And any attempts to reduce urban car use tend to do better when designed from the bottom up. Barcelona’s “superblocks” programme, which takes sets of nine blocks within its grid system and limits cars to the roads around the outside of the set (as well as reducing speed limits and removing on-street parking) was shaped by having resident input on every stage of the process, from design to implementation. Early indicators suggest the policy has been wildly popular with residents, has seen nitrogen dioxide air pollution fall by 25 percent in some areas, and will prevent an estimated 667 premature deaths each year, saving an estimated 1.7 billion euros.
Wired UK has recently published an interesting article on London’s effort to reduce the number of motorists in its inner city and why in general, People Hate the Idea of Car-Free Cities—Until They Live in One. Of course, my favourite city Barcelona is a prime example of how to implement a working solution without aggressive opposition or a big backlash from the residents.