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Milan tries a temporary ban on cars to reduce pollution

Marco Bertorello / Getty

In an attempt to reduce smog, Milan, Italy has ordered private cars off the city's streets between 10 AM and 4 PM for the first three days of this week. The AP said that motorists largely respected the ban, which was enforced with heavy fines.

To go along with turning the whole city into one giant bike lane for six hours a day, Milan has heavily discounted its public transit system. Riders can now get an entire day of unlimited transit for what used to be the cost of a single ride.

It's not the first time cities have tried to reduce cars and, in turn, pollution. Oslo, Norway has plans to eliminate cars from its city center, and Beijing has sometimes restricted vehicles to driving every other day. Other cities, like London, focus more on reducing congestion but a reduction in pollution is a side benefit from fewer cars.

And it works, sort of. Gizmodo points toUCLA study that found drops in pollution during the times cars are banned from neighborhoods, but it returns almost immediately. That means it isn't a long-term solution unless we ban cars entirely (or switch to electrics).

In the meantime, we get this creepy, apocalyptic picture of a nearly car-less city.