EcoMobility Gaining Ground As Cars/Roads Become Too Expensive

Car Ownership Declines in Europe as Cities’ Focus on Walking, Bikes & Public Transit

Cost of Personal Car Ownership Tops $10,000 a year

By Stephen Leahy

CHANGWON, South Korea, Nov 1, 2011 (Tierramérica)

Berlin is a big capital city of a country famed for making excellent automobiles, but it can no longer afford roads and is now moving people by transit, bike and especially through walking.

Berlin is not alone. Paris, Tokyo, Seoul, Bogotá, New York City and other major cities simply cannot afford the cost, the pollution, the noise and the congestion of more cars. They are embracing a new concept called EcoMobility – mobility without private cars.

“EcoMobility is not only walking, cycling and public transportation. It is about these three systems clicking together: connectivity is the key,” Gil Peñalosa, former director of parks and recreation in Bogotá, Colombia, told those attending the EcoMobility Changwon 2011 congress.

The congress on Mobility for the Future of Sustainable Cities was organised by the South Korean city of Changwon and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, an association of local government members from more than 1,220 cities in 70 countries.

“The famous Times Square in New York City is now a permanent pedestrian mall. Who would have believed that could happen just three years ago?” Peñalosa commented to Tierramérica.

“Five years ago who would have thought Paris would have over 22,000 bikes as part of a tremendously successful bike sharing system?” added Peñalosa, who is now the executive director of 8-80 Cities, an NGO based in Toronto that promotes walking, cycling, parks and urban trails to improve the public life of cities.

“We need to build cities around people and not around cars,” he stressed. Continue reading

Bike vs Car on a Hot Planet

Hanoi bike parade for climate action

E-cycles, bike highways and cutting government addiction to gas taxes

By Stephen Leahy

BERLIN, Jun 6, 2011 (IPS)

As global carbon emissions hit record-high levels last year, officials from leading Asian nations told the 2011 International Transport Forum in nearby Leipzig that their citizens want more cars.

At the same meeting, some Europeans urged a 21st century renaissance in bicycle transport, with electric and electric-assist bikes for personal health and the health of the climate.

“We in India need to provide more roads and rail,” said B.K. Chaturvedi, a member of India’s Planning Commission.

“Cycling is a miniscule thing. That’s not the future,” Chaturvedi told the nearly 800 attendees.

This independent environmental journalism depends on public support. Click here learn more.

“The bike is better to get around in Beijing, but bicycle use is dropping fast due to poor air quality and the danger from car traffic,” said Pan Haixiao, a professor at Tongji University in China.

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania's Moving Planet Cycle Caravan.

The number of cars and light trucks globally is projected to triple from the current 850 million to 2.5 billion by 2050, according to the International Transport Forum’s (ITF) Transport Outlook 2011. That growth is projected to be almost entirely in the developing world.

Richer countries are actually reducing the personal vehicle use in the last few years.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s ITF is an intergovernmental organisation for the transport sector involving 52 different nations.

Transport is the second leading source of carbon dioxide emissions, contributing about 7.5 gigatonnes to the 30.6 gigatonnes (Gt) emitted in total in 2010. The International Energy Agency (IEA) reported last week that humanity cannot exceed annual emissions of 32.0 Gt or it will be impossible to achieve the internationally-agreed target of below two degrees C of global warming to avoid very dangerous levels of global warming.  Continue reading