All over the world, cities are going through great lengths to improve quality of life through sustainable, connected urban mobility. Although the challenge is great, changes in behavior, technology and politics show that there is hope that future generations will inherit more sustainable cities.
These are five reasons to be optimistic about the future of our cities:
1. Travelling in private vehicles has stalled in developed countries
Despite a continued growth of the purchasing and use of private vehicles over several years, it seems that some have stated to choose a different path. The data for eight developed countries shows that travelling by car increased constantly between 1970 and 2003, but it has stalled since then. Another study found that the miles travelled in privately owned vehicles by younger generations has diminished by 23% between 2001 and 2009.
2. The economic argument for sustainable cities is a solid one
It becomes clearer and clearer that seeking compact, connected urban growth makes financial and environmental sense. The “Better Growth, Better Climate” report states that many cities could save up to $3 billion in infrastructure investments over the next 15 years by focusing on the growth of low-carbon transportation solutions.
3. Cities are taking the lead
As the global interest to fight climate change intensifies, local actions have had the greatest impact during the last few years. During the last UN Climate Summit held in September, many world leaders agreed to focus their efforts to catalyze action regarding climate change, provide easier financing for low-carbon transportation, and expand sustainable transportation solutions.
4. Sustainable mobility solutions are expanding
The scope of the challenges cities currently face demand scalable solutions. In 2002, only 45 cities had BRT systems, compared to the 186 that have one now. Just like BRT systems, there are other solutions like carpooling, using bicycles, the promotion of walking, etc.
5. New technologies open new possibilities
Although several of these solutions have existed for decades, advances in technology have accelerated their integration and application. Many transportation-specific technologies have helped improve the quality of service and lower costs. The transfer of technology between developed and underdeveloped countries has also played an important part in the adoption of more sustainable models.