Beijing’s massive traffic restriction programme, launched just before the Olympics is coming to an end:
The return to Beijing’s traffic- and smog-heavy status quo will mark the end of what may have been the world’s largest pollution control experiment: a restriction on cars, factories and construction that lasted for two months and resulted in the clearest skies Beijing has seen in a decade and raised vehicle speeds 10 percent to 43 kph.
All of which, to me, seems like another reason why it’s important to design cities, towns and transport systems in such a way that maximises people’s freedom to choose alternatives to the car if they want. Because once you get to the stage Beijing is at the solution seems to become bans and limits on people’s ability to drive rather than making it easier to choose less polluting and healthy alternatives.
Car Free Day on Monday will be an important reminder that our towns and cities will be better if we invest now in building fast, efficient public transport and design that encourages walking, skating and cycling.
If you are in Wellington you can celebrate Car Free Day by joining Living Streets Walk Home to Hataitai (and maybe the Realm)