How Milan, Italy revitalized its car-centric downtown in 3 easy steps

With one of the highest rates of car ownership in the world – there are 72 vehicles per 100 inhabitants – the northern industrial city of Milan, Italy faced the twin problems of heavy congestion and life–threatening levels of pollution.

Something had to be done and so the metropolis chose to take three really simple and yet politically bold steps to reverse its situation. It opted for a tripartite strategy to transform itself into the modern, sophisticated and livable city it was always destined to be.

In the process it became a great case study in urban rejuvenation other European industrial cities could copy.

Here’s how:

  1. Back in 2008, Milan introduced an ambitious pollution charge called ECOPASS;
  2. The city then combined the congestion charge with a Low Emission Zone (LEZ);
  3. The funds raised through the charge could then be used to finance public transport infrastructure and sustainable mobility projects.

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