Congestion in many of the world’s biggest cities is completely out of hand and causing a great amount of problems. The congestion is a result of cities growing in population before its infrastructure catches up, as a result of more cars being on the road than ever before, and also as a result of the failure by many cities to provide adequate public transport links.
This is an issue which is causing many headaches, especially for people such as Umbertto de Pretto, Secretary General of the International Road Transport Union. Both Mr Pretto and his team, and local governments have much work on their hands, and here are some of the ways that the can help to reduce this problem.
Investment in Public Transport
After many years of ignoring the pressure to invest in public transport, many cities are now playing catch up in terms of modernizing and updating their public transport links. Ultimately this has meant that there is much more money that needs to be invested, and in spite of this, it seems many local governments have realized that to help the issue of congestion, great public transport is the best approach. In London for example they have recently undergone a multi-billion pound overhaul of their underground metro system in order to bring it into the modern age, speed up the service, improve reliability and encourage more people to use this mode of transport. Public transport takes larger numbers of people and occupies far less space than cars, the perfect solution to congestion.
Encouraging people to cycle instead of using a car has worked in cities like Amsterdam and Beijing and it is something which is gradually being rolled out in a number of cities around the world. Cities like Miami and Mexico City have implemented public bike rentals and have placed a great many stations around the city, the public can simply turn up, take a bike and they are then charged for the amount of time that they use it. More often than not there is no charge for the first 30 minutes, which gives most people enough time to get from A to B. Cycling is harmless to the environment, rarely causes traffic and can really help cities beat their congestion problems.
Ultimately if you want people to make a change, you need to hit them where it hurts, in their pockets. This is what the congestion zone system seeks to do by zoning off an area of the city, and charging people if they wish to drive within that zone. For anyone who drives in the zone, that has not already paid their congestion zone charge, they will be hit with a large fine to ensure that they don’t do it again. This is a system which has done wonders in London, and many cities are rolling out a similar plan to fight congestion.