89 percent of Austrian citizens urgently want to reduce emissions from road traffic. 84 percent blame noise, air pollution and other burdens for health problems – these are findings of the representative survey “Kapsch TrafficCom Index 2020”. New concepts such as the “15-minute City“ in Paris point the way to prolonging people’s experiences with cleaner air and less traffic in post-corona times.
The negative effects of road traffic have returned very quickly to the political agenda after the lockdown during the corona crisis. While city tolling is being discussed in Germany, other countries are opting for low emission zones. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo is pursuing nothing less than an urban planning revolution with her concept of the “15-minute City”: Parisians should be able to reach everything they need for life from their doorstep within fifteen minutes on foot or by bike: grocery stores, health centers, schools, parks and workplaces. To make this possible, Hidalgo’s first step was to block central traffic routes for cars and convert them into bicycle expressways.
What we can learn from the “15-minute City”.
“The city of Paris has succeeded in reacting quickly to the corona crisis with a new mobility concept, making social distancing easier for the population,” says Gerd Gröbminger, Vice President Sales Kapsch TrafficCom. “The concept of the 15-minute City contains many important cornerstones – but it is a very long-term approach that takes a long time to implement. In order to keep traffic-related emissions at the current levels and further reduce them in the future, intelligent transportation systems are already available today. They enable quick improvements and, at the same time lay, the basis for flexible long-term changes.”
Digital technology provides opportunities.
Many future-oriented cities are pursuing the goal of clearing the streets for bicycles and pedestrians. “But if traffic is only shifted to other city districts through car-free zones, there is no significant impact,” explains Gröbminger. For this reason, the expert recommends introducing digitally connected mobility management. This includes, for example, traffic light control systems which automatically adapt to the current traffic situation. In pilot cities, this would reduce congestion times by up to 25 percent. The widespread use of SIM cards and vehicle-based GPS also makes it possible to capture and use real-time traffic data from all road users to manage mobility intelligently. “For quick success, politicians should work with the authorities to develop a strategy that harnesses the opportunities of digitally connected mobility. Instead of introducing driving bans for cars, it is important to holistically manage and improve people’s mobility. There are smart city solutions available today to prolong people’s experiences with cleaner air and less traffic in post-corona times.”