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Transportation

6 Big European Cities With Plans to Go Car-Free

Oslo is the latest major metro to put pedestrians first in some central districts.
Downtown Oslo; the city hopes to go partly car-free by 2019.
Downtown Oslo; the city hopes to go partly car-free by 2019.Dion Hinchcliffe / Flickr

Plans to ban private cars in parts of a downtown area have become so common among big European cities that it’s getting hard to keep track of them all. Since the start of 2014 alone at least six metros have announced ambitions to convert parts of their central districts into pedestrian havens with less automobile congestion and air pollution. Based on the regular reporting of our correspondent across the Pond, Feargus O’Sullivan, CityLab worked up a quick tour guide to Europe’s car-free future.

The Norwegian capital is the latest city to declare a goal of going car-free, with reports emerging this week that private cars will be banned in the central district by 2019. Though the details are still being settled, the city will apparently enhance its bike infrastructure and give a “massive boost” to public transit. Predictably, businesses are already concerned with the idea—despite plentiful evidence that non-drivers spend as much, or even more, than people who park-and-purchase.