Thank you Mudit, for your post of sustainable transport. As you have mentioned, walking and cycling are the two most sustainable means of transport, urban design and planning should provide pedestrians and cyclists’ friendly environment. Additionally, since sustainability is at the municipal level in Europe, a variety of policies have been introduced to discourage car-dependency. The gasoline taxes in many European countries are two or three times higher than the United States to encourage less driving and less air pollution. The revenue from high gas taxes are usually utilised to invest and maintain a relatively fast and reliable public transport system including buses, subways and high-speed railways. In London, parking fees are raised, and five pounds is charged for each car entering central London, which has remarkably reduced the auto access there. In Zurich, public transit has priority over autos on streets as they travel on protected and dedicated lanes and green traffic lights are given to them at the intersections.
In addition, the integration and complementation of various public transit modes are essential to ensure the efficiency of public transport system and allow passengers to shift from one mode to another. Arnhem’s new central train station in the Netherlands integrates train services, local transit, bicycle parking and other uses including shops, offices and housing all together; the highly integrated functions make the train station become a mixed-use centre of activities.
Copenhagen has introduced a policy to install continuous bike lanes along all major streets as they found that more and wider cycle tracks are the major catalysts for the use of bicycle. The cycling culture in Copenhagen is also enhanced by City Bikes, the bicycle sharing scheme. After the payment of a refundable deposit, riders could use the public bicycles unlimitedly in city centre.
In conclusion, walking and cycling are important alternative modes of transport to cars, sustainable transport systems in European cities are inspiring in terms of urban design as well as policy-making.
- Beatley T, Planning for sustainability in European cities: A Review of Practice in Leading Cities, The City Reader, pp.446-457
- Cycling Embassy of Denmark, Copenhagen City of Cyclists: Facts & Figures 2017, available from: http://www.cycling-embassy.dk/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Velo-city_handout.pdf [Accessed: Jan 2019]