Thursday, August 26, 2010

Exactly How Much Space Do Cars Occupy On Our Streets?

Have you ever wondered what the streets would look like with no cars? How much space would be available to pedestrians if vehicular traffic was not permitted where they are currently?

In 1975, an Austrian civil engineer named Hermann Knoflacher (a manager of the Institute for the planning of the transports and traffic at Vienna Technical University) developed the 'Walkmobile' which is essentially a wooden frame worn by a pedestrian with the purpose to show exactly how much space is occupied by a motorist.

The Walkmobile is a tool of protest against the record of cars in city that easily allows to visualize the irrationality of the vehicular urban traffic and the fact that it takes up an excessive part of the ground space. The experiment of Knoflacher has been repeated in different big cities in the world, from Austria to Thailand, showing the potential opportunities of the urban areas without cars.
The last picture especially, paints a very interesting picture of how our streets are being used by private motor vehicles. Another interesting note is that this 'protest' was performed 35 years ago.... I would think that the story of vehicular traffic today would be considerably magnifed than the transport climate in 1975.
The next time you are on the freeway in peak hour and stuck in bumper to bumper traffic jams - imagine each car as the Walkmobile and consider what the road would look like...

1 comment:

  1. This protest happened 35 years ago? I wonder what the results were - whether anyone sat up and took notice. Would be interesting to stage something like this again now.