Autopia to Utopia? Car-Free Cities

Lockdown saw many more people jumping on bikes and walking – as much as a way to get out of the house as get around – but pollution levels dropped and nature could be heard without the background roar of traffic. Jheni Osman asks if this the way it could or should be? Has this given us a new way of thinking about how we get around and can city leaders bank on this to change the infrastructure to be ‘car free’?

After 100 years of city design being built around the private car, this is a rare opportunity to bank on the behaviour change to reduce pollution, improve air quality and get more of us active. Temporary moves to give over more road space to public transport, bikes and pedestrians may give way to more permanent measures and has accelerated plans for ‘Car Free Cities’. Jheni explores models that have been applied elsewhere, looks at changes coming in across Milan, Bristol and Birmingham and asks what’s needed to make them work? Will we be zooming about on e-scooters and goods transported underground instead? Plans aren’t without cost or controversy but is this a rare moment to make a radical change the new normal?

Presented by Jheni Osman
Produced by Anne-Marie Bullock for BBC Audio in Bristol.

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