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Switzerland could become the first country to go car-free

Swiss people are, according to a new study, surprisingly willing to give up their cars – provided that a few conditions are met.

Swiss people’s attitudes to transport are changing. Now, they don’t necessarily need to have a car to enjoy a sense of freedom. Many, in fact, could be ready to live entirely car-free – despite them living in an historically car-dependent nation.

This is according to PostCarWorld, a new study into Switzerland’s relationship with cars, which revealed that the country’s car-focused society is becoming more service-orientated.

Now, people are increasingly likely to consider car-ownership alternatives like carpooling and public transport. Telecommuting, too, has impacted the extent to which people need to use a vehicle.

"We’re shifting from an object-centred world, in which cars are an extension of our private property, a myth, a dream, to a service-oriented world, which is based on a whole new approach to mobility,” said Professor Jacques Lévy, the study's director.

The report reached another conclusion: that pedestrians will start reclaiming Switzerland’s cities. “Urban planners,” Lévy added, “all want to rethink our streets and place more importance on shared spaces. Cars will have to adapt to this multimodal world in which pedestrians are reclaiming their rights and public spaces are no longer taken over by cars. 

PostCarWorld also looked at the economic viability of Switzerland going car-free – something that would depend on public transport infrastructure improving. “Based on our geographic models,” Lévy explained, “we concluded that it wouldn’t be technically difficult to develop a car-free society, but the current infrastructure would have to be adapted.”