It is no secret that vehicles running on fossil fuels account for a significant portion of airborne pollution. In small cities like Gibraltar this escalates, one only needs to go as far as looking at the residue on our plants or buildings to notice that something is not quite right. This is what our lungs are taking in. Pollution aside, we also have traffic and parking problems.
Living in a city where everything is within a walking distance of about a maximum of 20 minutes is a blessing. Despite this, we will often drive to even the closest locations. We are a very comfortable community. However, if we moved away from the 'I drive because I can' attitude we would unlock a better Gibraltar. A Gibraltar with less pollution, safer roads, no parking problems and perhaps most importantly healthier and happier inhabitants. Given our size (about 7km2), we are uniquely positioned to set a global example in terms of transport.
Asides from the general excuses, we have one problem - steep hills and blistering heat. For most, the idea of walking or cycling for their daily commute and reaching their destination looking somewhat like they do after a jog is not welcome. The obvious solution is electric transport, be it a scooter or bicycle. These vehicles adapt perfectly to the local landscape, providing a clean, efficient and comfortable means of transport.
The recent decision to close Line Wall Road for a pilot scheme to encourage more efficient means of transport has faced much scrutiny, including of course a petition against it. However, one wonders whether the silent majority welcomes the move. One thing is for certain, it is a step in the right direction. If all commuters who do not need to drive simply walked or embraced new forms of transport, life would be better for all of us.
Of course not everyone can walk/ cycle etc., some have children/ dependants and others have health issues. Therefore, it is also vital to have an efficient public transport system. With less every day traffic on our roads, our public transport could be developed, and imagine how efficient it could be!
Cities have the potential to be a key driver for electrifying transport. But they can only be smart when all the systems are truly integrated and come together to provide a city that’s more efficient, more sustainable, and more livable. To achieve this, societies need to embrace the transport revolution in two ways.