A comparison between two cities with different conditions, culture and properties
Cities are born and developed in many ways. Within a city with a lot of people, there is a need of availability to move in and around the city. The transportation is of course important in the matter to transport people, but this will also affect how the city looks like as much as the environment.
Since no city is similar to another, there are different need and demands on the transportation system of people. Countries also differ from each other and have their own ways to handle the transportation in cities. This question is often limited by the financial budget that the city or the country has. It can also be limited by for example the geology or history of the city.
To compare how cities are dealing with the transportation and environmental question, two cities have been chosen to be compared and evaluated next to each other. First there is Brescia, an Italian city with around 200.000 habitants. The city has a great history, for example year 1820 there was found a temple of marble that was constructed year 72. The second city, Gothenburg, is situated at the west coast of Sweden, it is the second largest city in the country and has around 500.000 habitants.
To transport people in Brescia there is a net of underground metro lines and over ground there are busses. The metro is newly constructed and is planned to be enlarged. Brescia is suffering from an extremely high amount of contamination and is one of the most contaminated cities in Europe, which is a big problem for the city.
Photo 1. Metro in Brescia.
Gothenburg, on the other hand, has no transportation under the city, instead is the people travelling with tram, busses and also with boat over the canal which splits the city into two. The environmental question is here not as severe as in Brescia but is nevertheless something to improve. The trams are driven by electrical power that comes from cables raised over all tracks.
Today, the people in Brescia is affected how and when to use transport due to the pollution problem to be reduced. Some Sundays when the level of contamination is extremely high, the roads are closed for traffic except from bicycle traffic. The environmental problem became an improvement of the people’s health.
Gothenburg implemented for approximately two years ago road toll at every road entrance to the large city center. All traffic which goes through these tolls during the specific hours when it is mandatory to pay will get a bill send to the home every month. The paying hours are only on weekdays, during some hours in the morning and in the afternoon when most people go for work or end work. The tolls were implemented for three reasons: to improve the environment, to reduce traffic congestion and to collect money for a huge project that will construct train lines under the city to improve the public transport into the city even more.
Photo 2. Tram in Gothenburg.
Both Brescia and Gothenburg are trying to improve the environment in the city center, but in different ways. In Brescia, the people are not affected economically directly from the measures made. Maybe some stores that are open in Sundays are adversely affected these specific Sundays when the traffic is forbidden. However, in Gothenburg is the people affected quite much economically due to the tolls. If you are an everyday worker and need to pass the tolls two times a day every week, this will be notable in the end of the month.
How will the cities be developed in 20 years? If there will continue to be an urbanization to the cities, the public transport system needs to be developed. The traffic in Gothenburg will surely be driven by a majority of renewable energy since the regulations in Sweden are quite strict to reduce the environmental impact from human beings. In few years, buses driven on electrical power are planned to be implemented. In Brescia the development will surely be made mainly in the metro system with already planned expansion.
It might be that the people in Gothenburg are a bit more dissatisfied with the decisions made of politicians compared to the people in Brescia who not are as much affected. Ordinary people might not see the improvements that are needed due to a growing city and therefore these are not understanding the collection to a found for the improvements. The politicians on the other hand, need to think many years ahead and therefor there can be meaningful differences.
After comparing these two cities in a social, environmental and esthetic way, the personal conclusions are that the transport system in Gothenburg is better in a point of view of sustainable development. This city is investing in future transport systems which will not have such a big impact on the nature. Also, the people who will pay for future developing are the people that today are polluting the city. In an esthetic point a view, Brescia might be the winning city today, since they have been developing a metro, mostly underground, which is not affecting the landscape and keeps it natural, even though there are busses. Both cities will continue to develop the transport system, both underground, which is a good choice according to us. The underground transport offer great spaces, high speeds and straight lines with no obstacles like the ones at surface in a city.
According to us, it is important to learn from each other and to look how different cities are handling the transport problem with regard to environmental, social and esthetic aspects. There are better ways, and worse ways, but there is not one way that fits all cities perfect, it is only about what is the perfect solution for each city with the existing conditions, culture and properties.
Erika Abrahamsson y Laura Arietti
Erasmus students from ETSI Caminos, Canales y Puertos. UPM