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Europe’s cities fear post-lockdown congestion on transport networks

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Europe’s cities fear post-lockdown congestion on transport networks
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As Europe prepares for a gradual easing of lockdown restrictions, city authorities around the continent are looking at new measures to enable large urban populations to move around safely.

Lyon in France is one such city. With a population of 1.4 million, its buses, trams and underground trains are crammed packed during rush hour periods.

To tackle the problem, authorities are adopting a two-pronged approach.

We will introduce what we call tactical urbanism by setting up cycle tracks, even temporary, to replace car lanes
David Kimelfeld, President of Lyon Metropolis, France

Firstly, measures will be introduced to make the existing transport network safer.

Masks will be either obligatory or at a minimum strongly recommended. Dispensers will be set up in all stations distributing kits containing two masks and a bottle of hydroalcoholic gel. The network is also testing a no-contact machine for hand disinfection. A total of 10 could be installed soon.

Fouziya Bouzerda, the woman in charge of the city's urban transport network, says they’ll also be redesigning access to stations in order to keep people apart.

"We're going to set up signage and organise the flows in the metros stations”, she explains. “There will be a different entrance and exit.”

Secondly, measures will be taken to encourage people to use alternative forms of transport. Lyon was one of the first cities in the world to introduce self-service bicycles, and now it wants to use that network to promote safe transport.

"We will introduce what we call tactical urbanism by setting up cycle tracks, even temporary, to replace car lanes,” says David Kimelfeld, President of the Metropolis of Lyon. “In some cases, we will also widen pavements to facilitate pedestrian movements."

The city is also counting on the continuation of teleworking and a gradual return to school classes to prevent crowds from overusing public transport.