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Zurich revamps road to attract more e-bikes

Zurich revamps road to attract more e-bikes
Zurich revamps road to attract more e-bikes

Imagine a city where only e-bikes move in between small pathways, where the air is crystal clear, and you can hear the chirping of birds. This is a vision researchers are exploring through a project to determine how viable it would be for an ‘e-bike city’ in Zurich. 

But what would it take to change into eco-friendly e-bike cities, and what infrastructure changes would have to be made? 

According to available data, 80% of urban street space is reserved for cars or parking areas. But why would these researchers be looking at Zurich specifically? It turns out 37% of its streets today are suitable for conversion to bike lanes, green spaces, and pavements accommodating bikes. 

Just because it may be viable still doesn’t indicate whether the community will buy into this idea and cultural shift. 

What are Zurich researchers searching for?

Nine ETH Zurich and EPF Lausanne professors have been working hard to explore these same questions. Imagining what this would look like, they began mapping the vision in ink, sketching what a greener future might look like. 

The professors envision how people can reclaim “half the city’s road space” on e-bikes, cargo bikes, e-scooters, or walking. 

Only 12% of our cities today are earmarked for e-bikes and bicycles. Mostly, cyclists and e-bikers share the roads with cars.

The main idea

The research team hopes to take 50% of the road space from parked cars and return it to pedestrians, cyclists, and others using e-bikes, cargo bikes, or e-scooters. These models take up less space.

Here are the draft plans:

  1. Half of every street will be converted to safe and comfortable infrastructure for micro-mobility users.
  2. The other half provides basic access for motorized vehicles through a network of one-way streets.
  3. Public transport can operate along existing corridors with similar or higher speeds than today. Its capacity responds to the demand.
  4. The overall organization discourages motorized traffic through neighborhoods, creating safe and quiet spaces for local communities.

But what about emergency vehicles, taxis, and other road users? The researchers believe that with more people living car-free, greener transportation will gradually replace on-street parking.

Every building remains accessible by motorized vehicles, including taxis and transport services, emergency vehicles, and service providers. There will be short-term parking for pick-up and drop-off to allow quick delivery and taxi services. 

The plan will enhance urban livability while reducing congestion. It will also promote greener, more efficient modes of transportation.

About the author

Mia is a multi-award-winning journalist. She has more than 14 years of experience in mainstream media. She's covered many historic moments that happened in Africa and internationally. She has a strong focus on human interest stories, to bring her readers and viewers closer to the topics at hand.

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