The Latest List of Cities That Banned Cars

by Allie Moore

Apr 25, 2019

© Noel Powell | Dreamstime

Trends / Top Trends

It’s no secret aspects of travel, such as travel by airplane and car, can be major contributors to pollution. In an effort to combat carbon emissions and make destinations more pedestrian-friendly, some cities began to ban cars in certain urban zones, an act casually known as the “car-free movement.”


The majority of these cities are located in Europe, no surprise considering the tiny alleyways and corridors prevalent in some European medieval towns. The measure is easier to implement in smaller cities with few roads to begin with, but larger cities are finding ways to restrict cars from barreling through their centers as well.


Madrid was one of the first major cities to restrict access to gas-powered vehicles made before 2000 and diesel vehicles that date to before 2006; restrictions were put in place in December 2018. The first day of this ban resulted in a 33 percent decrease in traffic along Madrid’s busiest road.


Elsewhere, Paris banned cars made before 1997 from entering the city center on weekdays and designated the first Sunday of every month as a car-free day. New York followed suit by banning cars from Central Park and creating pedestrian-only zones in busy thoroughfares like Times Square and Madison Square Park. Other such initiatives are taking place in London, Mexico City, Oslo, Copenhagen, Brussels, Rome, Milan, Athens and Berlin.


Cities are encouraging both locals and visitors to rely on public transportation or cycling via bike-sharing programs rolled out across the world.



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