Minimalising car use in cities has been in the spotlight for a number of years. It brings a number of complex issues for councils, planners and residents. Although there is no silver-bullet answer, across Europe there have been several approaches to mitigate the issues car use brings. Here we go through the Top 12.
Personalised Apps for Mobility
Tracking employees by mobility, encouraging more activity. Similar to fitness apps such as Vitality and Strava, employers motivating staff through incentivised plans and encouraging to share their progress with points is gaining momentum.
Personalised Travel Plans
Workplaces and schools across the UK and France are providing plans for students to walk, bike or carpool to school. In Norwich, by providing cycling infrastructure saw a direct correlation to reducing the share of car use for school trips by 10.9%. (Source: Lund University Centre for Sustainability).
By no means a new initiative, and often falling into the “defeats the purpose” category, the purely focusing on the word “reduction” car sharing apps like Zipcar in the UK offer residents to rent a vehicle for a few hours without the admin hassle of running a car. Well-run schemes in Bremen result in each shared car replacing between 12 to 15 vehicles. However experts suggest that it may increase motor use for those previously car free.
The offer of heavily subsidised or even free transportation is a carrot-dangler for residents. In Catania, Sicily students are offered 24 hours public transportation passes with connections to the city from the campus. Similarly, Luxembourg offers free transport on its trams for both residents and non-residents. This has shown huge reductions in commuting by cars.
Across the UK, NHS Trusts and Universities are over-stretched with managing their car parks. To simply put more restrictions on car parking based on travel times might not always be fruitful, instead combining this with improved bike and public transportation subsidies and offering spaces to those with unreasonable commute times can work better for stakeholders. This has worked well at the University of Bristol. For Land Car Parking Managers, Basemap offers a parking permit solution tool, find out more here.
Studies have found that commuters would switch from car to another mode of transport if companies incentivise robust plans to end car commutes. Options such as shuttle buses, discounts for public transport and bike schemes are becoming popular. For example, businesses in Brighton offering bicycle storage saw a 3% upturn away from car use.
Workplace Parking Charges
To deter workers from driving to workplaces, councils have rewarded companies that turn their parking bays to be used by purposes that are non-motor specific. In Nottingham, this programme has generated revenue used for the public transport network including extending the tram line.
As some modes of transport are not owned by the government, why not get councils to partner with private companies to provide free public transport to connect stops to workplaces? This scheme has worked to plan in Utrecht, Netherlands where car commuters have dropped by 37%.
By restricting road entry for cars in order to shift the balance to use public transport or by adopting a fee can useful. Rome in Italy has a programme for restricted hours in the day which has seen a 20% fall in cars visiting the centre.
Cities in Europe are repurposing car parking spaces with other ideas such as bike lines, pathways and even electric vehicle-only spaces. Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana is a prime example of doing this effectively with little amount of cars in its compact centre.
For many Londoners, the city was an early frontier of generating revenue for driving into the centre. Since Ken Livingstone introduced the scheme in 2003, the car traffic has fallen by 33% and has provided the blueprint for other cities such as Milan and Stockholm to follow suit.
It’s clear that to improve health and meet tough sustainability targets, planners must adapt to reducing car use as an urgent priority. With TRACC, companies can calculate travel times to thousands of locations by public transport, walking and cycling. Assess the impact of your commercial location by using TRACC to create contour maps and reports, utilising detailed demographic data. Find out more here.