Car accessibility as a privilege is no longer a given in cities. Inner cities and residential areas are becoming car-free. Residents, visitors, and business owners must deal with it. Car-free is the new normal. Does that also create opportunities for creative companies?
Almost two-thirds of Amsterdammers favor fewer car routes through the city and more via the A10 ring road. In addition, 65 percent support the policy of introducing 30 kilometers per hour as the speed limit throughout Amsterdam. The college is following the Amsterdam voters.
Research by the Knowledge Institute for Mobility Policy (KiM) shows that Dutch residents have come to consider other things more important than mobility. Traffic safety, for example, or the quality of life in the city. International research supports this.
About the recent Amsterdam pilot with the closing of the Weesperstraat, business organizations say they have big concerns about the accessibility of the city center. They write to the Amsterdam government: “The business climate is under pressure. Logistics partners are sounding the alarm. The situation around supply from the construction and hospitality sectors, among others, is more serious than challenging. The taxi industry is at a loss”.
In future car-free plans, everyone must think creatively about solutions that have broad support and that work in practice. That dialogue between entrepreneurs and the cities will undoubtedly come from the new car-free normal. Together we will make a great story out of this.
I believe the car-free plans of municipalities offer opportunities for city logistics service providers, taxi companies, service and installation companies, restaurants, retailers, and parking and mobility providers.
Opportunities exist for zero-impact city logistics services (providing bundling or waterborne transportation), clean and safe “on-demand” mobility services for visitors, employees, residents, and special target groups, collaboration in facility services, mobility hubs, neighborhood hubs, new delivery services, and retail and hospitality offerings that attract customers back into your neighborhood. Who else has suggestions?
Even today, ask yourself the (hitherto thought impossible) question of what will happen if, in 5 years, your suppliers, employees, and customers are no longer allowed to enter the city by car, van, or truck. And if the customer can no longer get to your door by car. So what would you do today to survive? As a true entrepreneur, you look ahead. Doing nothing is not an option.
Walther Ploos van Amstel.