Demand for and use of private cars is growing worldwide, contributing to major challenges like poor air quality, traffic injuries, and climate change, especially in places experiencing rapid urbanization. Population growth and uptake of vehicles, coupled with inefficient public transportation and land use planning, make traffic a complex problem to manage. While many city leaders recognize that traffic is a problem, they too often focus on road expansions and new highways as the solutions. Not only can this make congestion worse through induced demand, but it does little to address the many other negative impacts of driving.
Instead, cities must consider traffic reduction strategies that prioritize people and well-being, and that require drivers to consider environmental and societal costs in addition to internal costs when choosing to drive. As the world reckons with the growing climate crisis and public health concerns, cities have the opportunity to curb the growing demand for driving by prioritizing street space and even generating revenue that can support public transport, walking, cycling, and other sustainable modes.
This paper helps decision-makers better understand key approaches to reducing traffic and then select strategies that align with their goals and resources. We evaluate traffic reduction strategies based on their ability to achieve the following outcomes:
- Reduces Traffic and Improves Well-Being: We evaluate how each strategy contributes to five outcomes that many cities have identified as resulting in a more livable urban environment.
- Advances Sustainable Transport Goals: We map how traffic reduction strategies advance the sustainable transport goals of a) improving access, b) maintaining safety, c) reducing harm to the environment and human health, and d) using resources efficiently.
- Considers Capacity Needs: In assessing capacity requirements, we consider potential privacy concerns, political complexity, and capital and technological needs for each strategy.
- Continue Reading on the ITDP Blog →
- Download the “Taming Traffic” Infographic →
- Watch the “Low-Cost, High-Impact: Taming Traffic” webinar →
- Read the “Taming Traffic Deep-Dive” Brief on Low Emission Zones →
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