In 2008 New York City took 49 acres of road space, traffic lanes and parking spots away from cars and gave it back to the public to use for bike lanes, pedestrian areas and public plazas. Protected on-street bike lanes were part of the 140 miles (255 Kilometers) of bike lanes implemented.
This increased the growing number of cyclists by up to 35 per cent, from the previous year.
The city planted more than 98 trees, a select bus service was put in place and the introduction of ‘car free’ Saturday’s was introduced. In addition to the eco-friendly scheme the New York City Department of transportation recycled 40 per cent of the asphalt used to repair streets.
With tough economic times at present and ahead, bus services and cycling as a means of transportation was an immediate and inexpensive way to meet the growing commuter demands in New York City. This has in return made the city more clean and lively by decreasing traffic congestion, air and global warming pollution.
Since the 2008 Olympics, Beijing has made impressive efforts to improve air quality and working to make transportation better and cleaner. Restrictions have been put in place for automobile owners to leave their vehicle at home one day per week, this having 800,000 vehicles off the streets each day.
The government mandated Evro IV fuel standards, which lowered the amount of sulfur allowed in gasoline and diesel from 150 parts per million to 50 parts per million. One third of the police fleet are now patrolling the streets using non-motorised and electric bikes. The city has also added a new line to the metro system and two new lines for the bus rapid transport system. Extended running hours have also been put in place.
Other cities such as Mexico City, Istanbul and Milan are also looking towards effective eco-friendly transportation changes. Mexico City being an example of one of the world’s most congested cities is now looking at better ways to improve their transport systems after the snow ball effect from other cities success predominantly in the U.S.
Istanbul has had a bad start to delivering their climate changes, however their tenacity has paid off and hey have opened the ‘Metro’ bus which has reduced travel time by up to 75 per cent. By opening one of the most effective BRT lines in the world, the Metro Bus reaches exceptionally high speeds at 40km per hour (25 miles p/h) and is integrated with the underground metro and existing bus service. This low cost, quickly implemented model has been a huge success.
Milan introduced ‘Eco Pass’ in January 2008. Designed to restrict access to the central Cerchia dei Bastioni area of the city by charging the most heavily polluting vehicles. It is the first environmental policy in the world to discourage vehicles by having a ‘pollution pays’ principle. As a result carbon dioxide has decreased by 12 per cent during the enforcement and 19 per cent for the particulate matter. This proving that there is another way.
Source: New York Times