Connect with us

Technology

What are the most effective ways to get cars out of cities? | Travel and transport

Getting cars out of cities has become an international focus. But city officials, planners and citizens still do not have a clear, evidence-based answer to the question: what works to reduce car use in cities?

We screened almost 800 peer-reviewed reports and case studies from throughout Europe published since 2010, and used real world data to rank the 12 most effective measures that European cities have introduced.

The ranking reflects cities’ successes not only in terms of measurable reductions in car use but in achieving improved quality of life and sustainable mobility for their residents.

Our study, carried out at the Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies and published in Case Studies on Transport Policy, finds that more than 75% of the urban innovations that have successfully reduced car use were led by a local city government – notably, those that have proved most effective, such as a congestion charge, parking and traffic controls, and limited traffic zones.

Narrow policies do not seem to be effective – there is no “silver bullet” solution. The most successful cities typically combine a few different policy instruments, including both carrots that encourage more sustainable travel choices, and sticks that charge for, or restrict, driving and parking.

The research is clear: to improve health outcomes, meet climate targets and create more liveable cities, reducing car use should be an urgent priority. Yet many governments in the US and Europe continue to heavily subsidise driving via a combination of incentives such as subsidies for fossil fuel production, tax allowances for commuting by car, and incentives for company cars that promote driving over other means of transport. Essentially, such measures pay polluters while imposing the social costs on wider society.

Ranked: 12 ways to reduce car use in cities

A vintage car during a rally in Bologna.
A vintage car during a rally in Bologna. Photograph: Fabio Frustaci/EPA

12. Apps for sustainable mobility

Mobile phone technology is, unsurprisingly, a growing aspect of 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. Participants competed to gain points for walking, biking and use of public transport, with local businesses offering these app users rewards for achieving points goals.

There is great interest in such gamification of sustainable mobility – and at first glance, the data from the Bologna app looks striking. An impressive (73%) of users reported using their car “less”. However, unlike other studies which measure the number or distance of car trips, it is not possible to calculate the reduction of distance travelled or emissions from this data, so the overall effectiveness is unclear. (Skipping one short car trip and skipping a year of long driving commutes both count as driving “less”.)

11. Personalised travel plans

Many cities have experimented with personal travel analysis and plans for individual residents, including Marseille, France, Munich, Germany, Maastricht, Netherlands and San Sebastian, Spain. These programmes – providing journey advice and planning for city residents to walk, bike or use (sometimes discounted) public transport – are found to have achieved reductions of 6-12%. However, since they encompass all residents of a city, as opposed to smaller populations of, say, commuters to school or workplaces, these approaches can still play a valuable role in reducing car use overall. (San Sebastian introduced university and personalised travel planning in parallel, which is likely to have helped reduced car use further than either in isolation.)

10. School travel planning

Two English cities – Brighton and Hove and Norwich – have used (and assessed) the carrot-only measure of school travel planning: providing trip advice, planning and events for students and parents to encourage them to walk, bike or carpool to school, along with providing improved bike infrastructure in the cities. Norwich found it was able to reduce the share of car use for school trips by 10.9%, using this approach, while Brighton’s analysis found the impact was about half that much.

9. Car sharing

Perhaps surprisingly, car sharing turns out to be a somewhat divisive measure for reducing car use in cities, according to our analysis. Such schemes, where members have access to easily rent a nearby vehicle for a few hours, have shown promising results in Bremen, Germany and Genoa, Italy, with each shared car replacing between 12 and 15 private vehicles. Their approach included increasing the number of shared cars and stations and integrating them with residential areas, public transport and bike infrastructure. However, other studies point to a risk that car sharing may, in fact, induce previously car-free residents to increase their car use, so we recommend more study into how to design car-sharing programmes to truly reduce overall car use.

8. Mobility services for universities

The Sicilian city of Catania used a carrot-only approach for its students. By offering them a free public transport pass and providing shuttle connections to campus, the city was found to have achieved a 24% decrease in the share of students commuting by car to campus.

7. University travel planning

University travel programmes combine the carrot of promotion of public transport and active travel with the stick of parking management on campus. The most successful example highlighted in our review was achieved by the University of Bristol, which reduced car use among its staff by 27% while providing them with improved bike infrastructure and public transport discounts.

6. Workplace travel planning

A major 2010 study assessed 20 cities across the UK and found that 18% of commuters switched from car to another mode if their companies put in travel strategies and advice to encourage employees to end their car commutes, including company shuttle buses, discounts for public transport and improved bike infrastructure, as well as reduced parking provision. In a different programme, Norwich achieved near-identical rates by adopting a comprehensive plan but without the discounts for public transport. Interestingly, these carrot-and-stick efforts appear to have been more effective than Brighton and Hove’s carrot-only approach of providing plans and infrastructure such as workplace bicycle storage, which led to a 3% shift away from car use.

5. Workplace parking charges

Downtown Rotterdam.
Workplace parking charges were introduced in parts of Rotterdam. Photograph: Henryk Sadura/Getty Images

Introducing workplace parking charges is another effective method. For example, a large medical centre in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam achieved a 20-25% reduction in employee car commutes through a scheme that charged employees to park outside their offices, while also offering them the chance to “cash out” their parking spaces and use public transport instead.

This scheme was found to be about three times more effective than a more extensive programme in Nottingham in the UK, which applied a workplace parking charge to all big-city employers possessing more than 10 parking spaces. The revenue raised went towards supporting the Midlands city’s public transport network, including expansion of a tram line.

4. Mobility services for commuters

The most effective carrot-only measure identified by our review was a campaign to provide mobility services for commuters in the Dutch city of Utrecht. Local government and private companies collaborated to provide free public transport passes to employees, combined with a private shuttle bus to connect transit stops with workplaces. This programme, promoted through a marketing and communication plan, achieved a 37% reduction in the share of commuters travelling into the city centre by car.

3. Limited traffic zones

Rome, traditionally one of Europe’s most congested cities, has shifted the balance towards greater use of public transport by restricting car entry to the city centre at certain times of day to residents only, plus those who pay an annual fee. This has reduced car traffic in the Italian capital by 20% during the restricted hours, and by 10% even during unrestricted hours when all cars can visit the centre.

2. Parking and traffic controls

In some European cities, removing parking spaces and changing traffic routes – in many cases, replacing the space formerly dedicated to cars with car-free streets, bike lanes and walkways – has proved successful. For example, Oslo’s replacement of parking spaces with walkable car-free streets and bike lanes was found to have reduced car usage in the centre of the Norwegian capital by up to 19%.

1. Congestion charges

Drivers must pay to enter the city centre, with the revenues generated going towards alternative means of sustainable transport. London, an early pioneer of this strategy, has reduced city centre traffic by a whopping 33% since the charge’s introduction by the city’s first elected mayor, Ken Livingstone, in February 2003.

Other European cities have followed suit, adopting similar schemes after polls in Milan, Stockholm and Gothenburg – with the Swedish cities varying their pricing by day and time. But despite congestion charges clearly leading to significant and sustained reduction of car use and traffic volume, they cannot by themselves entirely eliminate the problem of congestion, which persists while incentives and infrastructure favouring car use remain.

  • Kimberly Nicholas is associate rofessor of sustainability science at Lund University, Sweden. Paula Kuss is a consultant for the Ministry of Transport in Baden-Württemberg, Germany.

  • A longer version of this article can be read on the Conversation website here.

Source link

Culture

European Startup Ecosystems Awash With Gulf Investment – Here Are Some Of The Top Investors

European Startup Ecosystem Getting Flooded With Gulf Investments

The Voice Of EU | In recent years, European entrepreneurs seeking capital infusion have widened their horizons beyond the traditional American investors, increasingly turning their gaze towards the lucrative investment landscape of the Gulf region. With substantial capital reservoirs nestled within sovereign wealth funds and corporate venture capital entities, Gulf nations have emerged as compelling investors for European startups and scaleups.

According to comprehensive data from Dealroom, the influx of investment from Gulf countries into European startups soared to a staggering $3 billion in 2023, marking a remarkable 5x surge from the $627 million recorded in 2018.

This substantial injection of capital, accounting for approximately 5% of the total funding raised in the region, underscores the growing prominence of Gulf investors in European markets.

Particularly noteworthy is the significant support extended to growth-stage companies, with over two-thirds of Gulf investments in 2023 being directed towards funding rounds exceeding $100 million. This influx of capital provides a welcome boost to European companies grappling with the challenge of securing well-capitalized investors locally.

Delving deeper into the landscape, Sifted has identified the most active Gulf investors in European startups over the past two years.

Leading the pack is Aramco Ventures, headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Bolstered by a substantial commitment, Aramco Ventures boasts a $1.5 billion sustainability fund, alongside an additional $4 billion allocated to its venture capital arm, positioning it as a formidable player with a total investment capacity of $7 billion by 2027. With a notable presence in 17 funding rounds, Aramco Ventures has strategically invested in ventures such as Carbon Clean Solutions and ANYbotics, aligning with its focus on businesses that offer strategic value.

Following closely is Mubadala Capital, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with an impressive tally of 13 investments in European startups over the past two years. Backed by the sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, Mubadala Capital’s diverse investment portfolio spans private equity, venture capital, and alternative solutions. Notable investments include Klarna, TIER, and Juni, reflecting its global investment strategy across various sectors.

Ventura Capital, based in Dubai, UAE, secured its position as a key player with nine investments in European startups. With a presence in Dubai, London, and Tokyo, Ventura Capital boasts an international network of limited partners and a sector-agnostic investment approach, contributing to its noteworthy investments in companies such as Coursera and Spotify.

Qatar Investment Authority, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, has made significant inroads into the European startup ecosystem with six notable investments. As the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, QIA’s diversified portfolio spans private and public equity, infrastructure, and real estate, with strategic investments in tech startups across healthcare, consumer, and industrial sectors.

MetaVision Dubai, a newcomer to the scene, has swiftly garnered attention with six investments in European startups. Focusing on seed to Series A startups in the metaverse and Web3 space, MetaVision raised an undisclosed fund in 2022, affirming its commitment to emerging technologies and innovative ventures.

Investcorp, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, has solidified its presence with six investments in European startups. With a focus on mid-sized B2B businesses, Investcorp’s diverse investment strategies encompass private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and credit management, contributing to its notable investments in companies such as Terra Quantum and TruKKer.

Chimera Capital, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, rounds off the list with four strategic investments in European startups. As part of a prominent business conglomerate, Chimera Capital leverages its global reach and sector-agnostic approach to drive investments in ventures such as CMR Surgical and Neat Burger.

In conclusion, the burgeoning influx of capital from Gulf investors into European startups underscores the region’s growing appeal as a vibrant hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. With key players such as Aramco Ventures, Mubadala Capital, and Ventura Capital leading the charge, European startups are poised to benefit from the strategic investments and partnerships forged with Gulf investors, propelling them towards sustained growth and success in the global market landscape.


We Can’t Thank You Enough For Your Support!

— By Darren Wilson, Team VoiceOfEU.com

— Contact us: info@VoiceOfEU.com

— Anonymous submissions: press@VoiceOfEU.com

Continue Reading

Current

China Reveals Lunar Mission: Sending ‘Taikonauts’ To The Moon From 2030 Onwards

China Reveals Lunar Mission

The Voice Of EU | In a bold stride towards lunar exploration, the Chinese Space Agency has unveiled its ambitious plans for a moon landing set to unfold in the 2030s. While exact timelines remain uncertain, this endeavor signals a potential resurgence of the historic space race reminiscent of the 1960s rivalry between the United States and the USSR.

China’s recent strides in lunar exploration include the deployment of three devices on the moon’s surface, coupled with the successful launch of the Queqiao-2 satellite. This satellite serves as a crucial communication link, bolstering connectivity between Earth and forthcoming missions to the moon’s far side and south pole.

Unlike the secretive approach of the Soviet Union in the past, China’s strategy leans towards transparency, albeit with a hint of mystery surrounding the finer details. Recent revelations showcase the naming and models of lunar spacecraft, steeped in cultural significance. The Mengzhou, translating to “dream ship,” will ferry three astronauts to and from the moon, while the Lanyue, meaning “embrace the moon,” will descend to the lunar surface.

Drawing inspiration from both Russian and American precedents, China’s lunar endeavor presents a novel approach. Unlike its predecessors, China will employ separate launches for the manned module and lunar lander due to the absence of colossal space shuttles. This modular approach bears semblance to SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, reflecting a contemporary adaptation of past achievements.

Upon reaching lunar orbit, astronauts, known as “taikonauts” in Chinese, will rendezvous with the lunar lander, reminiscent of the Apollo program’s maneuvers. However, distinct engineering choices mark China’s departure from traditional lunar landing methods.

The Chinese lunar lander, while reminiscent of the Apollo Lunar Module, introduces novel features such as a single set of engines and potential reusability and advance technology. Unlike past missions where lunar modules were discarded, China’s design hints at the possibility of refueling and reuse, opening avenues for sustained lunar exploration.

China Reveals Lunar Mission: Sending 'Taikonauts' To The Moon From 2030 Onwards
A re-creation of the two Chinese spacecraft that will put ‘taikonauts’ on the moon.CSM

Despite these advancements, experts have flagged potential weaknesses, particularly regarding engine protection during landing. Nevertheless, China’s lunar aspirations remain steadfast, with plans for extensive testing and site selection underway.

Beyond planting flags and collecting rocks, China envisions establishing a permanent lunar base, the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS), ushering in a new era of international collaboration in space exploration.

While the Artemis agreements spearheaded by NASA have garnered global support, China’s lunar ambitions stand as a formidable contender in shaping the future of space exploration. In conclusion, China’s unveiling of its lunar ambitions not only marks a significant milestone in space exploration but also sets the stage for a new chapter in the ongoing saga of humanity’s quest for the cosmos. As nations vie for supremacy in space, collaboration and innovation emerge as the cornerstones of future lunar endeavors.


Continue Reading

Current

Aviation and Telecom Industries Reach Compromise on 5G Deployment

The Voice Of EU | In a significant development, AT&T and Verizon, the two largest mobile network operators in the United States, have agreed to delay the deployment of 5G services following requests from the aviation industry and the Biden administration. This decision marks a crucial compromise in the long-standing dispute between the two industries, which had raised concerns over the potential interference of 5G with flight signals.
The aviation industry, led by United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby, had been vocal about the risks of 5G deployment, citing concerns over the safety of flight operations. Kirby had urged AT&T and Verizon to delay their plans, warning that proceeding with the deployment would be a “catastrophic failure of government.” The US Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the issue further highlighted the need for a solution.
In response, US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) head Steve Dickson sent a letter to the mobile networks, requesting a two-week delay to reassess the potential risks. Initially, AT&T and Verizon were hesitant, citing the aviation industry’s two-year preparation window. However, they eventually agreed to the short delay, pushing the deployment to January 19.
The crux of the issue lies in the potential interference between 5G signals and flight equipment, particularly radar altimeters. The C-Band spectrum used by 5G networks is close to the frequencies employed by these critical safety devices. The FAA requires accurate and reliable radar altimeters to ensure safe flight operations.

Airlines in the US have been at loggerheads with mobile networks over the deployment of 5G and its potential impact on flight safety.

Despite the concerns, both the FAA and the telecoms industry agree that 5G mobile networks and airline travel can coexist safely. In fact, they already do in nearly 40 countries where US airlines operate regularly. The key lies in reducing power levels around airports and fostering cross-industry collaboration prior to deployment.
The FAA has been working to find a solution in the United States, and the additional two-week delay will allow for further assessment and preparation. AT&T and Verizon have also agreed to not operate 5G base stations along runways for six months, similar to restrictions imposed in France.
President Joe Biden hailed the decision to delay as “a significant step in the right direction.” The European Union Aviation Safety Agency and South Korea have also reported no unsafe interference with radio waves since the deployment of 5G in their regions.
As the aviation and telecom industries continue to work together, it is clear that safe coexistence is possible. The delay in 5G deployment is a crucial step towards finding a solution that prioritizes both safety and innovation. With ongoing collaboration and technical assessments, the United States can join the growing list of countries where 5G and airlines coexist without issue.

Continue Reading

Trending

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates 
directly on your inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!