Britons believe London will be first city to go carless by 2050, survey shows

An AI-generated image of how London could look under a car-free 2050 (Swapfiets)
An AI-generated image of how London could look under a car-free 2050 (Swapfiets)

Britons believe that London will be the first major city in the world to go car-free by 2050, a new survey has revealed.

A national poll of 2,000 people found that they thought the capital would be the first to reach the landmark, ahead of Amsterdam, Tokyo, Copenhagen and Beijing.

The findings, released ahead of World Car Free Day on Friday, come after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak pushed back a series of green measures – but insisted the UK would meet its net-zero targets by 2050.

The survey, commissioned by bike company Swapfiets, reveals that more than half of Brits think that bikes and e-bikes are most likely to replace cars, while just under a quarter believe scooters will become the primary means of travel.

Ten per cent of respondents said futuristic hoverboards could be the most likely to replace cars on the streets of the capital to help Londoners get around.

Following the survey, an AI artist was commissioned to create images of what London and other cities could look like in just over 25 years if they became car-free.

Futurist Dan Sodergren, who helped create the AI images, said: "Like many, I dream of a future less dependent on automobiles.

“This societal shift promises not only to better our environment but also to redefine our urban spaces – think walkable pedestrian zones, extensive cycling paths, and an influx of green spaces to aid in the battle against climate change.”

Swapfiets, the company which commissioned the survey, said that if all registered cars in the capital were swapped for an e-bike, some 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 could be avoided each year.

“Cycling is freeing, fun and you’d be surprised by how fast you can move through the city on an e-bike,” said Amanda Gandolpho, Swapfiets Brand Director.

“We hope that the pictures inspire people to visualise how more liveable cities will look once they are less congested, with cleaner air, and healthier people and the shift to cycling is a big contributor to that.”

World Car Free Day on September 22 sees cities around the world encourage motorists to give up their cars for a day by turning over road space to pedestrians.