Harvest Kitchen restaurant, on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, making use of New York City’s new policy of opening streets to walking, biking and dining.
Ron Adar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
First trains, then cars and, now, COVID-19 have all spurred New York to reimagine how its scarce space should be used – and what residents need to survive.
As COVID-19 restrictions are eased, cities face crippling congestion if people shun crowded public transport. More frequent and faster services, using innovations like pop-up bus lanes, can avoid this.
Some new habits we've seen emerging during the pandemic could help us solve tricky problems like traffic congestion, which have challenged our cities for a long time.
Widespread use of autonomous vehicles could increase or cut greenhouse gas emissions. It all depends on public policy.
The sweeping introduction of driverless cars could see more vehicles on the road, driving longer distances. But smart planning could solve some of transit-associated environmental and social problems.
Smart transport solutions make better use of existing infrastructure and reduce the need to build expensive new roads.
Faced with the eye-watering costs of building infrastructure, it makes sense to turn to much more cost-effective smart technology to get traffic flowing.
Car owners’ attachment to driving and the willingness of others to switch from public transport could confound rosy predictions for autonomous vehicles.
Scenarios based on a survey of Adelaide commuters and analyses of traffic flows show it's possible the congestion could get worse in the transition to driverless vehicles.
The school run for private school students is typically much longer than for government school students.
An analysis of trips to school has found the extra time and distance private secondary school students travel is a significant contributor to morning peak-hour congestion.
Peak-time drivers to the CBDs of Sydney and Melbourne typically earn much more than the average worker.
Commuters who drive to and from the CBD typically earn much more than most. Concerns about the fairness of charging drivers who use these busy roads at peak times are overblown.
Parcel delivery vehicles makeup a small fraction of commercial traffic in our cities.
Parcel and courier delivery vehicles are often blamed for traffic congestion in our cities. But they're only a fraction of the traffic caused by tradespeople and other services.
The benefits of ‘superblocks’ for Barcelona include better health, access to green space and other public space, and more transport-related physical activity.
The Spanish city is remaking urban neighbourhoods by limiting through traffic in superblocks that give priority to pedestrians and street activities, not cars.
Digital communications technology means many high-skill workers don’t need to be in the office to do their jobs.
E-changers are the latest group to move from the big cities to escape high living costs and congestion. But because they remain very productive remote workers some employers are embracing the trend.
If more of us were free to work from home, fewer of us would be stuck in traffic.
Daria Chichkareva, fkigali/Shutterstock
Two-thirds of surveyed workers work from home one day a week on average, but could do at least half their work out of the workplace. If they commuted less often, congestion could be greatly reduced.
Having fun yet?
Despite efforts to encourage a shift to sustainable transportation, traffic congestion is often the focus of debates over mobility. Motorists endlessly demand more roads, but is this really a solution?
Car parking is such a pervasive feature of our cities that we have become blind to how much space it takes up.
Australian cities have a glut of parking, even as politicians move to protect parking spaces or promise even more. There are better ways to keep congestion manageable and our cities liveable.
The science of getting quickly and safely to the bottom.
In many cities, convention holds that there's a lane for walking and a lane for standing on the escalator. But human systems engineers suggest this isn't the most efficient option for the system.
Vancouver used traffic congestion as a ‘stick’ and the SkyTrain as a ‘carrot’ in a strategy to discourage car use and make the city a better place to live.
Instead of spending ever more on roads, we can learn from Vancouver's use of congestion as a 'friend' in managing the development of transport networks and of the city itself.
Residents of the outer suburbs like the green spaces and sense of community, but lament the lack of access to transport and other services.
Much of the growth in our cities is in the outer suburbs, now home to around 5 million people. And that creates problems like traffic that detract from the advantages residents see in living there.
It’s easy to blame congestion on immigrants. But it’s really jobs that do it. People flock to where the jobs are, whether they are immigrants or not.
Cutting migration to Australia's biggest cities would do nothing to ease congestion in those cities and could make it worse.
The Whim app seamlessly connects users to multiple transport modes in Helsinki – public transport, taxis, car rental and car/bicycle sharing.
Apps that seamlessly combine all our travel options could be the most significant transport innovation since the automobile, but early trials show government policy support is vital to make MaaS work.
Most transport resources are being used inefficiently. The Canberra Transport Photo shows the road space required to move 69 people using public transport, bicycles and private motor vehicles.
Cycling Promotion Fund
Blind belief that new technology and disruptive innovation will fix congestion in our cities overlooks the need for strong leadership that supports progressive policy innovation.