World cities with ambitious plans to tackle air pollution
Two more German cities — Essen and Gelsenkirchen — are to join the list of urban areas set to ban older diesel vehicles. Europe's plans to tackle pollution are familiar, but other countries are also stepping up efforts.
Chengdu makes it easier to walk
China's biggest cities are choking from the effects of air pollution. In Chengdu, the fifth largest city, officials are trying to make walking easier and quicker than driving in one new upscale residential area. The plan is for at least 50 percent of the roads in the area to be car free. It'll be possible to walk to vital amenities in 15 minutes. China is building nearly 300 eco-cities in total.
Car-free days pioneered in Bogota
Colombia's capital, Bogota, has possibly the world's most advanced bus transportation system. Car drivers have been second-class citizens since 1974 when the city's mayor ordered the closure of over 120 kilometers (75 miles) of roads to vehicles on one day every week. By adding hundreds of kilometers of cycle lanes, the city has encouraged a doubling in the number of cyclists on non-car days.
Cars surplus to requirements in Songdo
The South Korean city of Incheon's international business district, Songdo, is planning to prioritize mass transit and cycling over cars. Extra wide roads have been built to allow more cycle paths to run alongside public transport. Most residential buildings are being built a short walking distance from key amenities.The construction of the "smart city" is due to be completed in 2020.
California leads US states towards cleaner air
San Francisco plans to ban all cars from Market Street, a main thoroughfare through the city, by 2020. Under the proposals, mass transit schemes will be more easily accessible. The area will also be made more bike and pedestrian-friendly. The US state of California is one of several states, cities and countries planning an all-out ban on fossil-fuel vehicles within the next 25 years.
Mexico City in the pink of health
Mexico City used to be the most polluted city in the world but has since followed Bogota's example by banning all vehicles on certain days of the week. That has led to an improvement in air quality. The Mexican capital has now vowed to ban all diesel cars by 2025.
India trials electric rickshaws
Levels of air pollution and smog regularly go off the scale in India's capital, New Delhi. Electric rickshaws will hopefully help alleviate the problem. By 2030, all new vehicles will be electrically powered and the city will phase out gas powered vehicles, if manufacturers can produce more economical electric cars. Author: Nik Martin