Faced with the flood of cars, for decades governments have attempted to improve mobility of citizens – some measures focus on widening existing roads and building new ones, while others encourage a switch to alternatives such as public transportation, cycling and walking.
Jovana Stanisljevic, Professor in International Business, Grenoble École de Management (GEM), uses the examples of London and Singapore to describe how traffic congestion can be reduced and commuter traffic improved.
Increasing road space does not solve the problem. It just leads to more cars on the roads.
When looking at top – 10 cities for time lost due to congestion in 2018, eight are European. One common factor impacting congestion in Paris, London, Rome, Milan or Barcelona is their age. Some roads predate advent of cars, which increases complexity of road network operations. In fact, car – centric infrastructure in a sense collides into public transit and walking development patterns.
At the same time, cities in Europe tend to be most progressive when it comes to reducing and relocating road space to make room for other types of transportation. Zurich, for example, deliberately slowed its road traffic down to make it unpopular, while Paris pursues aggressive policy of expanding public spaces, by eliminating traffic from lower docks of the Seine.
London is experimenting to tackle road congestions via special charging zones and times.
In the case of Singapore, the implementation of the Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) system in 1998 was a breakthrough. It functions on the “pay as you use” principle to manage traffic demand. Singapore continues exploring “smart solutions” to improve commuting experience and achieve even smoother rides.