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City centres 2.0

The discussion about car-free inner cities is gaining momentum throughout Europe. Large cities are literally sinking into exhaust fumes caused by the upcoming road traffic. Many municipalities and metropolitan areas now want to change this.

The reports of the last few weeks all read similarly on this topic. A common course seems to be emerging: Inner cities without private transport.

More than half of the world's population currently lives in cities, and experts estimate that this figure will rise to almost 70 percent by 2050. The consequences are dizzyingly high exhaust emissions, dirty city centers and more and more time wasted in traffic jams. Even the electric car, often conjured up as a saviour, cannot change these circumstances and results.  

For example, in a recent radio interview with the BBC, Grant Shapps, the UK's Minister of Transport, was surprised to learn that London wants to undercut its target of banning all combustion engines from city centres by another three years by 2035. Sceptics shake their heads in disbelief, climate activists rejoice; albeit mixed with cautious skepticism.  

In Germany, too, the issue of car-free inner cities does not leave local authorities and politicians unaffected - on the contrary. In Munich, for example, a growing number of voices are calling for a transport policy comparable to that of London. As early as 2017, the city council had decided to adopt the goals of the citizens' petition "Sauba sog i" (Clean, I said!). This aforementioned initiative called for a reduction in motorised private transport in order to improve the air in Munich. According to this resolution, approximately 80 percent of Munich's traffic should be emission-free or be carried by public transport by the year 2025.

Ambitious plans and a tightly scheduled timetable!

In 2030, several European countries intend to put their words into action. Slovenia, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands want to ban all or part of the use of incinerators by this year; Paris and Amsterdam as well. In 2040 our neighbour France will join this illustrious list and ban all petrol and diesel from then on.

Since cities in their urban history have specialised in motorised traffic since the beginning of motorised traffic, the attempt to change this is enormous - but there is no alternative.