Privately owned cars could disappear from Helsinki image

A number of cities around the world are taking steps to reduce or limit the growth of privately owned vehicles on the road, amidst growing concerns about the environment.

Helsinki, the capital of Finland, is now taking into consideration a transformative plan that could work without car ownership entirely and only use car sharing, bicycles and public transport. The most significant part of the plan would be letting the town residents pay a flat fee that would cover any and all of their urban transportation needs.

According to a new study by Navigant Research, “the major innovation that makes this work will be an integrated payment system. This part of the scheme may prove the most complicated to implement, but it is the final piece of the puzzle that makes this truly transformative.”

City officials describe it as a “mobility on demand” approach that would allow people in Helsinki to go wherever they want, while also having the best options to choose from. Helsinki already has one of the best public transportation systems in Europe and it appears to be open to the idea of making cars part of a broader transportation solution, with cars shared, rather than owned.

Helsinki is not the only city which is taking into consideration new ways to reduce automotive usage and even eliminate cars. London has had high costs and a restrictive commuter tax for more than ten years now. Cities in China like Beijing and Shanghai have also limited the number of new vehicle registrations allowed monthly. Hamburg, Germany, has also been studying a plan to phase out cars entirely from the central city in the coming decades.

By Gabriela Florea