Traffic Continues to Disappear in Paris

In 2001, shortly after being elected the Mayor of Paris on a platform promising to "fight, with all the means at my disposal, against the harmful, ever-increasing and unacceptable hegemony of the automobile," Bertrand Delanoë began implementing a series of far-reaching transportation reforms throughout the City of Light.

With New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Iris Weinshall heading to Paris for a summer vacation we wanted to make sure that she was aware of some recently-released results of these reforms.


A gridlocked Parisian street in 2000, before Mayor Bertrand Delanoë’s transportation reforms.

According to newly released statistics from the City of Paris:

  • Vehicle Miles Traveled by car in Paris fell 5% in 2005, 15% since 2001.
  • Bicycle use has increased 5% since 2004.
  • The number of vehicle crashes has decreased 21% since 2001.


Le Mobilien in Monmartre. To discourage driving in the city center, many Parisian streets now have lanes set aside for the exclusive use of buses, bikes and taxis.

  • Subway use increased 2.8% and commuter rail increased 2.9% in 2005.
  • The speed and regularity of buses on dedicated routes improved 10% to 13% in 2005.
  • The city is expanding the number of bus lines that run all night, as well as those buses’ frequency.


Physical separation allows buses, taxis and bikes to have faster, safer more reliable travel. If you want to drive an automobile into town, you can, but you have to deal with more congestion.

You can find more on Paris’s creative, effective and politically successful transportation reform at New York City Streets Renaissance Campaign and Project for Public Spaces:

Reporting (and translation) by PPS’s french speaking Paris native Juliette Michaelson.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Paris Wins the ITDP Sustainable Transport Award

|
The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy has chosen Paris for its 2008 Sustainable Transportation Award. In a letter from the ITDP Board of Directors to Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë, the Institute praises the French capitol’s recent transportation policies, most notably the Vélib project: Under your leadership, Paris has implemented a range of innovative mobility […]

Paris Approves Plan to Reduce Traffic by 40% by 2020

|
The Paris Link reports: Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë has unveiled his plans to cut traffic in the capital by 40%. The plans, which also aim to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases by 60%, has met serious opposition with both drivers and right-wing parties. Despite this opposition, the Mayor’s detailed plans were adopted by the […]

Paris Embraces Plan to Become City of Bikes

|
The Velo’v public bicycle system in Lyon, France. By the end of 2007 the city of Paris will have 1,450 bike stations offering 20,000 bicycles. The Washington Post reports: On July 15, the day after Bastille Day, Parisians will wake up to discover thousands of low-cost rental bikes at hundreds of high-tech bicycle stations scattered […]

A French Revolution: This One On Two Wheels, No Guillotine

|
On Sunday in Paris, more than 10,000 bicycles became available at 750 self-service docking stations. The bike program, called Vélib (for "vélo," bicycle, and "liberté," freedom) is supposed to double in size by the end of the year. Pierre Aidenbaum, mayor of Paris’s trendy third district, said "For a long time cars were associated with […]

The London Model is Dead. Time to Look at Paris.

|
David Haskell, executive director of the Forum for Urban Design, and organizer of last week’s New York Bike-Share Project demonstration in Soho, says it’s time for New York City to ditch the London model and take a closer look at the traffic-reduction techniques Paris has implemented without congestion pricing. An op/ed in today’s New York […]

Unintended Consequences of Paris’s Traffic-Reduction Policies

|
Red lights mean gridlock on this real-time map of Parisian road traffic. During the launch of Paris’s new streetcar system last month, a Times of London wrote that Parisians are beginning to turn against Mayor Bertrand Delanoe’s aggressive traffic reduction measures: Paris residents, most of whom do not drive much, were until recently happy with […]