Where Carfree is Now
Mid-century construction, futurists and Masdar (a city on the Persian Gulf). If you assumed these three topics/groups don't seem intertwined, you'd be mistaken. In fact, on quite a relatively local level (to ReGen Waste), they're at the core of a hot topic.
On the surface, it could be hard to distinguish the link. If however, you go beneath the surface, quite literally in Masdar, you'll find your answer: car-free transport.
In September 2018, Belfast became the latest city to welcome its own Rapid Transport system. Designed to 'inspire even more people to choose public transport', the scheme was months in testing and years of development. Unlike Masdar, where an underground rail network supports the carless city centre, the Belfast system links two sides of the city with dedicated bus lanes.
While the systems take different routes, the overall aim of pedestrianisation is the same. But, the notion of car-free cities has many exponents and helps alleviate environmental concerns. At ReGen, we pride ourselves on delivering eco-solutions to environmental issues, and this is not a topic we could avoid.
Big cities are often synonymous with queues of traffic. The complications from congestion are so profound that governments everywhere have begun rethinking transport. As well as the obvious side effects of air pollution; congestion creates a plethora of problems. Traffic also results in noise pollution, artificial climate conditions and naturally, increased risk of collisions.
Some studies have even suggested car-dependent cities increase isolation and physical inactivity. Combined, the issues mentioned above are damaging to both the people who live there and the place itself.
The architecture & the Futurists
Certain cities have begun to undo the ill effects of congestion, while others never leant themselves to the problem in the first place. Take Venice, its 1,500-year-old layout and canals meant it couldn't cater for cars, so the park and ride system was inevitable. Venetians must park outside the city and proceed on foot or in trains. Councils replicate this method in other narrow pathed European towns.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have Chengdu, China and Masdar, Abu Dhabi whereby car-free transport is ingrained. Inspired by futurists, who envisaged driverless transport for decades. These mega-cities address environmental concerns by eliminating cars from inception. In the case of Masdar, they have gone a step further in eco-terms by being a solar dependent city.
While widescale carfree cities seem like a far-off ideal, they are becoming a reality for more and more commuters. Unsurprisingly, Scandinavia is leading the way in Europe in reversing urban private car ownership. Copenhagen has created car-free shopping districts, and Oslo is planning a car-free core by 2019. The Norwegian capital is already feeling the benefits with carbon emissions down 8% from 2015.
It would be amiss to accept that some cities lack the infrastructure for immediate pedestrianisation, but small changes can help. At ReGen, we've taken steps to reduce our carbon footprint in this department. Our transport fleet is made up of modern, low emission trailers and we work during the night to reduce congestion.