Ongoing research at CENIT is heading toward analyzing future cities incorporating tactical urbanism with a superblock model approach. The elevated dependency on cars for mobility, consequent environmental pollution due to emissions and reduction of public spaces are alarming, with the pandemic revealing this fact to policymakers.

The future of urban mobility planning is not about cars, it’s about the usage of cars when there are automated vehicles on the road network for livable cities. The future not only consists of emerging technologies, but also emerging transport planning methods pushing together for a sustainable community. To revert car usage trends following the pandemic situation; cities like Helsinki, Hamburg, Madrid and Barcelona, etc., are applying innovative policies. One of these policies being implemented in the city of Barcelona is the Superblock model, which consists of organizing the parts of the city in a grid structure with defined boundaries, restricting through traffic except non-motorized modes. Such formation caters to the problem of disappearing public spaces and increasing emissions, yielding environmental benefits.

Ongoing research highlights the impacts and benefits of the superblock model in the presence of state-of-the-art autonomous vehicle technology for the city of Barcelona. Doctoral candidate, Samra Sawra, is all geared up to present the outcomes at the prestigious  Transport Research Arena 2022 in Lisbon.

Samra Sarwar is an Urban Mobility Researcher, PhD candidate and Severo Ochoa fellow at CENIT

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