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Sustainable Mobility Measures Seen In Emission-Free Cities

Cities are contantly trying to reduce the number of cars on their roads, but not all plans achieve the same good results. So, which sustainable mobility measures are successful in reducing congestion on urban roads? That is the question and the challenge we are addressing here.

Restricting car access to city centres, paying for parking or planning personalised trips are some of the sustainable mobility measures that have proven to be most efficient.

Reducing urban car use is a priority for many cities, concerned about the pollution generated by said means of transportation. To improve health outcomes, meet climate goals and create more liveable cities, reducing car use must be an urgent priority.

Pay a fee to go to the city centre by car

The most successful strategy according to the research was to impose a fee for drivers who want to access the city centre with their vehicle. This revenue is also reinvested in the municipality’s sustainable transport system. This is imposed in London and Singapore, for example, where specific areas attract considerable tax/fees for access.

As a result citizens decide to leave their cars at home and use collective transport to be able to access the center quickly and easily. And meanwhile, those who continue to move in their private vehicle will do so by contributing to the sustainable mobility of their municipality. It seems a very fair system but requires two factors which are not yet available in Jakarta for instance, nor any other Indonesian cities:

1. An Electronic Road Pricing system and infrastructure. It has been talked about here for decades and nothing done. This monitors the passing cars and charges those who have not prepaid an electronic fee.

2. High capacity, citywide, mass transport integrated between underground , rail and buses, so that those deciding to leave their cars can actually find easy access, close by to home and office transport options that are comfortable and affordable. We are very far off from that. So this option, for Indonesia at least is not yet viable.

An end to the problem of not being able to find a parking space

Finding a parking space is always a problem, especially in the centre of big cities. But what if we were to eliminate the problem at its root?

Without parking space, there would be no cars looking for a spot.

It sound a bit confusing, but the truth is that several cities are proving that this measure works. Places where parking space has been replaced by bicycle lanes and pavements to promote zero-emission, car-free mobility.

This is a great idea, but unless option one is already in place we can’t eliminate the parking option since the great majority of people will still be coming to work by car and motorcycle.

Limited Traffic Areas

Another solution that has achieved remarkable results is the introduction of access timetables to the most congested areas of the city. A measure that Rome implemented to encourage the use of public transport which reduced car traffic in the Italian capital by 20% during restricted hours and by 10% even during non-restricted hours when all cars are allowed to circulate.

But the truth is that we cannot always leave our cars parked at home. Many cities are promoting the use of electric cars with subsidies or by increasing the number of charging points on public roads.

This is similar to what is implemented in Jakarta where the “Odd-Even” number plate policy restricts access of the wrong plated cars during specific hours. And we are very pleased to see the introduction of EV Charging Stations across the city in anticipation of the move to EVehicles.

A sustainable way to go

Encouraging the use of public transport sometimes falls short. Not everyone lives next to a train station or bus stop. When commuting to work, for example, many people have to drive private car to the station and then use public transport.

Indeed, workplaces have proven to be highly influential in encouraging the substitution of the private car by sustainable mobility measures. Whether through offering bus routes to employees to get to the office, discounts for public transport or including bicycle racks on the premises, companies are successfully reducing car use. Not yet so many in Jakarta, but they are trying.

Another key alternative that also facilitates this situation is electric bikesharing. An increasing number of large cities have such scooters parked on their streets so that anyone can use them to move around the city in a sustainable way. They’re powered by electricity from renewable sources and allow citizens to get from one place to another quickly and safely. 

Customised travel plans

What if your city made a tailor-made plan for you to move around more sustainably? Cities such as Marseille in France, Munich in Germany or San Sebastian in Spain have tested the analysis of their residents' personal mobility to try to make it more sustainable.

These programmes, which provide advice and trip planning so that city residents walk, cycle or use public transport (sometimes at a discount), achieved seemingly modest reductions of 6% to 12%. However, since these sustainable mobility measures cover all residents of a city, as opposed to smaller segments such as commuters, these approaches can still play a valuable role in reducing overall car use.

Apps for sustainable mobility

Mobile phone technology is playing an increasingly important role in strategies to reduce car use. The Italian city of Bologna, for example, developed an app for individuals and teams of employees from participating companies to track their mobility. Partakers competed to earn points for walking, cycling and using public transport, and local companies offered these app users rewards for reaching point targets.

Likewise, applications that promote the use of sustainable transport also play a fundamental role in this. We’re talking, for instance, about motosharing apps, where users can locate and temporarily rent electric scooters to move around the city.

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