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Five ways we can make African cities smarter

My family and I were recently stuck in moderate traffic in Sandton, Johannesburg, which led to a discussion between me and my kids about how traffic, and the way we deal with it as drivers, will look very different in future.

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At a minimum, my kids will fully embrace the use of connected Uber-like car-share services to get around – or even more exciting, will use driverless vehicles. The potential impact of this on cities will be tremendous, not only in terms of time and efficiency, but also from the point of view of safety and our carbon footprint.

A report by US consulting firm McKinsey & Company analysed the impact of driverless cars on the incidence of fatal traffic accidents. They claim that deaths on the road in the US will reduce by up to 90% by mid-century. This is just one of the ways that our cities could feel the benefit of smart solutions. Intelligent transport combined with safety, security and utilities management – to mention but a few – will change the face of cities fundamentally for the next generation.

According to reports by the United Nations, in the next 40 years we will see 70% of the world’s population living in cities, and water scarcity for around 1.8 billion people (predominantly in developing countries) as a result of climate change.

This chart from the UN shows how fast African cities, in particular, are expected to grow between now and 2050.

jedjling__1_-_source_united_nations

To address these challenges, an efficient and competitive city will rely on purpose-driven industrial transformations to remain sustainable. ICT will be at the centre of this transformation process. For sustainable operations, cities must use ICT in ways that not only meet stakeholders’ initial sustainability requirements, but also enable an ongoing rebalancing of needs, resources and other priorities – such as the right to privacy.

It’s clear that the way in which cities balance economic competitiveness, environmental pressures and social needs will affect the lives of billions of people. But smart, sustainable city transformations are complex and difficult. So how do we ensure that African cities become not only smarter, but more sustainable?

1. A shared vision

There are many opportunities for smart solutions within cities. The challenge is to prioritise these options to three or four key focus areas and to then successfully deliver on them. Stakeholders need shared goals and a clear idea of how to achieve them.

2. Holistic governance

Leadership structures must be capable of retaining the holistic, macro view of the city’s needs, and enable all projects to follow the common vision, integrating both ICT and environmental priorities. In this way, common platforms, data formats and monitoring systems are ensured, which will enable the sharing of information for mutual benefit between departments – something that was impossible previously.

3. The mayor and the ecosystem

Cities are made up of a complex ecosystem of stakeholders. The key is to ensure governance structures, stakeholder groups, city departments, local government, public and private enterprises work together to drive the common smart-city agenda. In this, the mayor should take a leading role.

4. ICT development

The technology landscape is evolving rapidly, so it is important to develop a continuous ICT learning culture among the city’s transformation drivers, sharing new developments and exploring emerging possibilities and approaches. Bodies such as the Smart Africa Alliance create platforms to share best practices.

5. Long-term partnerships

Broad engagement is vital when identifying and ranking the city’s pain points and stakeholders’ concerns. The smart, sustainable city value chain comprises several interconnected ICT layers: infrastructure, enablers, devices and applications. Within each of these layers, various stakeholders are involved. For example, consultation with appropriate stakeholders at the infrastructure and enabling layers can build awareness of the long-term business-case advantages for shared, standards-based infrastructure (as opposed to closed, vertical deployments). Therefore, the various stakeholders are a source of ideas and solutions that can help shape the overall vision.

Most African countries have commendable objectives of promoting technology development and creating ICT infrastructure, capability and skills to connect the unconnected and usher in the era of the internet of things. Their focus is on creating sustainable and smart cities, countries – and ultimately, continent.

This is aligned to Goal 11 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which specifically relates to sustainable cities and communities. As drivers of change, cities now have more and better technological tools at their disposal than ever before. Becoming smart and sustainable is not a one-off achievement, but rather a continuous journey requiring ongoing engagement, innovation and progress.

To ensure the best chance of success, those shaping the future of sustainable smart cities must lay a solid foundation for transformation, based on purpose-driven planning, networked governance structures, organizational capacity building, broad stakeholder engagement and effective long-term partnerships.

This will make the journey, with or without an actual driver, an interesting one.

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Source: cnbcafrica


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Traffic congestion in Cape Town exceeds that of Johannesburg

TRAFFIC congestion in Cape Town exceeded that of Johannesburg from 2013 as a result of the upgrades to the Gauteng Freeway network which had a positive effect in reducing congestion in the country’s economic powerhouse.

This is according to an analysis by Stellenbosch University’s Smart Mobility Laboratory, which aims to develop innovative and cost-effective solutions within the field of intelligent transport systems.

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The Smart Mobility Lab provided an expert analysis of the 2016 TomTom Traffic Index Report released this week. According to the index Cape Town remains the most congested city in South Africa and is ranked 47th in the world. Johannesburg was ranked second in South Africa, while East London was third. This year, Mexico City was classified as the most congested city in the world, followed by Bangkok, Istanbul, Rio de Janeiro and Moscow.

The TomTom Traffic Index considers traffic congestion in 295 cities in 38 countries across the globe. According to TomTom, congestion globally has increased 13% since 2008.

“The annual progression of the TomTom Traffic Index data clearly reflects the impact of intervention projects on congestion such as the recent major Gauteng Freeway Improvement Programme. A significant reduction in the Traffic Index is observed following the roll out of the freeway improvements between 2010 and 2012,” the Smart Mobility Lab states.

Cape Town has a Traffic Index of 30%, which means that drivers will experience an average increase of trip length of 30% throughout the day. During the morning peak period, Capetonians can expect to add an additional 71% to free flowing travel time. Johannesburg has a daily Traffic Index of 27%, and a morning peak hour index of 60%.

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The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry said recently that growing congestion on Cape Town roads was having an adverse effect on businesses and forcing many to consider relocating or changing office hours to avoid the worst of morning and evening peak-hour traffic.

“It seems we are no longer dealing with rush hours but rush periods which can last for two or three hours,” said Chamber president Janine Myburgh.

Last year the City of Cape Town said it would spend R750m over five years to ease its mounting traffic problem. The money would be spent on improving infrastructure along major routes, mayor Patricia de Lille said at the time.

The TomTom data also reveals that in South Africa small cities have shown an increased rate of growth in congestion of nearly 7% per annum, which is far higher than the rate observed in larger cities in South Africa and worldwide-typically found to be between 1.5% and 3% per annum. The Smart Mobility Lab says this could reflect the rate of urbanisation in developing countries, particularly in smaller cities and highlights the urgent need for infrastructure and traffic management projects in these countries.

Ralf-Peter Schaefer, vice president of TomTom Traffic, said the Traffic Index is released every year to help drivers, cities and transport planners to understand traffic congestion trends and how to improve congestion globally.

“We really want everybody to think about how they can lower the amount of time they waste in traffic every day — and to realise that we all need to play a part. If even just 5% of us changed our travel plans, we would improve travel times on our major highways by up to 30%. Collectively, we can all work together to beat traffic congestion.”

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Kenya: Airlines’ Demand for Nairobi Traffic to Power Tourism

At least thirty six airlines are gunning for a slice of Nairobi’s airport traffic, in a move that could support Kenya’s floundering tourism and ratchet up price competition.

The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority says 36 passenger and cargo airlines are seeking licences to operate local and international cargo and passenger flights, a move seen lifting Nairobi’s transport hub status ambitions.

Zimbabwe-based Global Africa Aviation (Put) Limited have sought licence to conduct cargo flights from Harare to Nairobi while West Wind Aviation Limited seeks approval to offer passengers and freight between Nairobi, East, West, Central and Southern Africa from its current base at Wilson Airport.

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Italy’s Neos S.P.A and Meridiana Fly have sought approval to operate chartered flights on a bi-weekly basis from Malpensa, Italy to Mombasa and a weekly flight from Katowice-Hurghada to Mombasa respectively.

Other new entrants include Poland’s Small Planet Airlines that plans weekly flights to Kenya while Saudi Arabian Airlines Corporation has sought licence to conduct cargo services from Nairobi to Jeddah and back.

On the East African front Auric Air Services Limited, Tanzanian Air Services and Air Excel Limited, all from Tanzania have sought to offer regional passenger services, thanks to the recently signed air traffic protocol that gives regional operators from East African Community automatic rights to use sister facilities at no extra cost.

Five Forty Aviation and Baracuda Airways Holdings Limited plan to launch weekly flights to Homa Bay while East African Safari Air Express Limited wants to be allowed to fly to Kabamet weekly.

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Aeronav Limited-East Africa has also applied for a variation of its licence to include the Malindi/Masai Mara route which will enable it capture the growing market for foreign tourists keen of devouring Kenyan beaches and wildlife at a go.

DAC Aviation (E.A.) Limited wants to enjoy non-scheduled air services for passengers, cargo and mail within Kenya and to other points in Africa, Middle East and Asia.

SAC (K) Limited seems to be the only carrier seeking an international schedule for its cargo and passenger business between Nairobi and UK’s Gatwick and Belgium’s Brussels on a non-scheduled basis.

Ocean Airlines Limited seeks to entrench its leadership in the Nairobi-Northern Kenya route and is seeking permission to fly people and cargo to from Nairobi to Kisumu, Garissa and Wajir.

Jetways Airlines Limited also wants to fly to South Sudan’s Juba capital via Entebbe, Mogadishu which will be integrated with its domestic route plying Eldoret, Lodwar, Kakuma, Mombasa, Malindi, La mu, Waji, and Mandera.

Treedo n Airlines Express Limited had also applied for inclusion of new routes to include Eastern and Central Africa while its domestic routes will be ferrying of passengers from Nairobi’s Wilson Airport to Ukunda, Wajir, and Eldoret.

Others are Kenya Homes Company Limited, Timbis Air Services, Aberdair Aviation Limited, Skymax Aviation Limited, Northwood Agencies Limited, Nairobi Mission Aviation Fellowship (K), GeoAir Limited, Transafrican Air Limited, Skyward Express Limited and Aeronav Limited.

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Source: allafrica


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London drivers urged to turn off engines in bid to tackle air pollution

Plans announced by Boris Johnson would see the capital’s drivers encouraged by signs and volunteers to turn off their engines in traffic jams

London drivers will be encouraged by volunteers and signs to turn off their engines in traffic jams to tackle the capital’s illegal air pollution levels, under plans announced by Boris Johnson on Thursday.

But campaigners accused the mayor of failing to take hard measures to cut the city’s pollution problem, which has seen six sites including Oxford Street, Knightsbridge and Brixton Road already breach annual limits just weeks into 2016.

Johnson’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) for cutting pollution does not come into effect until 2020 and only covers central London. The schemes unveiled today are those that have won £5m from an air quality fund.

Nearly £200,000 will be spent on new electronic signs and measuring equipment at Tower Bridge to ask drivers not to leave their engines idling when the bridge opens, causing congestion for the 31,000 cars that cross it daily. But there will be no enforcement or incentive for doing so.

Another scheme will see “friendly, trained volunteers” sent out on to the streets of eight boroughs including the City of London on high pollution days, to talk to drivers about turning their engines off.

Source: theguardian


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Gridlock is grinding Sandton to a halt

The average person living in a big city can spend up to four months of his/her life sitting, waiting and wishing in traffic. This is becoming ever truer in downtown Johannesburg and its surrounding metropolitan business hubs, particularly Sandton. The influx of people to the big city over the past few years has seen the dark, looming shadow of traffic grow exponentially until, at times, becoming nearly unmanageable, especially when load shedding knocks out power to Sandton’s robots and traffic systems, bringing traffic to a literal standstill.

Growing traffic congestion has serious economic consequences for fast-growing cities, but the most concerning effects of gridlock is on the individual. Imagine you could get back all the time you spent sitting in traffic – an extra hour in the evening with your son or daughter or half an hour more in bed every morning. The pressing question is ‘how many moments are you missing while you’re stuck behind the wheel of a car?’.

According to the latest traffic index report, released annually by TomTom, a global leader in satellite navigation technology, more than 40% of South African employees are late for work due to traffic congestion. Johannesburg is currently ranked the 77th most congested city in the world, and climbing steadily.

“There are many factors that contribute to traffic congestion in South Africa, poor public transport is one of them,” said Etienne Louw, General Manager of TomTom Africa.

This was solemnly acknowledged by Johannesburg mayor Parks Tau at the Ecomobility Festival in October this year. For the month of October, roads in the commercial hub of Sandton were closed off to private vehicles, for the purpose of promoting the use of public transport and getting the public to experience a version of Sandton without all of the congestion, noise and smog.

The soaring number of cars moving in and out of Sandton every day contributes enormously to the city’s CO2 emissions, and the gridlock experienced during rush hour is costing the country a huge amount of money each year, as noted by Tau during the festival: “As it stands, the economic impact that results from congestion in the whole of South Africa is over one billion rand (each year), and Johannesburg accounts for the highest loss, with more than 1.5 million vehicles registered across the metropolitan.”

Those numbers aren’t looking to drop any time soon; commuters in Sandton are rising by 3.4% annually. Currently, the picture of traffic in the precinct is a very gloomy one. On a daily basis, between 7:30am and 8:30am, almost 150 000 people move in and out of Sandton. The scary part is that 70% of the vehicles coming in and out are private.

Gridlock is a global problem affecting every major metropole in the world. The obvious long-term solution is the development of a fully integrated public transport system, but as this will take time, the motor industry is looking to technological development to help alleviate the rising surge of global traffic.

This topic was covered extensively at the TED conference in March 2011, by Bill Ford, in his talk: “A Future Beyond Global Traffic Gridlock“. In his talk, Ford reveals some shocking figures about the rate at which the numbers of cars are increasing in cities around the world, and the cost of gridlock to the economy and the individual: “Today, there are about 800 million cars on the road worldwide. But with more people and greater prosperity around the world, that number is going to grow to between two and four billion cars by mid-century. And this is going to create the kind of global gridlock that the world has never seen before.”

When considering how to navigate around the problem facing us, Ford notes more of the same will not do, and we are going to have to – very quickly – begin developing technology to help us manage traffic flow in big cities.

“We are going to build smart cars, but we also need to build smart roads, smart parking, smart public transportation systems and more. We don’t want to waste our time sitting in traffic, sitting at tollbooths or looking for parking spots. We need an integrated system that uses real-time data to optimise personal mobility on a massive scale, without hassle or compromises for travellers.”

For South Africans, particularly those living in the buzzing metropolis’ of Johannesburg and Cape Town, a smart move toward alleviating traffic congestion – minimising time wasted behind the wheel – is to make use of dedicated sat-nav technology like TomTom. The TomTom GO5000 and GO5100 have independent, unlimited access to TomTom maps, which has more map data for southern Africa than any other mapping resource in the world. A device like this receives over 700 000 data points each second, allowing deadly accuracy, up to 2cm, updating traffic information in real-time. This appears to be the most intelligent short-term solution to minimising your commute time, dodging speed cameras, and getting where you need to be, faster. The only difference between the two is the GO5100 comes with World Maps as well.

With traffic congestion reaching all-time highs, TomTom aims to provide the general public, industry and policymakers with unique and unbiased information about congestion levels in urban areas, making your trip a little more bearable.

Source: itweb


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Africa’s aviation infrastructure to improve in next 30 years

Africa’s aviation infrastructure has not kept pace with traffic demand, with extensive deterioration seen in infrastructure that is now in dire need of investment; however, the next three decades could see the sector shine, should a 15-year-old declaration be implemented. Print Send to Friend 0 1 African Civil Aviation Commission secretary-general Iyabo Sosina on Wednesday told delegates at the Infrastructure Africa conference, in Sandton, that airport and general aviation infrastructure in Africa was “not where it needs to be”.

Despite this, in the next 30 years, Africa’s aviation industry would be where the European aviation industry was currently, she assured, but only if the Yamoussoukro Decision of 1999 was adopted amid the above-average rise in traffic growth. The Yamoussoukro Decision, which was intended to liberalise intracontinental air services among all African nations, was slow to be adopted, with only a handful of African countries having, so far, embraced the “open skies” policies.

However, the implementation of the decision, which Sosina believed would be the saviour of Africa’s aviation industry, was on the right track, with the respective Transport Ministers across the region “scrambling” to advance the agreement and ensure that many of the required respective regulatory frameworks were in place. Sosina noted that the aviation sector was the vehicle of growth for any society, country or company and that more and more leaders were realizing that the aviation sector needed support and a platform to thrive.

Sosina noted that the aviation sector was the vehicle of growth for any society, country or company and that more and more leaders were realizing that the aviation sector needed support and a platform to thrive. Despite many African governments’ hesitation to provide a level playing field, for private sector airliners to competitively participate and to deal with other inherent challenges associated with aviation in Africa, a lot of work had been done in Africa that would lay the groundwork for an aviation industry as successful as that in Europe.

Further, with the African continent only holding 3% of the world’s air traffic and its yearly passenger traffic ahead of the global average, the opportunities were abundant and the “future bright”, she said. Africa was expected to have a yearly air passenger growth rate of 5.7%, above the world average of 4.7%.

Source: engineeringnews


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Notorious Moloto Road now part of Sanral network

One of South Africa’s most dangerous roads, the Moloto Road which runs north of Pretoria and passes through three provinces, has been incorporated into the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) road network. The government gazette announcing the incorporation was published on 29 July. Print Send to Friend 0 0 “This has given Sanral the go-ahead to make this deadly road safer. We are now responsible for the upgrading of the 93 km road – the R573 – which stretches from Mpumalanga/Gauteng border to Marble Hall in Limpopo,” said Sanral northern region project manager Madoda Mthembu.

With thousands of commuters using the road daily, the poor surface condition coupled with irresponsible driver behaviour has resulted in a high rate of crashes and fatalities along the route. “As the road traverses three different provinces – managed by three different road authorities – there were difficulties in maintaining it. We are of one mind with the Minister of Transport that this road needs to be made safer for its users urgently, and that this requires a single road authority to ensure sustainable maintenance to do so,” Mthembu said.

Government has set aside just over R1-billion to improve the road. The project involves upgrading the road to accommodate existing and future traffic, improved access roads and routine road maintenance such as pothole repairs, the cleaning of storm water culverts and the updating of road signs and road markings. According to Madoda, routine road maintenance started the same day the road was transferred to Sanral.

The rehabilitation phase will kick-off once contractors have been procured the design and environmental impact assessments have been done. This is estimated to be during the 2017/18 financial year. The project will be completed approximately 36 months thereafter and forms part of Sanral’s non-toll portfolio – meaning the road will not be tolled

Source: engineeringnews


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How to Make Transport More Sustainable

Wherever you’re headed this morning, there is nothing worse than getting stuck in traffic, and with 22% more cars on the roads and an 80% higher petrol price than 5 years ago, the need to find a sustainable way of transport is in more demand than ever.

One of the key facets of Sustainability Week is transport, and one solution to making transport more sustainable is car-pooling and bike sharing.

Bike Sharing

If you prefer to ride a bike, Bike Sharing is said to be the next evolution in public transport in South Africa.

The system basically consists of a number of specially designed bicycles parked at docking stations around the city which you can rent. The bikes can be unlocked using a card which you swipe or a mobile phone app. By swiping the card on the bike, the bike is unlocked and the clock starts ticking.

After using the bike, you can dock it at any docking station. The clock then stops ticking and the money is deducted from the electronic purse or via the app from your account.

It’s already been successful in 40 cities across 15 countries and is launching in Cape Town in August and then to other South African cities. The only downside is that the average trip is 2 – 3kms, so it’s not the best option for long distances.

Car-Pooling

With massive congestion on our road, and with road transport making up the primary source of CO₂ emissions in South Africa, it is incredibly important to find a more sustainable way of getting around.  If your place of work is too far to cycle, car-pooling is a good alternative. One of the local car-pooling solutions is “Find a Lift”, which is designed to make car-pooling easier.

How it works

Sign up and enter your route.

The platform instantly matches you with others going your way so you can decide to make secure contact and arrange to share the journey. This in turn saves you money and reduces your carbon footprint in the process.

To keep this service free for members, they are working closely with organisations, universities and other communities nationally to help them set up their own private rideshare groups and to run these programmes successfully.

The main benefits of car-pooling

You can save R68 by sharing 100km with 1 person;

Share 3500km and you would have ‘planted’ a tree;

Save money on fuel and maintenance;

Reduce your carbon footprint;

Help cut traffic for faster journey times;

Make new friends.

 

How to car-pool safely

Do not exchange home addresses before you meet a potential travel partner;

Meet in a public place the first time you meet your potential travel partner;

Connect on social media like Facebook to build trust;

Show each other proof of your identity to ensure you are meeting the correct person;

Tell friends/family about your travel partner and details of your journey;

Do not travel together if you have any doubts about your potential travel partner

Avoid the road rage and get involved in car-pooling this week to help de-congest our roads. It could make your life a lot less stressful and save you money, and who knows – you might even make some new friends!

Source: expressoshow


 

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City bans cars for a month, doesn’t collapse into chaos

Lots of places close streets to cars for a day, but what happens when you do it for a month?

Could this happen in North America? Take a neighborhood and ban cars from it for a month?

It happened in 2013 in Suwon, South Korea, and it’s happening in Johannesburg, South Africa, later this year. It’s the Eco-Mobility World Festival, intended to “mobilize and raise local and international support for ecomobile alternatives to fossil-fuel transport,” and looks like a whole lot of fun. According to the Urban Idea, the Suwon fest was a huge success.
Around 4,300 residents in the neighborhood adopted an ecomobile lifestyle to experience how traveling through integrated, socially inclusive, and healthy transport options can positively change their routines. The residents used a variety of vehicles such as bicycles, trailers for carrying children and goods, tandem bicycles, recumbent bikes, pedelecs (electric assisted bicycles) and velo-taxis.
Anything but a car. And although the festival lasted only a month, the after-effects are still being felt. Adele Peters writes in Fast Company:
After the festival ended, the city also gathered residents for a huge meeting to ask for ideas for more permanent

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changes. The biggest result: The speed limit was cut nearly in half, to about 18 miles per hour. That meant that commuters no longer wanted to use the neighborhood as a shortcut, and traffic started to disappear. Neighbors also decided to eliminate side parking on some major streets — and parking on sidewalks — which helped encourage people to start walking and biking to run errands.

Why a month? According to festival creative director Konrad Otto-Zimmermann, it takes that long for people to really adapt; any less and people can just rearrange their appointments and work around it. “It has to be a month in order to hit people’s daily agenda, so they really experience ecomobility in their daily life.”
Could this happen in North America? It’s unlikely. One of the partners behind the festival is ICLEI, an organization that helps cities and local governments reach sustainability goals — and one that is being banned in city after city in the U.S. for being part of a United Nations’ plot to impose sustainable development. It is often accused of trying to take away peoples cars and force them into tiny apartments.
When Toronto tried closing its streets for a day, the mayor went nuts and said “We have parks for people to walk, for exercise, to do yoga. You don’t have to close down a major street to walk, do yoga — that’s for parks.”
But as Gil Peñalosa of 8-80 cities (a nonprofit organization based in Toronto dedicated to helping cities become more pedestrian- and bike-friendly) notes, we have to break out of this mindset and take back the streets.
Building more roads to solve transport problems is like putting off a fire with gasoline. We should put pedestrians as our priority and question the role of streets. People need to walk, and walking must be best friends with cycling and public transport.
Perhaps that’s the message of Suwon: Cars have their place, but they shouldn’t dominate the city; they should play nice with cyclists and pedestrians. When changes are made that affect daily habits, people adapt. So slow down the cars, promote alternative means of transport — because streets are for people.
Source: mnn

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