Fast Company discusses how Cars have run their course in U.S. cities. Here’s what’s next. “Cars are guests.” And they’re no longer welcome.
Sticking closer to home because of COVID-19 has shown many people what cities can be like with less traffic, noise, congestion, and pollution. Roads and parking lots devoted to cars take up a lot of land. For example, in Phoenix, Los Angeles, and New York City, these spaces account for over one-third of each city’s total area.
When stay-at-home orders went into effect in many parts of the U.S. in March, streets and parking lots went dormant seemingly overnight. Within days, municipalities across the U.S. started shifting these spaces to other uses that better suit people.
As a professor of environmental design and transport, I’ve worked for decades to unravel the many factors that keep people reliant on cars, SUVs, and trucks. Weather, time constraints, children—there are many reasons that prevent people from using transportation modes such as bicycles. Yet with a simple first step—starting to reconfigure city streets—meaningful change can begin to break down traditional transportation barriers and usher in a new culture of getting around town by means other than cars.