Inspirational changes for a better Europe
EU CONNECTEDInspirational changes for a better Europe
Walking has so many benefits – it doesn’t just enable us to get from A to B, but also improves our mental and physical health.
Will Norman, London’s walking and cycling commissioner
LONDON WANTS TO BECOME THE WORLD’S MOST WALKABLE CITY
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan continues with actions towards his goal of making London the world’s most walkable city. 18 pedestrian crossings in London will be programmed to show a continuous green person signal until traffic approaches to prioritise people walking, meaning the green light will be shown until a vehicle is detected, making it easier for people to cross the road and enabling more journeys on foot.
Transport for London (TfL) stated that this technology will be in place by the end of this month. It has already been delivered on seven locations, while the other 11 will be ready next week. This will help make the capital’s transport network even more sustainable and support a green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
Will Norman, London’s walking and cycling commissioner, said: “Walking has so many benefits – it doesn’t just enable us to get from A to B, but also improves our mental and physical health. We know that safety is a key concern for people walking around London, and giving pedestrians priority is a powerful way of putting them first and making it easier to cross London’s roads. By combining this with creating extra pavement space and ensuring roadworks are carried out in a way that doesn’t disrupt Londoners, we will make our city the world’s most walkable and eradicate collisions on our streets.”
Since the start of the pandemic, the number of journeys made on foot has significantly increased: TfL’s data show that more than 30% of Londoners say they are walking to places where they used to travel by a different mode, and 57 per cent say they now go on more walks for exercise or walk for longer than previously.
TfL continues to identify new locations where Green Person Authority crossings can be introduced and the goal is to increase their number over the coming years.
Photo: Albrecht Fietz for Pixabay
City of the month
Copenhagen is recognized as one of the most environmentally friendly cities in the world. As a result of its commitment to high environmental standards, Copenhagen has been praised for its green economy, ranked as the top green city for the second time in the 2014 Global Green Economy Index (GGEI).
In 2001, a large offshore wind farm was built just off the coast of Copenhagen at Middelgrunden. It produces about 4% of the city’s energy. Years of substantial investment in sewage treatment have improved water quality in the harbour to an extent that the inner harbour can be used for swimming with facilities at a number of locations. Copenhagen aims to be carbon-neutral by 2025. Commercial and residential buildings are to reduce electricity consumption by 20 percent and 10 percent respectively, and total heat consumption is to fall by 20 percent by 2025. Renewable energy features such as solar panels are becoming increasingly common in the newest buildings in Copenhagen. District heating will be carbon-neutral by 2025, by waste incineration and biomass. New buildings must now be constructed according to Low Energy Class ratings and in 2020 near net-zero energy buildings. By 2025, 75% of trips should be made on foot, by bike, or by using public transit. The city plans that 20–30% of cars will run on electricity or biofuel by 2025. The investment is estimated at $472 million public funds and $4.78 billion private funds.
The city’s urban planning authorities continue to take full account of these priorities. Special attention is given both to climate issues and efforts to ensure maximum application of low-energy standards. Priorities include sustainable drainage systems, recycling rainwater, green roofs and efficient waste management solutions. In city planning, streets and squares are to be designed to encourage cycling and walking rather than driving. Furthermore, the city administration is working with smart city initiatives to improve how data and technology can be used to implement new solutions that support the transition toward a carbon-neutral economy. These solutions support operations covered by the city administration to improve e.g. public health, district heating, urban mobility and waste management systems. Smart city operations in Copenhagen are maintained by Copenhagen Solutions Lab, the city’s official smart-city development unit under the Technical and Environmental Administration.