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Soft Mobility and Urban Transformation Soft Mobility and Urban Transformation

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Author(s): Rosa Anna La Rocca

Journal: TeMA : Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment
ISSN 1970-9889

Volume: 2;
Date: 2010;
Original page

ABSTRACT
This paper examines some European cases referred to promotion of soft mobility as a new lifestyle aimed to improve benefits on environment and urban liveability. Soft mobility includes any non-motorized transport (human powered mobility). According to this, soft mobility refers to pedestrian, bicycle, roller skate and skateboard transfers. It could be indented as “zeroimpact” mobility too. As a matter of fact, the words to define this way of moving have not been codified yet, therefore mobilitè douce, soft mobility, slow traffic are synonymous in referring mainly to pedestrians and cyclists to indicate alternative to car use. Soft mobility, indeed, can be defined as a special form of sustainable mobility able to optimize urban liveability, by keeping the individual right to move. At present, cities are engaged in defining policies, procedures and interventions to further “slow traffic”, both to relieve the traffic congestion, and to work for regeneration and environmental improvements. This asks for an in-depth cooperation between different political and administrative levels to achieve common objectives of development more attentive to environmental concerns. Despite this increasing attention, the idea of a “network” for soft mobility has not been yet achieved and the supply of integrated facilities and services as an alternative to the car use seems to be still difficult of accomplishment. High disparity characterizes European countries in promoting soft mobility: despite a prolific production of laws and roles referred to emergency of adopting alternative ways of moving to minimize negatives impacts (especially air and noise pollution as very threat to health) due to car dependence for urban short distance too. And yet, soft mobility could represent a real occasion of urban and territorial regeneration aimed to rehabilitate some disused paths and routes (greenways). Some successful European cases show how it is possible to capitalize territorial resources by promoting alternative way to visit them. Tourist and leisure activities, in fact, are probably the most suitable to improve a car-free lifestyle. Some pilot projects carried out in alpine regions, for instance, propose to integrate public transport supply with tourist demand of visiting different destinations. “Soft mobility” should be a different way of thinking about mobility and its impact on environment. This is what this article try to underline giving an overview of some European cases of public policies aimed at supporting soft mobility.This paper examines some European cases referred to promotion of soft mobility as a new lifestyle aimed to improve benefits on environment and urban liveability. Soft mobility includes any non-motorized transport (human powered mobility). According to this, soft mobility refers to pedestrian, bicycle, roller skate and skateboard transfers. It could be indented as “zeroimpact” mobility too. As a matter of fact, the words to define this way of moving have not been codified yet, therefore mobilitè douce, soft mobility, slow traffic are synonymous in referring mainly to pedestrians and cyclists to indicate alternative to car use. Soft mobility, indeed, can be defined as a special form of sustainable mobility able to optimize urban liveability, by keeping the individual right to move. At present, cities are engaged in defining policies, procedures and interventions to further “slow traffic”, both to relieve the traffic congestion, and to work for regeneration and environmental improvements. This asks for an in-depth cooperation between different political and administrative levels to achieve common objectives of development more attentive to environmental concerns. Despite this increasing attention, the idea of a “network” for soft mobility has not been yet achieved and the supply of integrated facilities and services as an alternative to the car use seems to be still difficult of accomplishment. High disparity characterizes European countries in promoting soft mobility: despite a prolific production of laws and roles referred to emergency of adopting alternative ways of moving to minimize negatives impacts (especially air and noise pollution as very threat to health) due to car dependence for urban short distance too. And yet, soft mobility could represent a real occasion of urban and territorial regeneration aimed to rehabilitate some disused paths and routes (greenways). Some successful European cases show how it is possible to capitalize territorial resources by promoting alternative way to visit them. Tourist and leisure activities, in fact, are probably the most suitable to improve a car-free lifestyle. Some pilot projects carried out in alpine regions, for instance, propose to integrate public transport supply with tourist demand of visiting different destinations. “Soft mobility” should be a different way of thinking about mobility and its impact on environment. This is what this article try to underline giving an overview of some European cases of public policies aimed at supporting soft mobility.
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