Table of Contents
Transport systems are a combination of railways, buses, bicycle pathways, as well as pedestrian walkways. Countries with a well-developed public transport system (sustainable urban mobility) are more likely to cope up with the downturn in oil production as compared to cities that heavily depend on cars for transportation. Along with being means of transportation, roads also improve accessibility, help in boosting the economy and sustainability, and create resilient and healthy communities. Installation of a circular junction helps in safer driving and lessens the risk of accidents.
Issues Faced by Cities
Every year, thousands of people move from rural areas to cities. This puts an additional strain on pollution, population, increasing traffic, carbon emissions, and climate change. Many cities are also experiencing an accessibility crisis. This makes it difficult for people to move in and around the city. The increasing population and vehicles in cities have led to an increase in the infrastructure demands of the cities, giving rise to more opportunities for accidents.
Keeping the focus on the people while designing can give rise to solutions that will help in increasing urban mobility and urban safety, make drivers and pedestrians more responsible and aware, as well as make the cities greener. Spaces for pedestrians are generally created in either parks or other green spaces, or places in the vicinity of nature like waterfronts. This helps the urban planners create more pedestrian-friendly cities. Since streets cover a huge area in the entire land parcel, they can also be put to use to create spaces for pedestrians.
The World Health Organisation has estimated about 1.3 million people die each year as a result of road accidents. Most of these people are pedestrians, motorcycle riders, or bicycle riders. Most of these fatalities are from developing regions with rapid urbanization. Instead of asking the users to follow instructions regarding the use of public space, city designers and planners must have urban safety in mind while proposing elements of city planning.
Enhancement of Urban Mobility
Creating shorter blocks will give rise to more road intersections. This will give rise to more opportunities to cross the street. The long blocks that have already been established can have mid-sections and junctions added. The creation of shorter blocks will also lead to an increase in these junctions, will lead to an increase in the stopovers for cars. This will help in a reduction of vehicle speed as well as prevent the pedestrians from using un-marked locations for the sake of crossing streets.
Constricted lanes reduce the distance while crossing the roads and make the drivers more responsible, and more aware of risks, and also lower the vehicle speeds. Raising the pedestrian crossings creates a speed hump on the roads and makes it easy for the drivers to spot the pedestrians in busy areas or areas that aren’t well lit. It also ensures a smooth transition from the sidewalk to the road crossing since they’re on the same level. This enables better access for people with different urban mobility needs, such as a wheelchair, stroller, etc.
An overall urban planning approach will help in improving urban mobility with mixed-use neighborhoods, compact cities, properly planned spaces, and activities. The provision of facilities such as convenience shopping, public transport, schools, shopping, parks, medical shops, clinics, eateries, etc. enables people to get amenities in the vicinity of their home or workplace. This also enables less travel time, thus reducing the number of vehicles on the street and in turn making the environment cleaner and the city greener as a result of lower carbon emissions. Since the traveling distance is reduced, it encourages people to walk.
Sustainable Urban Mobility
Sustainable urban mobility can be a solution for improving road safety as well as public health. It has become the need of the hour to create sustainable urban mobility solutions because around 70% of the world’s population is projected to be living in cities. Sustainable urban mobility will improve transportation and accessibility for people, thus creating a better life and atmosphere for people.
All the neighborhoods should have a provision for trains, buses, metros, or any other means of public transport. Other means of transport like walking or bicycles should be considered while designing for mobility. Other commonly used modes of transport like cab-sharing, electric scooters or cars, bike-sharing, etc. should also be given a thought while designing for sustainable urban mobility.
Provisions such as parking spaces, drop-off points, and charging stations should be made for such modes of transport. Easy access to facilities in and around the city for all genders and age groups should be enabled along with broader sidewalks improving pedestrian mobility. A balance of the built-up areas and green spaces is mandatory to restore stability in the city’s environment and on the outskirts.
Inclusive Green Mobility
While the introduction of electric vehicles might help up to a certain extent, improved changes are required to make the urban mobility systems net zero. These changes refer to how people move in and out of the city. The green mobility systems need to be un-partial and not biased towards a specific community. It has the potential to reduce social inequalities by creating better accessibility for diverse communities in major economical centers. Green mobility systems should imbibe the idea of a universal design. This also involves considering the needs of people who are differently abled or belong to an older age group.
According to Urban Designer Andrew Cameron, urban mobility should be perceived as ‘the glue between our buildings’ instead of merely a transport challenge. Connectivity is the fundamental issue while designing for mobility. The local economy of a place is improved by creating mixed-use neighborhoods with all the amenities like offices, schools, leisure activities, retail, etc. within a 10 minutes walking distance from each other. Focusing on the basics instead of jumping on transport systems would be beneficial.
Creating walkways that are lined with trees will be aesthetically pleasing, will provide shade to the pedestrians, and encourage walking. Pedestrians should be given priority over vehicles while designing spaces. Learning the patterns of movement and the context of a particular area helps in bringing out a design that creates a proper flow of circulation of people and vehicles. These movement patterns will create the conditions that will lead to a better mobility system.
The creation of aesthetically appealing green spaces for recreational activities that feel safe and quiet leads to increased walking. Intensive research of many communities and their culture might help gain a broader perspective on the movement and help in forming strategies for urban proposals for all-inclusive green mobility.