Using urban planning to decrease car usage

29 June 2015
 Categories: Environmental, Blog


For government bodies, the rise in usage of cars creates problems on multiple fronts. Not only do people exercise less as they drive more, leading to health problems, but the need for more and more car lanes and parking spots puts a strain on the urban planners freedom to create useful public spaces. Car usage also leads to more pollution and lower air quality, which in turn further discourages exercise.

Here are some ways urban planners can work with government bodies to decrease the dependency on cars:

Car-free zones

More and more inner city regions are creating a car free zone, where no cars are allowed to move in the centre of the city. As people need to walk or ride to their places of work anyway from a car spot outside the city, this encourages commuters to combine cycling, public transport and walking to reach their work places and leisure areas effectively.

Biking lanes

For eager cyclists, riding your bike to work can be an efficient way to commute. However, if you can reach high speeds on your bike of say 30kmhr, the choice of whether to try and ride alongside cars doing much higher speeds or on paths with much lower speeds can be tricky. Dedicated bike lanes help riders to get to work safely by separating cyclists from cars and pedestrians. Rather than simply following the road lines as well, you can create bike lanes along rivers and through parks, allowing riders to take a more attractive route and save time, to encourage them to regularly use bikes rather than cars.

Pleasant walking trails

In order to encourage people to explore more of the local neighbourhood, set out paths to encourage exploration. It's useful to choose some different themes that are not immediately obvious, such as a trail of indigenous landmarks in the area or a trail with stops at sights with different local flowers or popular nesting sites for local animals. Even for people who regularly undertake fitness walks in the area, slowing down to contemplate the special features of the area can encourage people to use some of their leisure time close to home rather than driving out to other locations.

Urban planners are a vital part of the process to encourage people to get out of their cars and using other techniques to commute and spend their leisure time. They help to transform open areas into efficient public spaces to share. To learn more, contact a company like Geolink with any questions you have.