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Cities Around the World Are Becoming Much Less Car Friendly, and That's a Good Thing

Despite improved technology for low and no-emission vehicles, cities are aiming to reduce or eliminate cars from their roadways. The reduction of pollution and quality of life if people used pedestrian walkways, bike paths and public transportation is motivating major changes for urban planning.

Traffic on highway at Avenida in S?o Paulo. (Getty Images)

Despite recent technological developments in electric, hybrid and autonomous vehicles, many cities are opting to clear their roadways of automobiles to make way for alternative forms of transportation. While increasing pedestrian, cycling and public transportation routes does reduce pollution, it also creates a more convenient, pleasant way to travel through a city center than sitting in grid-locked traffic.

Conquering pollution by limiting emissions

According to World Health Organization statistics, approximately three million deaths each year are connected to air pollution, a large percentage of that stemming from car exhaust. As a result of this public health risk, many cities are focusing their efforts on reducing or eliminating gas or diesel cars from the streets. Leading the way in this effort is Oxford, whose plan will create a zero-emissions zone in the city’s center by 2020. Paris will follow with a gas and diesel ban in 2030. Tokyo has already banned all diesel cars, with London scheduled for 2020 and Copenhagen one year earlier, beginning in 2019.

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