns to large capitals, because there are more chances of finding a job or because there are more services and things to do.

But the overcrowding of cities also has its consequences, such as the lack of space, pollution, rising prices and difficulties to commute.

In large cities, private vehicles, public transport, bicycles and pedestrians share the same space, which is not always enough.

Cities are congested and that is why city councils are looking for new ways to make mobility in their streets easier. Guaranteeing sustainable life in cities is one of the United Nation’s goals for Sustainable Development.

 

Cycling our way around the city

The bicycle is one of the best options to overcome the problems of urban mobility: it is cheap, it does not consume fuel, it does not make any noise or pollute, it promotes physical exercise, it is practiced outdoors …

City councils know this and that is why they have created public bicycle services: users can pick up and drop off bicycles at different stations all around the city. In many cities, the network of cycling lanes considerably increases every year.

By using new technologies, we can get tools such as the Copenhagen Wheel: a bicycle wheel that gathers information on the speed, pace and routes of the user and loads it on to your smartphone so you can calculate routes and know where there is less traffic

Using public transport and bicycles would help reduce the space taken up by private vehicles and recover it for citizens.

 

One car for a dozen passengers

“Car Sharing” is a car sharing service among several users, in this way the number of vehicles in the streets is reduced, there are less traffic jams and less pollution.

Several users can share a trip or take turns to use the same car: when one leaves it, the other picks it up. Everything works through an app that allows you to speed up the procedures and calculate the time so you do not have to wait.

In Paris there is Autolib, a fleet of 2,000 electric cars parked in different parts of the city. As with public bicycle services, users can see where there is a car nearby and where they can park it, all over the phone.

These services are part of the collaborative economy: a new way of doing business in which people offer services without the need of any middlemen or companies.

 

Limiting traffic

The effects of pollution are mainly seen in large cities: many days, we can see the sky covered by a big grey layer of pollution.

One of the most straightforward solutions are urban tolls, which limit or ban transit of private vehicles in the town centre on specific days or hours. This way pollution is reduced, but the use of car sharing or public transport is also promoted.

Moreover, the resources obtained at these tolls can be later invested in new measures that favor greener and more sustainable cities: more cycling lanes, more public bicycles, pedestrian spaces …

Intelligent systems are also being developed to control traffic. The authorities put up cameras and sensors that capture the most difficult areas, traffic jams, levels of pollution, among others. The data obtained is analyzed to design customized solutions.

Translated by Chaplin’s Languages | Find out more in Junior Report

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