Photo Credit: Avshalom Sassoni / Flash 90
Traffic on Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv was 35 percent heavier ahead of the lockdown. Jan 8, 2021

A new plan by Israel’s Ministry of Transport, National Infrastructure and Road Safety has set itself the ambitious goal of cutting Israeli car use by half, and promoting walking, cycling, scooter use and public transport instead, a report by Globes said on Wednesday.

“The plan seeks to persuade Israelis to do much more walking, bicycle-riding, and using buses and trains when traveling, instead of driving their cars and jamming up the roads,” said the report.

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It follows similar attempts to reduce car travel by cities in Europe and North America, such as London, Copenhagen and San Francisco.

The report noted that “Israeli targets may be approaching those of Europe, but the reality on the ground is different. While in Tel Aviv, more than 50% of trips are made by car, the numbers in Europe are significantly lower: Berlin–31%; Barcelona–25%; Singapore–33%; and Vienna–27%.”

“Achieving these targets could be patchy at best,” wrote Globes. “Tel Aviv is striving to achieve these targets, and its light railway system will soon begin operating. Jerusalem has had a light railway system for a decade, and more lines are being built together with flyovers and underpasses.”

“But other projects are being delayed. Ra’anana is refusing to build bus lanes, and opposition to the Metro is mounting in the Sharon region. If the planned Greater Tel Aviv metropolitan region congestion charge is introduced as planned in 2024, that would be a major step forward in achieving these targets,” said the report.

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