World Car Free Cities: A Progress Report


Cities around the world are beginning to work with this ice-breaking sustainability approach. It’s not just research or theory; it is policy and practice. But this is not an easy road. Proper preparation and follow-up are critical for success.

Since 1994 New Mobility Agenda and World Streets have offered information, references, discussion space and an open forum for ideas, exchange and collaboration for people who care about sustainable mobility and sustainable cities, and aren’t afraid to work at it.

Things are rather suddenly starting to move very fast on the World Car Free Cities scene, particularly in Western Europe . . .  but not only.  As we are seeing in city after city, the way to succeed with of this approach lies not in confrontation and prohibition, but in listening, understanding, collaborating and creating flexible packages of measures and services.  And in the process, giving people more and better choices, and time in which to gain experience and make up their minds.  And not surprisingly there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

Our Car Free program, which first kicked off in October 1994 with an address by Eric Britton to an international transportation conference in Toledo Spain, has covered a great deal of territory since.  Here are a few additional references which may help to get you going on this challenging and important topic.  You may also find some interest in the World Car Free Cities Facebook site at

For the record “car free” projects until now have tended to fall into four main classes:

  • TIME: Car Free Days, Weeks or Months.Times of day, of week
  • SPACE: Car Free areas, zones, neighborhoods, eco-quarters (see
  • ACCESS: Limited access: Certain types  of vehicles cannot access streets, highway lanes, exits
  • SERVICES: Single or packages of alternative services which aim to replace cars.

And as you dig deeper and become familiar with what is going on at the leading edge, we think you’re going to be surprised at the speed and quality in which these strategies are unfolding.  And we’re just getting started.


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We intend to give greatly increased attention to what is going on at the leading edge, including an up to date bibliography of current sources which is to follow shortly.

About the author:

Eric Britton
9, rue Gabillot, 69003 Lyon France

Bio: Educated as an international development economist, Eric Britton is an American political scientist, teacher and sustainability activist who has worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. Professor of Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy at the Institut Supérieur de Gestion (Paris), he is also MD of EcoPlan Association, an independent advisory network providing strategic counsel for government and business on policy and decision issues involving complex systems, social-technical change, civil society and sustainable development. Founding editor of World Streets: The Politics of Transport in Cities | See Britton online at and @ericbritton

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