We travel on a daily basis – to get to work, school or university, to go shopping or to visit friends. The places we want to – and have to – reach are often far from where we live. And our trips are often hard to combine. For example, there is rarely a supermarket nearby work, so we end up travelling long distances every day and spending a lot of time in traffic.
Many journeys are made by car and the significant expansion of road traffic over recent decades affects smaller towns, as well as the major cities. The upshot of these shifts has been growing noise pollution, a tangible rise in emissions harmful to human health and the earth’s climate, and a deterioration of urban quality of life overall. Growth in delivery traffic – which is not addressed in this contribution – represents another drag on urban quality of life.
On one hand, mobility is fundamental to participation in the life of society; on the other, its current manifestations are eroding quality of life, especially in the cities. People living near busy roads, motorways and airports are exposed to especially high levels of noise and particulate pollution.