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Future Mobility: With or Without Cars?

More than a need, car-based mobility is almost an independence statement, an achievement of modernity, as well as the driving force behind the development of local structures.

However, that statement has seriously damaged cities workflow and environment across time. According to an MIT research, transportation accounts for 28% of US energy and 34% of US greenhouse gas emissions, the majority coming from light-duty vehicles making personal trips – people commuting to work, driving to social events, and performing errands in cars and light trucks. [1]

In fact, besides reducing noise, congestion and pollution, for some cities, the act of cleaning up traffic can be a financial incentive. A recent study found out that in Lima-Callao, a Peru region, cost-effective investments in the sector could generate as much as $1.1 billion in annual energy savings. Banishing cars from city centres implies a structured investment in the mobility network, supported by public and environmental-friendly transportation systems. This is a common philosophy in some European cities, such as London, for example, which has heavy congestion charges on private vehicles entering the city centre during peak hours. Amsterdam and Copenhagen are also closing some private vehicles corridors to bicycles and electric public transportation.

That’s another issue: electric cars. Believing they are the future of sustainable mobility, MIT found out as well that electric cars could take over most of the tomorrow´s driving needs. Nevertheless, and ironically, they’ll need the help of internal combustion engines to do it. However, as the report states, its limited battery life and market value (for now), makes this type of vehicle not the first choice for most citizens.

In conclusion: will cars become extinct? James Cascio, the senior fellow at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, says no! Cultural issues behind, it is really hard for cars to be substituted in a medium term. Although, in cities that conceive mobility as a public good, cars can be integrated with other forms of transportation to create a versatile and flexible system of transportation [2]. That’s why Uber and other car-sharing services and apps are so well succeeded.

Have you ever tried this kind of services? Let us hear your thoughts.

We hope you have enjoyed this post.

 

[1] Electric cars could drive the future – The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/aug/15/electric-cars-internal-combustion-engines-mit-report
[2] A Future Without Cars? – The European. http://www.theeuropean-magazine.com/felix-creutzig–2/6280-a-future-without-cars