It’s finally the time of year when the trees are blooming, the grass is getting greener, and people are spending more time outdoors.
But is there space for everyone? According to research, 80% of roads and streets belong to vehicles in most cities. This means there’s only 20% left for pedestrians.
But now’s the time to take our streets back — and our new spring merch collection will help you find the Keys to your city in style.
Wear a new merch item and show the world that pavements are made for walking, socialising, reading, writing, painting, playing chess, or becoming a skipping rope pro.
To unlock even more potential that streets have to offer, our spring collection includes a chessboard, camping chair, skipping rope and an art kit. Do you see how much potential our streets have without private cars in the way?
Continue reading if you’d like to get your hands on Bolt’s spring clothing and accessory collection!
We’re not anti-car, just pro-people
Owning a car may give someone a feeling of independence, comfort, or privacy when moving around. But what makes us question private car ownership is that vehicles are parked 95% of the time.
Just think about it — 80% of space is given to vehicles that are static 95% of the time! This dead metal is chewing up city space that could be given to bikes, people, pets, and prams.
The idea that you can only have independence with a private vehicle comes at a high cost to the owner and society in general.
For a car owner, the costs come in the form of insurance payments, fuel, maintenance and parking fees for a vehicle used for about an hour a day.
For cities, it means we often can’t find room for greenery — something that’s pleasing to the eye and vital for our health and mental well-being. And as obvious as it is, the shift away from car ownership will help make cities more liveable and people happier.
Run the streets and own the sidewalks
The statistics aren’t necessarily on the pedestrians’ side, but there’s still hope that we can take back city space for people.
Luckily, there are cities and organisations whose mission is to build cities for people, not cars. For example, there’s Gehl, whose purpose is to develop equitable, healthy, and sustainable cities for all.
Or there’s the 15-minute City Project, whose goal is to make cities work for everyone. As they say: “Everyone living in a city should have access to essential urban services within a 15-minute walk or bike.” We couldn’t agree more!
To get an idea of what our pavements could be used for, check out the art project Park(ing) Day. The project shows us that streets are made for much more than just walking and that we shouldn’t give them up.
In addition to stealing our city space, cars pollute the environment, cause traffic jams and generally make city life a headache — we’re sure you’ve heard it all before.
But if you haven’t, here are some scary statistics:
So, why do people keep using cars? Well, they let us come and go as we please, and that’s why, for many, they’re worth the trouble they cause. But are they worth spending 17 hours a year looking for a parking spot?
What if there was an alternative? What if we could have some of the benefits of cars without pollution, traffic, and general irritation?
Let’s explore some possible solutions:
- Public transportation – Buses, trains, and metros move large numbers of people quickly and with less pollution. Public transport’s been shown to produce 76% less greenhouse gas emissions per passenger mile than an average single-occupancy vehicle.
- Ride-hailing and carpooling – Isn’t it better to have one car serve multiple people rather than one person per car? For the environment, it sure is!
The Bolt ride-hailing app helps 100 million customers globally to reach their destination quickly and affordably.
- Cycling – Oh, the good old bicycle. This traditional means of transport is good for your health and the environment. Cycling can reduce carbon emissions and improve urban air quality, even if you choose it over car rides just once a week!
- Electric scooters & e-bikes – Bicycles are great, but what if you want to show up to an important meeting without breaking a sweat? Electric scooters and e-bikes are a great solution while also being environmentally friendly.
And what’s better, you don’t have to buy one! Just unlock a scooter with the Bolt app and leave it at your destination (well parked) for the next person to use.
- Walking – 30 minutes of walking a day can reduce stress and anxiety and improve your cardiovascular fitness while producing zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. So instead of taking a car to work or the shop, consider walking as often as possible — every extra step counts.
Individually, these options may not offer the ideal replacement for cars in all situations.
But combining them can help reduce car dependency. And that’s the key to making our cities more livable, more sustainable and, yes — happier.
Cities are recognising the need for change
Great news! More and more cities recognise the need for change and are taking action to remove cars from the streets and give space back to people.
Barcelona tackles air pollution problems with pedestrian-friendly oases
Air pollution’s been a big problem in Barcelona for many years. So big that the city couldn’t meet the EU’s air quality standards.
But the situation is improving. Barcelona introduced superblocks — a new urban design which turned streets into pedestrian-friendly areas with plenty of green space.
Cars can no longer drive through these superblocks, making the streets more people and bicycle-friendly. The results? Less traffic, 30% less pollution, and happier citizens.
Amsterdam wants fewer cars and more people
Amsterdam’s known for being one of the most bicycle-friendly cities globally. But the city wants to go even further in making the city more people-friendly.
How exactly? By removing parking spots from its centre and turning them into bike lanes, walkways, and tree-filled plazas.
Ljubljana’s city centre is for people, not cars
Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana is a small city with a big heart. It’s also one of the most environmentally friendly cities in the world.
The city centre’s closed for cars to preserve the streets exclusively for pedestrians and cyclists. And you guessed right — the city’s air quality has improved, residents are satisfied, and public transport use is up.
Buenos Aires rewarded for its commitment to sustainable transport
It’s not just in Europe where cities are rethinking their relationship with cars.
Buenos Aires has been awarded the Sustainable Transport Award for its efforts to reduce car dependency.
The city has turned its widest avenue, once a 20-lane motorway, into bus transit corridors and pedestrian-friendly spaces. The result? The average cross-city commute time has dropped from 40 minutes to just 14.
Seoul’s highway turns into a plant-filled park
South Korea’s capital, Seoul, is home to one of the world’s most impressive urban transformations. The city has turned a former motorway into a beautiful park — Seoullo 7017.
This park is lined with 24,000 plants and provides much-needed green space in the city. But it also helps to reduce travel times around the city’s central station.
Car-free city, carefree streets
We can’t deny the vital role cars have played in our history. But today, with so many sustainable transportation options available, it’s time to reduce car use and take our streets back.
But how can we make this happen?
As individuals, we can walk, cycle, or use public transport whenever possible. And cities can lead the way by investing in infrastructure and policies that make sustainable transport options more attractive.
And to help you spread the message, we’re launching our latest ‘Keys to your city’ spring merch — perfect for spreading the message and looking good doing it. 😉
Of course, to spread the message of sustainability, you also need to dress sustainably. Our merchandise is not only stylish but also eco-friendly and comes with multiple sustainability credentials.
Find all the information about the giveaway on your local Bolt Instagram page.
P.S. Giveaways will be happening throughout May in the following countries: 🇬🇧, 🇩🇪, 🇵🇹, 🇫🇷, 🇷🇴, 🇪🇪, 🇸🇪, 🇵🇱, 🇪🇸.