Brits Provide Inspiration for Real Solutions Excerpted from the Sunday Times, England

Hundreds of miles of roads in England are to be declared car-free zones under green transport policies being drawn up by local authorities. The aim of the policies is to make car use so expensive and journeys so time-consuming that motorists will swap their vehicles for cycling, walking, or public transport.

Among the more "radical" measures aimed at making life difficult for the motorist are "intelligent" traffic lights that detect pedestrians and hold cars until they have crossed; pelican crossings that change as soon as a button is pressed, and "smart" bollards that sink into the road to allow buses through but that rise up to block oncoming cars.

Other measures are designed to hit Britain's 26 million car owners where it hurts, such as Wiltshire county council's proposal to abolish car park season tickets and a plan by the seven West Midlands councils, including Birmingham, to charge a tax on company car spaces.

Stephen Joseph, of Transport 2000, a green lobby group in Britain, said the plans signalled an end to the domination of the car. "A lot of people use cars but they don't like them when they dominate towns and cities. This represents a sea change where cars will be on tap but not on top."

Perhaps the most controversial plans are those to ban cars from many town and city centres. Birmingham has pedestrianised a quarter of its city centre and plans to convert another 20%. In Essex, the county council plans to close 25 miles of road to motorists.

In areas where cars cannot be excluded they will be slowed to a crawl by measures such as traffic lights that favour pedestrians and cyclists, road humps and rough surfaces that give an uncomfortably bumpy ride except at low speed, and increasingly tough parking rules.

The town of Bromley is proposing free shower facilities for cyclists while Liverpool plans more free supervised bike parks.