Successful future cities will revolve around cycling infrastructure says leading sustainable planner

Technology could help pave the way to less congested cities and better population health

by Sarah Barth   March 16, 2013  

Copenhagen cyclists at red light (Heb, Wikimedia Commons)

Model future cities will rely heavily on the bicycle, a leading sustainable planner has said.

Speaking at the MIPIM property conference in Cannes, Mark Watts, director of multinational design firm Arup said that other hallmarks of a sustainable modern city could include electric buses, energy-generating buildings and urban farms.

According to the Manchester Evening News there were some compelling reasons for cities to start to adopt these sorts of measures: "Mr Watts said Copenhagen - where 35pc of all trips to work are by bike - had not only reduced spending on more expensive transport infrastructure, but was saving one dollar in health costs for every kilometre cycled."

He said that there were clear links between sucessful cities and plans for better cycling.

He added: "Most cities in the world which are judged to be the most liveable and most efficient are the ones that have sustainable transport systems.

"I think that we are going to see the return of the old-fashioned bicycle in the most successful cities in the world, moving forward.

"There are huge savings through going down this route."

He urged other cities to use data-driven technology to improve congestion, as in San Francisco where an app showing available parking spaces eased traffic by 10 per cent.

He said: "The whole attitude is about seeing what works elsewhere, copying it and claiming it as your own.

"There are enough examples of really good ways of getting to be a sustainable future city throughout the world that if those can be replicated in every city, then there is hope for the future."