5. Car free city area in Dutch policy papers

Recently three Governmental Notes have been published to which the ideas of car free city areas must be related:

* Note on Traffic and Environment (MAW, MVROM, December 1987)

* Fourth Note on Physical Planning (MVROM, March 1988)

* Second Structural Framework Traffic and Transportation part a: policy plans (MAW, November 1988)

The concern about mobility development in relation to economic interests, environmental factors and quality of life is strongly emphasized in these three Notes. Next to policy plans and proposed measures to reduce the negative effects of car traffic, attention is focussed on car traffic magnitude also.

Below follows a brief enumeration of objectives, policy plans and (as far as indicated in the Notes) means, to which the concept of car free city areas relates. Elements of special importance are italicized.

Note on Traffic and Environment

In the Note on Traffic and Environment three "tracks" are set:

* Sharpening of emission requirements for motor vehicles

* Growth of car mobility

* Urban traffic and environment

The Note Traffic and Environment ascertains car mobility growth in combination with in European Union context maximum attainable sharpening of emission requirements will overtake the targets for acidification and photochemical air pollution around the year 2000. Without limiting mobility growth a 50% reduction of vehicle emission would be necessary, which is technically deemed impossible. For this reason it is concluded the (growth of) car mobility must be forcefully slowed down. The greatest effect is expected from a coherent block of measures, road pricing tax measures parking limitations (home/work), increasing public transportation appeal and optimal use of possibilities offered by physical planning.

Besides these more general measures at local level attention is required for a physical planning policy stimulating the center-function of cities and turning the use of public transportation into an attractive alternative to the car. Other points of attention are: a still sharper use of parking policy, influencing the route choice and traffic handling, indicating routes for freight through traffic, measurement of traffic quantity on access roads to the centers, influencing motorists driving conduct. Together the proposed measures must realize the objective of decreasing car use with 25%.

Fourth Note on Physical Planning

Fourth Note objectives and policy plans which relate to the car free city area are:

* Changes in daily environment:

- residence: to avoid expensive special spatial demands for new construction elsewhere risking suburbanisation and still more mobility (compare to saving of spatial use in car free city areas)

- public space: discouraging decay, pollution and insecurity; increasing spatial quality of public space

- guiding mobility development: limiting commuting car traffic and other non business car mobility;

for large construction sites seriously taking into account the connection with public transport facilities;

to achieve and enforce high quality public transportation; influencing traffic flows and parking;

- meticulous handling of raw materials and waste: in view of the fact that energy is expensive, waste processing requires space and squandering and polluting affect environmental quality (compare to energy saving and more than 3700 cars less per 6 to 7 years in car free plan)

* Elements of physical planning development perspective:

- urban ring central Netherlands: actively reinforcing physical planning diversity: offering diversity to residence environment.

Second Structural Framework Traffic and Transportation.

In the structural framework four different coherent points of view may be distinguished the so called 'panels'.

Particularly the 2nd panel, guiding mobility, is thought to be of vital importance to realize the other objectives and policy plans. For each panel several "tracks" are set out which for every track in its turn results in 'projects'.

A car free city area may contribute to the following panels, tracks and projects:

Panel 1: Accessibility improvement.

Track 2: public transportation accessibility improvement.

Project 09: improvement urban areas public transportation.

(A car free city area makes - anyhow within the city area - high quality public transportation possible. The increased use results in higher revenues for public transportation).

Project 11: improvement integration public transportation and bicycle.

(the car free city area has an increased use of bicycle and public transportation; there is space and input of money and personnel for facilities for the benefit of bicycle/public transportation users).

Panel 2: Mobility guidance.

Track 8: residence, work, recreation and facilities concentration.

Project 64: tuning of traffic and transportation policy to housing construction locations for the benefit of compact housing-construction well accessible for high quality public transportation.

(the car free city area has a high quality public transportation structure, compact housing construction, i.e. an optimal density articulation)

Track 9: flattening of traffic and transportation peaks.

(the car free city area effectuates a reduction of the number of car drives as well commuting as recreational)

Track 11: influencing behavior to render traffic participants conscious of the social aspects of their choices and behavior in traffic and transportation.

(the car free city area reveals a number of consequences both social and individual)

Panel 3: Livability improvement

Track 12: air pollution abatement

(the car free city area has less car movements and as a result causes a reduction in emission)

Track 13: fossil fuels use abatement.

(the car free city area decreases the use of gasoline, diesel and LPG)

Track 14: Noise pollution abatement.

(the car free city area is a "silent" residential area)

Track 15: traffic unsafety abatement.

(the car free city area is a traffic safe environment.

Because of the decreased number of car kilometers outside the city area it also contributes to traffic safety outside the area).

Project 107: hierarchical traffic structure: traffic safe and adequate main roads and residing areas

(the car free city area has a clear layout of traffic and residing functions. Major parts in the area have none or hardly any motorized traffic).

Project 108: traffic safety in the streets: reduction of number of traffic victims.

Project 109: reduced risk mopeds/bicycles

(the car free city area offers an extensive and safe bicycle infrastructure)

Track 16: limiting spatial demand by roads and and abatement rural area fragmentation.

(the car free city area requires less road infrastructure and is space-saving)

Track 17: improvement of urban environment by reduction of car traffic growth in urban areas, stimulating bicycle use, parking measures

Project 117: Tin cans removed from the streets: abatement of parking on public roads.

Panel 4: Supporting measures.

Track 23: coordinating fundamental and strategic research on transportation and infrastructure

Project 136: reinforcement strategic and fundamental research

(the car free city area may be one of the strategic tools to bring closer the realization of objectives specified).

It may be concluded the car free city area links up very well with a great number of the objectives and policy plans mentioned in the Notes. The car free city area is also very effective, but at National level the effects are quantitatively modest.

Even when realizing a rather great number of car free residential city areas the car environments have superior numbers.

The high effectiveness however which may still increase as the phenomenon of "car free city area" is increasingly applied, stimulates the possibility of an average 25% reduction in car mobility. After all this intended reduction is not expected to be uniformly spread over

The Netherlands: some regions will contribute less, others (from sheer necessity) may and must contribute more.

In this context it is to be observed the effect of the car free location examined - anyhow in regard of emissions - is as large as a 25% reduction in car use in cities like Amstelveen, Gouda, Vlissingen, Purmerend, Almere or Lelystad (approx. 24000 residences).

Realization of 10 car free city areas of the same size as the location examined has - as far as regards traffic emissions - the same effect as a 10% reduced car use in a population of 1.400.000 individuals.

A second rather important aspect are the fringe benefits: saving on costs, space, road-safety, a better public transportation basis and a contribution to more differentiated residence environments.

The third aspect to be mentioned is the effects attained by a car free city area, does not cost the State - i.e. society - money but rather saves money. The same applies to inhabitants of a car free city area.

This, combined with the fact that car driving will become more expensive as a consequence of measures proposed in the Notes, gives the car free city area a financially favorable competing position vis à vis authorities as well as vis à vis the inhabitants.

This perspective will in future probably enlarge the social feasibility of the car free city area.

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