September 29, 2020

Pandemic Lockdowns Lead to Less Traffic and Better Air

“Transportation is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the world and is the fastest-growing,” Ms. Duncan said. “By redesigning streets, cities can quickly tackle the urgent crises of climate change and road safety at the same time. The best global solutions have immediate local impacts.”

Janette Sadik-Khan, a former commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation and now transportation principal at Bloomberg Associates, which advises mayors around the world, noted that cities were undergoing “a street design” revolution. “There is a straight line between what happens on city roads and global climate change.”

“There are 1.3 million traffic deaths annually and another 4.2 million deaths attributed to pollution,” said Ms. Sadik-Khan, who is also chair of the Global Designing Cities Initiative. “Streets that are safe for people also support the health of the planet.”

“If your goal is to save the planet, you can start by building a bike lane,” Ms. Sadik-Khan said.

Bloomberg Associates and the Global Designing Cities Initiative work, separately and in collaboration, with cities to encourage smart street design using a mix of strategies: reducing speed limits, increasing traffic enforcement and education, constructing pedestrian plazas and traffic calming measures, investing in infrastructure and public transit (including cleaner public transit vehicles), and building and expanding protected bike lanes and bike share programs.

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