European Commission, Environment DG

Reclaiming city streets for people Chaos or quality of life?

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Courtesy of Courtesy of European Commission, Environment DG

Untitled Document

The challenge facing urban planners and politicians in many European towns and cities is that of balancing the demand for increasing personal mobility and economic growth, with the need to respect the environment and provide an acceptable quality of life for all citizens.

While it is clear that provision for car-based mobility will continue to be an important part of traffic management planning, finding ways to encourage more use of alternative modes of transport (public transport, cycling and walking) is the goal of any sustainable urban policy. Where road space is restricted, providing adequate space for these alternative modes may require a reallocation of highway capacity. When the roads under consideration are already highly congested, it is typically assumed that reducing the capacity available for cars result in increased traffic congestion in the surrounding streets. However, as the evidence in this document demonstrates, this is not necessarily the case.

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