THE car could be facing a future where it is banned from cities – no matter how clean it is.
According to one leading expert car manufacturers need to take more notice of the ways cities plan to tackle congestion and pollution problems. Manufacturers need to get involved in other means of public transport, or they could be left out in the cold, with a very bleak future.
“Cities around the world make announcements, almost weekly, describing their strategy to eliminate the car from their central avenues and streets,” says Dr Robin Daniels, chief executive of smart mobility experts, Magma Innovations.
“In December Madrid announced that 24 major streets are to be ‘radically overhauled’, with car lanes removed, bike lanes added and trees planted to make them cool and shady,” he adds.
According to Daniels, such programmes will lead to a new hierarchy in which pedestrians come first, then public transport, then bikes, with cars at the bottom. “Overall, 66 per cent of the affected street surface in Madrid will be given over to people on foot.
“Meanwhile the automotive OEMs are, by their own admission, struggling to define their role in these integrated and connected cities of the future.”
Daniels’ comments come in response to a speech by Ford CEO Alan Mulally during last week’s Detroit Motor Show, in which he pointed the Blue Oval towards more involvement in public transport.
Mullaly said that Ford would look to play a bigger role in public transport vehicles and integrated transport solutions, which Daniels suggests is not good news for the car.