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Why Japan’s Kyoto is becoming the Copenhagen of Asia

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AGAINST the backdrop of climate scientists warning that we have 12 years to cut carbon emissions to avoid disastrous climate change, Kyoto is searching for an alternative, sustainable future.

The Japanese city is moving away from heavy reliance on cars and towards getting around by public transport, cycling and walking. Already, more than three-quarters of personal trips in the city are not by car.

With the 2010 Walkable Kyoto Declaration, the city aimed to stop being a car-dominated society. Kyoto has an ambitious list of 94 projects promoting walkability.

SEE ALSO: Here are the top 3 most & least sustainable cities in Asia

The results so far are impressive, according to municipal government data.

Use of public transport has increased significantly. Car traffic entering the city is declining year on year, as is use of car parking. Only 9.3 percent of tourist movements in the city were by car compared to 21 percent in 2011.

As a result of this, emissions from transportation in 2015 were 20 percent lower than 1990 levels.

Survey by Kyoto municipal government of 1,000 citizens on their mode of transport for personal trips. Source: Kyoto municipal government/Author provided/The Conversation

A city made for cycling

Kyoto is determined to improve on this. The next target is to enhance opportunities for cycling.

Cycling is the best way to see the city. Whether you are a resident or a tourist, cycling is the secret to unlocking Kyoto’s beauty and experiencing its heritage sites. An increasing number of the 50 million tourists a year are choosing to rent a bike.

Kyoto is a compact, flat city with a grid structure. This........

© Asian Correspondent