Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë has spent much of his first term in implementing measures to restrict car use. Delanoë took many lanes of road traffic away from cars and turned them into exclusive bus and taxi lanes. This had virtually no effect on public transport use, according to University of Paris researchers who also found as a result that traffic congestion worsened, greenhouse gas emissions increased and overall cost to the Paris economy of more than $1 billion annually.
Now the Mayor is establishing a car hire program that will make electric cars available throughout the ville de Paris at electric charging stations. Initially 4,000 cars will be involved in the “Autolib” program. London Mayor Boris Johnson has announced plans for a similar program. These are healthy developments and a further reflection that preferred lifestyles can continue, while still reducing greenhouse gas emissions.