Benefits of Reducing Traffic Congestion in Urban Areas
In 2007, while working as an urban planner in the municipal council in my city, I was among a team which was chosen to ascertain the impact of heavy traffic within the city. For long, the city had been affected by high presence of vehicles in the streets and navigating through the traffic had become hell. There were also few parking spaces, and this too contributed to the heavy presence of traffic as motorist tried to secure places to park their vehicles. Below you will find the benefits of reducing traffic congestion.
In our finding, we discovered that the heavy presence of traffic had a negative impact to our economy, as a lot of time was lost in the jam, which meant that a lot of income was too being lost in the city. Moreover, the air around the city was significantly polluted by the emission from the exhaust gases of the cars, and something needed to be done because of the growing concerns of public health.
To help ease the congestion, there were proposals of constructing several bike paths within the roads that lead to the city. This was a project which took three years to complete. We had estimated that there would be reduction in traffic after the network of bike paths was complete, but that was never the case. About six months after completion of the program we realized that people still weren’t making use of the bike paths as we had anticipated. We decided to investigate what could be the reason for this.
Investing in Cycling Paths to Reduce Traffic
Later, we found out that we hadn’t created more awareness about the need to decongest the roads in the cities. People needed to be sensitized on the reason for construction the bike paths and how their use could help reducing traffic. To emphasize, on this we had to make the residents understand the amount of revenue which was lost each day, while one was stuck in traffic. We had various campaigns which were targeted the residents.
After about three months, about 10% of the cities trips were being made by biking. Still we felt that there was more which needed to be done to encourage the city’s population to embrace bikes as a means of transport. We wanted to find better ways of encouraging more people to use bikes as we targeted more reduction of traffic in the streets.
We held various discussions with other concerned authorities, and then we realized there was need to reduce the levies on the importation and selling of the bikes to encourage more people to buy bikes. It took another four months for the necessary amendments to be made to reduce the levies. Once this was done, we realized that people were now buying more bikes and had started embracing cycling and there was a huge reduction in traffic jams.
Positive Impacts of Low Traffic in Cities
Traffic reduction wasn’t the only benefit of having reserved roads for cycling. We realized that more revenue was being generated in the city and thus our collections also increased. This helped us to find better strategies of improving the living standards of the residents, by having improved services.
Also the investments in the creation of cycling roads enabled the reduction of air pollution, which meant that the residents were at an advantage of benefiting from good health. This had been a big concern since the municipal had initially been using more funds in public hospitals to treat health conditions which were brought about as a result of air pollution. Such funds could now be channeled in other projects meant to benefit the city’s residents.
All in all, within a period of five years, we had greatly improved the living standard of the residents as a result of the biking roads that we had created. More job opportunities had been created, and we were now living in a vibrant city which has numerous opportunities for investors.