Across the globe, major cities are dealing with similar problems: High population density, noise and sound pollution, and crippling traffic jams. Cities with many cars can seem unsafe due to constant commotion. As a result, many major cities are beginning to join the car-free movement, with the hope of encouraging cyclists and pedestrians alike to enjoy the city.
Many believe fewer cars will improve the air quality and safety for people to get out and explore the city on foot, pedal or even skate. Let's have a look at 10 cities around the world that plan to ban cars.
10 Venice, Italy
Venice is known for iconic views of intricate canals, romantic gondola rides and absolutely no cars allowed inside the city. Because of the city's infrastructure, both citizens and visitors are charged to travel only by foot or boat.
Cars are strictly banned in Venice. What you will find instead is a city reminiscent of old Europe, quieted by the nonexistent murmur of cars, horns or commuters in a hurry. You can easily see the results of no cars here, and it brings many people every year.
9 Oslo, Norway
A city filled with wide streets, cozy restaurants, and green spaces, Oslo is on its way to reducing pollution and congestion. Since 2015, Oslo's government has unfolded many progressive efforts to make Oslo more people-friendly.
At the start of 2019, massive changes happened on the city center's streets with the removal of many parking spaces and the creation of user-friendly bike lanes, pedestrian areas, outdoor seating for businesses and mini gardens. How does one get around the city? Oslo has amazing public transportation from bus to tram to motorized scooters.
8 Paris, France
What's more beautiful than Paris in Spring? Perhaps the promise of cleaner air. This historic metropolis is flooded with tourists throughout the year. Like other big cities, Paris has felt the effects of too many cars on the road. For years, Paris has increased regulations on cars allowed in the city.
Beginning in 2016, cars made before 1997 aren't allowed. This initiative will take more drastic measures in 2020 when all cars made before 2010 won't be permitted. Recently, the first Sunday of each month is also a car-free day.
7 Mexico City, Mexico
Bustling Mexico City has a weekly car-free day. As a response to high pollution rates, city officials created a weekly bike share for tourists and residents alike to enjoy the city in a different manner.
Mexico City shuts down one of its busiest streets every Sunday, The Paseo de la Reforma, so cyclists can safely travel the historic district. Although the city hasn't met its goal for 15% less pollution, it's continuing its efforts by improving public transit, no-drive days, and may even ban cars that use diesel in 2025.
6 New York City, USA
In 2019, the sprawling metropolis of New York City closed two large areas of Manhattan to vehicular traffic for its fourth annual car-free day on April 27th, also known as Earth Day.
Though it isn't a full ban on cars, one might imagine it's hard to subtract the taxis, Uber, and cars from this major hub of all things cosmopolitan, it's a step in the direction of imagining the city in a more people-friendly way. In addition, New York has banned car traffic through its most iconic park, Central Park.
5 Madrid, Spain
A city made for romance, long lunches in the plaza, or a nice glass of wine, Madrid is no stranger to bustling crowds, both on foot and in cars. The city has undertaken an initiative called Central Madrid, which regulates which cars can enter the city center.
Only cars with a private parking permit and registration can. Madrid also enacted a ban for cars made before 2000 and diesel cars made before 2016. However, beginning in 2020 this will change as Madrid plans to ban these cars from entering at all.
4 Berlin, Germany
Berlin is known as the creative hub and one of the most diverse cities in Europe. Perhaps because of this, Berlin wants to be ahead of the curve. Berlin is posturing to be a car-free European city by 2030.
Berlin has experimented by closing down busy streets in heavily trafficked areas within the city, as well as banning diesel cars made before 2015 in certain locations. The final goal is a car-free Berlin inside the limits of the city's transit S-Bahn. People can enjoy the city by subway, tram, city bikes, scooters, and mopeds.
3 Boston, USA
Due to its location in the United States, discouraging incoming traffic in Boston is a bit more complicated than in some cities. However, city officials started a proposal to help cut down on congestion and incentivize more people in Boston to go car-free. Go Boston 2030 is an initiative that aims to decrease the number of car trips by one half.
Boston can be traveled by any means, as the city focusing their efforts on public transportation. Commuters can enjoy the subway, the bus, a city bike or even scooter.
2 London, England
The posh city of London is a hugely popular European destination for tourists, students, and businesspeople. London, like many other major European cities, has also been feeling the dramatic effects of car pollution on air quality.
This year, London introduced a car-free day much like New York and Paris have done. The mayor wanted the people of London to imagine the city from a different perspective, albeit a different mode of transportation. London has also tinkered with its emissions zones, banning cars that don't fit within their Ultra-Low Emissions Zone.
1 Bogotá, Colombia
In recent years, Colombia has been on the radar for many potential visitors. It now has many hostels, backpackers, and the like. Colombia's capital, Bogotá, is also somewhat ahead of the trend, as they have been having car-free Sundays since 1974.
75 miles in Bogotá are closed encouraging cyclists and pedestrians to get outside and enjoy. The route is for transportation, as long as it is not motorized. In an effort to further cut down smog, Bogotá has also been celebrating car-free days.