Magazine article The Futurist

European Solutions for Gridlock

Magazine article The Futurist

European Solutions for Gridlock

Article excerpt

Some cities are banning autos downtown.

Gridlocked European cities are pursuing more-aggressive measures to reduce traffic congestion, including fees for - and even bans on - driving in the city center.

Many European cities now are at a virtual standstill, writes Dankwart Guratzsch in Die Welt, a Bonn, Germany, newspaper. One survey found that the average speed of motor traffic in Italian cities is below that of walking. And gridlock could grow worse: The European Commission predicts that urban traffic in Western Europe will increase between 35% and 50% in the next 20 years, and newly liberated Eastern Europeans represent an enormous market for car manufacturers.

Transportation planners are no longer willing to rely on new roads, multistory parking garages, and less-polluting cars to remedy the situation, says Guratzsch. Auto pollution is worsening as the increase in traffic outpaces the improvements in vehicle emissions brought about by clean-air regulations. So, planners are striving to reduce the volume of private traffic.

The most-severe anti-car measures are outright bans on city-center traffic. In Bologna, Italy, private traffic has been banned downtown since mid-1989, with only residents and service vehicles allowed to enter an area of approximately 1 3/4 square miles. …

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