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.

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