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Opinion & Analysis

Driving towards a sustainable future

By Neil Samtani of Together Gibraltar

Our population has been continuously growing and so has our demand for local journeys. Our capacity is finite, there are only so many cars and parking spaces that we can introduce before we end up locked in a noisy, polluted never-ending traffic jam.

We need to increase mobility whilst reducing congestion.

Transport is necessary for our quality of life and instrumental to economic growth. An enhanced transport plan allows us to meet social and environmental challenges and improve the well-being of our residents.

Failure to tackle congestion affects more than our punctuality; it has a direct effect on our health and wellbeing. Yet traffic management can only take us so far.

Together Gibraltar will deliver an integrated transport network that is green and efficient.

Transport Hubs are spaces combining parking, bus stops and cycle parking that will allow easy transition between modes of transport - walking, cycling, bus or car - so you can park your bike and walk to work, or hop off a bus and use the cycle sharing scheme.

Delivery of a bicycle highway will extend in phases throughout the city, not as an afterthought, but as a central component of our transport infrastructure.

We have too many cars, but we cannot simply take cars off the road by removing parking spaces; we do not want to play games of musical parking.

Nor should we only hike import duties for vehicles, affecting those that might need them most and making them the luxury for only the most privileged. We must reduce the motor vehicles on our roads, but before anything can change, we need viable alternatives to get from point A to B.

To do this we will make public transport the most attractive alternative to cars after walking and cycling.

You can expect to see more routes, more plug-in hybrid buses and better access. We will introduce a Journey Planner app that will factor in date, time, access and congestion to keep you informed as to the best way to get around Gibraltar using all modes of transport available.

School buses will have conductors to help children on and off the bus, allowing parents to ease their morning routine.

For those that need to drive, the technology exists to make private transport more environmentally friendly.

Our air quality must improve and electric vehicles can help. Energy is up to 90% more efficient to generate at a power plant than in a car or moped engine. By improving incentives and rolling out charging infrastructure throughout Gibraltar, we will make electric vehicles cheap to buy and easy to use.

That is how Together Gibraltar will ensure that local journeys completed by foot, bike or public transport will increase from 55% today to 80% during our first term, so regardless of whether you are a pedestrian, driver or passenger, you will enjoy a safer, healthier and more pleasant journey. There is a better way, with Together Gibraltar.