Facing a recent wave of heavy emissions that have considerably reduced the quality of Paris’s air, and raised residents’ awareness of the dire consequences of carbon emissions, Paris regulators have implemented a series of measures intended to make a direct impact on reducing the harmful emissions. Blaming the reduced air quality on harmful pollution, the authorities have instated several restrictions, banning the use of fireplaces in the city, lowered the speed limit, and restricted the number of cars operating in the city, alternated daily.

However, in addition to these traditional approaches to solving the problem, the authorities have also taken measures to encourage residents to adopt new modes of more sustainable transport. As such, the city’s public buses, metro, and suburban trains were made free to ride for the week as well as offering reduced rental rates for electric vehicles and bicycles. Such efforts are a necessary step in encouraging commuters to make the necessary shift away from private transportation, offering incentives for making leaving their cars at home rather than simply penalizing drivers.

While a positive sign of the growing awareness among the governments of metropolitan centers, these measures are, as of now, only temporary and motivated by extreme conditions. Nonetheless, as climate concerns become ever more common among the residents of these cities, perhaps cities will consider expanding them and follow Tallin’s forerunning example in making all public transport free for its residents.

The New York Times reports on Paris’s new efforts. 

The Local provides updates on the efforts in English.

Read more about the success of Tallinn’s forward thinking decision. 

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