Tuesday

26th May 2020

Magazine

Car-sharing's promise of clean cities

  • An alternative transport system proposed by the International Transport Forum would remove traffic congestion from the streets of Lisbon. (Photo: Chris Bentley)

Would you hand in your car, if you knew that public transport in your city could be completely overhauled and made more attractive?

Imagine if you could order a shared taxi with your smartphone, which would bring you door-to-door to your destination, without any transfers. You could book it in real-time, with a maximum waiting time of ten minutes, and you'd share it with a maximum of five others.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Or perhaps you'd opt for the taxi-bus, which you would have to book thirty minutes in advance. It seats 16, and stops a maximum of 300 metres away from the departure point and destination, which a mobile application would show you where these are.

Whether you would give up you car, is a whole other matter. But a recent study showed what would happen to congestion and the environment, if all cars and buses in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon were replaced by shared taxis and shared taxi-buses.

"A car is used for about fifty minutes a day. The rest of the time it is standing still," Jari Kauppila told an audience at an energy conference in Berlin last March, when presenting the results.

The model of an alternative transport system in Lisbon was designed by the International Transport Forum (ITF), which is a think tank with members including all EU countries except Cyprus, operating under the wing of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

"We can deliver the same mobility level with only 3 percent of the vehicles. It is a huge impact," said Kauppila, head of statistics and modelling at the ITF.

The report is called Shared Mobility: Innovation for Liveable Cities, and was partly funded by Uber, as well as by car manufacturers Ford and Volvo.

But the project's coordinator, Philippe Crist, told EUobserver that while the companies were given the opportunity to comment, the authors made the final call on the report's content.

They examined an alternative Lisbon, where transport is provided by two types of shared vehicles: the six-seat shared taxi, and the 16-seat taxi-bus.

Under the ITF's model, railway and subway services would continue to operate as they do now.

The expected results were stunning. "Congestion disappeared, traffic emissions were reduced by one third, and 95% less space was required for public parking in our model city, served by shared taxis and taxi-buses," the report stated.

Even though each car would be travelling 10 times more than at present, the model shows that "total vehicle-kilometres would be 37% less even during peak hours".

As a consequence of the more intensive use of the vehicles, they would have shorter life cycles. But that is a good thing, the authors noted, because it would mean that they are constantly being replaced by more modern – and thus cleaner – vehicles.

And perhaps most importantly, especially for those of us on a budget, the price of travelling would be reduced by 50 percent or more.

This story was originally published in EUobserver's 2017 Business in Europe Magazine.

Click here to read previous editions of our Business in Europe magazine.

Europeans mount bikes to mark World Car-free Day

Tens of thousands of Europeans are expected to take part in the World Car-free Day, an event designed to breathe fresh air into European cities and help cool down the warming planet.

Opinion

Cohesion policy for a stronger Europe

City partnerships and other new initiatives are good examples of how EU cohesion policy funds benefit European citizens.

Opinion

A social Europe needs better housing

EU social and urban policies should be more linked together and involve local authorities, in order to help people find affordable homes.

News in Brief

  1. Johnson: Shops in UK will reopen on 15 June
  2. German doctors: Summer holidays could cause second wave
  3. EU forced to choose between China and US: Borrell
  4. Spain to lift two-week arrival quarantine from July
  5. Germany gives Lufthansa €9bn bailout for equity stake
  6. Volkswagen ordered to pay in landmark 'dieselgate' case
  7. 40 million health workers urge more G20 investment
  8. Jourova: Budget rule-of-law link 'more needed than ever'

Magazine

The Business of Nature

The European Commission plans to unveil a new bioeconomy strategy on Thursday. EUobserver's third edition of Business magazine looked at the many aspects of the bioeconomy – the parts of the economy that use renewable biological resources.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis
  3. UNESDACircularity works, let’s all give it a chance
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers call for post-corona synergies between economic recovery and green transition
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic co-operation on COVID-19
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic research collaboration on pandemics

Latest News

  1. How Kaczyński ruined Poland, judges tell MEPs
  2. EU data protection rules abused to censor media
  3. Draft EU 'green recovery' plan amid clash over natural gas
  4. Clock is ticking: 300,000 vs 3.3m Covid-19 Africa deaths?
  5. Recovery plans unveiled This WEEK
  6. EU and UK stumbling into Irish border crisis
  7. Malta patrol boat 'intimidates' capsized migrants
  8. How coronavirus might hit EU defence spending

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking Europe’s Economy Circular – the time is now
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  3. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  4. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us