1. Conception and verification of car free city area.

Society is confronted more and more with problems which are caused as a result of strong growth in car mobility.

The environment, traffic safety, congestion in traffic handling and the negative influence on the quality of life in cities and villages are increasingly often the cause for discussions to which extent and in which manner private car traffic should be limited. This research takes part in the discussion from a specific point of view, to wit the limitation of car mobility by means of a car free city area. This notion is not new, but insofar as it has been elaborated, it has been limited to studies of possible in's and out's and feasibility. The present research project goes one step beyond this scope by preparing a concrete draft for a car free city area. To enhance the reality value the choice has been made of an existing location for a large housing construction project. In addition to providing a realistic image of a car free city area, it is feasible to obtain rather detailed data on the basis of this draft about important conditions and drafting principles of a car free city area and on the effects to be expected from this car free city area.

Developing the car free city area draft, three basic principles have been taken into account:

* The city area must be geared to car property amounting to not more then 10% of the usual car property for the city area concerned.

* The car free character should not entail a substantial affect on inhabitant mobility, nor on inhabitant accessibility. Also for goods and services traffic the impediments should be minimal.

* Insofar as possible, the requirements program in reality applicable to the location concerned should be adopted.

The first principle is made concrete by reducing 'normal' car property of 37% (for individuals aged 18 years and older) to 3.7%.

The choice has been made for a concept in which "car free" means 90% of residences are occupied by households which do not (cannot) possess a car, while 10% of the residences are occupied by households in which standard car property is applicable. The latter category is concentrated in 4 locations on the outer fringes of the city area.

The second principle signifies favorable conditions should be created for the accessibility and the use of public transportation. This has such influence on public transportation line scheduling, on urban development planning and on the relationship between these two aspects, as to result in a need for a specifically geared spatial and functional structure.

As the actual existing plan for the research location does not satisfy this requirement, for this research project use has been made of a different urban development plan, based on optimum use of public transportation. This so called 'base plan', which takes as point of departure standard car property, is transformed to the ultimate 'car free plan' by applying the required alterations to infrastructure and technical facilities of the city area.

The third principle is met by departing from the same programmed elements which are also in reality applicable to the new housing construction project. However, one important exception is made: the amount of stacked residences is increased from 24% to 42% and concentrated in the vicinity of bus and streetcar stops. The research into the effects of the car free city area is aimed at:

* Environment - noise, air pollution, space use and energy

* Mobility - freedom of movement, accessibility

* Costs - land costs, construction costs, management costs

* Urban development aspects - land use, urban development quality

* Public housing aspects - number of residences, residence differentiation, lack of occupancy risks

* Management - maintenance, enforcement car free character

For determination of a number of effects a so called 'representative cut' of the car free plan has been compared to an identical 'representative cut' of the base plan. Therefore it was not necessary to execute labor intensive calculations for the entire planning area. Apart from comparing the car free plan with the base plan it would have been interesting to compare the car free plan with the actual applicable plan. This comparison has been obstructed by the laborious nature of making the plans comparable.

For determination of effects a verification context is set up, in which account is given of the monitoring method and the evaluation criteria applied. Some of these verifications are quantitatively aimed, others - inevitably - are more descriptive by nature.

It has been necessary for both verification categories to make assumptions and/or to interpret other research made use of. The results of this verification must be viewed in the first place to be indicative for the effects to be expected from a car free city area.

The verification indicates for a car free city area a significant reduction in car mobility, emissions and energy consumption in comparison to a non car free city area. Also positive social effects are connected thereto. In addition the land costs in a car free plan are less, but on the other hand the car free character enforcement costs increase considerably. Nonetheless at the research location the balance is an impressive saving, by which further improvements in living conditions and social climate may be realized.
By this the car free plan may possess a number of very attractive qualities, as counter weight to possibly lacking a car.

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