Transforming city centres into areas that prioritise pedestrians, cyclists and public transport brings social, environmental and economic benefits to city centres, according to a report by Transform Scotland.
It analysed Oslo’s Bilfritt Byliv (Car-Free City Life) scheme and believes a similar scheme could work in Glasgow, which has a population of 590,507 (compared to Oslo’s 650,000).
It suggests that the Scottish Government, which has committed to reducing car mileage by 20% by 2030, should look at how car-free interventions have worked in Europe, citing Bremen, Germany; Lund, Sweden; and Enschede, Netherlands as other “scalable examples”.
Crucial to any scheme’s success, however, is the commitment of city centre business, according to Transform Scotland.
The report, Open for Business, identifies a series of recommendations for gaining business support, including the need for local authorities to be flexible and open to amending proposals, having a comprehensive communication strategy early on, gathering and sharing information on the economic impact, and integrating a car-free city centre into wider strategies for urban development.
Jamie Wylie, author of the report and spokesperson for Transform Scotland, said: “The devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic faced by businesses have shown more than ever that we must transform our city centres.
“The Open for Business report shows that car-free city centres bring positive change to our local businesses.
“Scotland can learn from our friends in Europe how to design and deliver car-free city centres to best meet the needs of our businesses, which will bring wider benefit not just to the environment, to the businesses themselves but to our communities as well.”
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