Traffic jams, pollution and the economic losses caused by intensive traffic are some of the most pressing problems that major cities around the world must solve. The UN has estimated that, in 2050, 89% of people will live in urban areas , so it is essential to implement sustainable urban mobility projects that solve the main difficulties that cities experience due to traffic.
What is sustainable urban mobility?
Sustainable urban mobility is a model that focuses on minimizing the impact of urban transport on the environment in order to improve the quality of life and health of city dwellers while efficiently meeting the transport needs of the population .
It prioritizes energy efficient and environmentally friendly means of transport to reduce pollution in cities. With the help of mobility engineering, it also studies how to optimize the transport service and streamline traffic, designing more functional cities that have different access points and exits to properly channel traffic and meet the needs of each area.
Trends and examples of sustainable mobility in Spain
- Clean energy for urban transport. The polluting gases emitted by traffic are the main source of pollution in cities, which is why sustainable urban mobility plans are committed to clean energy to improve air quality. The gradual electrification of transport in cities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions produced by combustion engine vehicles is one of the objectives of the new law on climate change and energy transition approved in Spain, which provides that municipalities with more of 50,000 inhabitants and the island territories apply sustainable urban mobility plans and establish low emission zones before 2023.
- Shared mobility and use of public transport. Car sharing services or motorcycle rental for hours or minutes will continue to gain ground in the coming years as they are a cornerstone of sustainable urban mobility. This model not only promotes the use of public means to decongest the streets , but also promotes shared mobility initiatives . Currently, thanks to different mobile applications, it is already possible for drivers and passengers to agree to share cars or to rent vehicles by the hour, only for as long as they need them, so that other users can later use them. You might be interested in more articles on our site.
- Redistribution and pedestrianization of public space. To adapt to the new mobility model, large cities must provide their citizens with different possibilities to move according to their needs. The creation of bike lanes, for example, encourages the reduction of motorized trips in favor of a cleaner and healthier means of transport. Pedestrianization of urban centers also improves air quality and provides more space for citizens to enjoy their city, instead of occupying it with cars. An example of a sustainable urban mobility project are the superblocks proposed by Barcelona City Council, within which traffic is restricted and public spaces are enlarged.
However, as advances in information and communication technology are incorporated, sustainable cities will become smart cities . Technologies such as Big Data, Artificial Intelligence or the Internet of Things will allow better planning of road traffic to avoid traffic jams and design more efficient transport with less environmental impact.