No Car City – Idea 71/365

It is amazing how city centres around the world are just full of traffic and car parkings. Even cities like Munich or Tokyo, which have fantastic subway systems, are full of cars. We should stop this.

What if city centres would ban cars all together? Now, I seem to remember that some city in Germany tried this, but have resisted the urge of Googling it. The idea is fairly simple, and something I have thought of for many years. However, it would require an almost fully redeveloped city centre (sadly Christchurch, NZ did not do this after the earthquake).

The city centre would be clearly identified, and no cars (not even delivery trucks) would be allowed into it. Try to imagine a city centre that has no roads, but instead just footpaths, trams, ground escalator (like in airports), bike lanes and possibly golf cart like lanes that would ensure everyone got to their destination quickly. It would be a maze of parks, with trees and small rivers, all around the hopefully green office building (green as in environmentally friendly).

One of the reason cities haven’t done this is that people still prefer to drive. My suggestion would be to phase out the traffic. In other words, provide free trams or buses within the city, and free parking at the outskirt of the city centre. However, if people do want to drive, they would have to pay. That money would go towards building up the no-car city centre. Slowly, people would stop driving into the city – both because of the money, but also as they would soon start to receive some bad publicity – like

a smoker at a dinner table!

Maybe this idea is already irrelevant, with self-driving electric cars coming in the next few months. But even if we had those, the city centres need redeveloping all over the world to account for changed behaviours and needs of its citizens.

Complexity 4 / 5
Viability 2 / 5
Impact 4 / 5
Estimated start-up cost < $1M+

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This post is part of my 365 ideas in 365 days.  Read about it here.
If you want to invest in this idea, execute this idea or some variation on this idea – email me!

If you know of similar idea that already exists as a product, let me know in the comments.

Photo Credit: Alexander Rentsch – captain_die – License 


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