Private mobility is not going away any time soon

Presence of cars as heat sources and ubiquitous presence of asphalts lead to ground surface temperatures above 50 deg C. (We measured 51.6 at midday in September. They would be possibly higher in mid summer months!) _Image courtesy of Foster & Partners



On the 25th of February 2011, MIC took part in the first edition of the Qatar Motor Show in Doha. “Being a speaker at the conference was a very interesting experience, it allowed us to look at the car industry from the manufacturers’ perspective. It is clear from talking to automotive industry representatives that there is very little concern for the current urban planning discourse regarding car dependence in cities and the need to reduce car usage”, said Federico Parolotto – Senior Partner at MIC, “in spite of the worldwide economic crisis, automobile production is expected to start growing again, mainly by responding to demand coming from the Far East where car ownership rates are still very low compared to western standards”.

Cars will evolve profoundly due to the need to reduce CO2 emission and energy consumption – and they will also change to better the existing communication technology, substituting the current CD player and radio with a seamlessly integrated technology hub.


The images shows the coolth of the prt which is AC inside. You can also note that they produce less heat than conventional automobiles_Image courtesy of Foster & Partners


The presence of the car in metropolitan areas will endure, particularly considering that even a city like Copenhagen, which is actively trying to reduce the share of total car trips to 1/3, is struggling to achieve results. It is clear that the love affair between man and car is far from over.

While continuing to work on reducing car traffic, the transport planning industry needs to respond to this reality, rather than fight a lost cause for car-free cities or radical reconfiguration of mobility patterns that envisages a major decrease in private transport.

Transport planners will have to focus on harmonising the presence of the car in the city rather than negating it, re-negotiating the use of space dedicated to private vehicles in the car-dominated approach to planning that characterised the 70s and 80s.

Streets will have to be designed holistically, using from a performance-based approach and understanding the micro-environment and the balance in the use of space between pedestrians, bicycles, public transport, and cars.


Image courtesy of Foster & Partners


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