"Cities around the world are coming to the same conclusion: they’d be better off with far fewer cars. So what’s behind this seismic shift in our urban lifestyles? Stephen Moss goes on an epic (car-free) journey to find out"
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"Gilles Vesco calls it the 'new mobility'. It’s a vision of cities in which residents no longer rely on their cars but on public transport, shared cars and bikes and, above all, on real-time data on their smartphones. He anticipates a revolution which will transform not just transport but the cities themselves. 'The goal is to rebalance the public space and create a city for people,' he says. 'There will be less pollution, less noise, less stress; it will be a more walkable city.'
"Vesco, the politician responsible for sustainable transport in Lyon, played a leading role in introducing the city’s Vélo'v bike-sharing scheme a decade ago. It has since been replicated in cities all over the world. Now, though, he is convinced that digital technology has changed the rules of the game, and will make possible the move away from cars that was unimaginable when Vélo'v launched in May 2005. 'Digital information is the fuel of mobility,' he says. 'Some transport sociologists say that information about mobility is 50% of mobility. The car will become an accessory to the smartphone.'
"Vesco is nothing if not an evangelist. 'Sharing is the new paradigm of urban mobility. Tomorrow, you will judge a city according to what it is adding to sharing. The more that we have people sharing transportation modes, public space, information and new services, the more attractive the city will be'."