12 Major Cities Driving towards Car-Free Zones

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Major cities around the world are aiming to kick ALL diesel cars out by 2025, and eventually take the car-free plunge to create more pedestrian space and reduce diesel CO2 emissions. Check out if South Africa is on the list!

Here are 12 of the world’s major cities that are revolutionizing towards a car-free territory.

Mayor of the Spanish land of Madrid, Manuela Carmena, have made plans to ban personal cars from the city center before May 2019 – allowing access for only buses, taxis and bikes. Cars will be banned from 500 acres of the city’s centre by 2020. 24 of the most busiest street will be redesigned for walking. Drivers who ignore the new regulation would have to cough-up a $100 fine, while highly-pollutive cars will have to pay higher parking costs.

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#MADRID, Spain

Oslo plans to rid the city of all cars by 2019, after which a country-wide effect will be implemented by 2025. The substitute will be the strategy to push capital towards high investments in public transport services.

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#OSLO, Norway

Chengdu doesn’t plan to completely ban cars, however only plans to make 50% of roads car-free – everything else will only be a 15-minute walk away from each other. After all, the Asian city is only an 80 000-person land. Due to Chengdu experiencing some zoning issues, we don’t think the plan will follow through by 2020.

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Within 20-years, only pedestrians and bikers will be able to enter particular Hamburg city areas – walking and biking will be like the new… driving. The German city is calling for a 2035 “green network” that can be accessed without cars, will cover 40% of the city and include recreational areas.

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#HAMBURG, Germany

With the introduction to pedestrian-only zones during the 1960s, Copenhagen has over 200 miles of bike lanes, as well as have the lowest car-ownership percentage in Europe. The Danish City aims to build a bike-owned highway and to become ultimately carbon-neutral by 2025.

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Cycling down the path of Copenhagen, Paris strategizes to double bike lane numbers, limit particular streets to electric cars by 2020 and discourage car-use in the city centre. Since July 2016, all cars manufactured before 1997 are prohibited from the city centre on weekdays only – unless the driver wants to be fined.

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#PARIS, France

Athens joins the diesel ban revolution, with a complete implementation in place by 2025 – in order to improve the city’s air quality. Already en-route, the Greek city’s Mayor, Giorgos Kaminis, has already blocked diesel vehicles from the city centre on specific days, based on their plate number.

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#ATHENS, Greece

The Mayor of London has actioned a plan to ban diesel cars by 2020. The English city has started discouraging the use of diesel vehicles during peak hour by charging a daily fee to use diesel cars. The aim for London is an ultra-low emission zone.

#LONDON, United Kingdom

Brussels is second on the list of Europe’s largest car-free city. The Belgian city is predominantly pedestrian-only and its roads are mainly car-free zones, to simply encourage public transportation. This September, for one day, all cars will be banned from the entire city centre. The city have placed proposals to turn a 4-lane boulevard into a pedestrian-only zone. Brussels confirmed that diesel car manufactured before 1998 will be banned from 2018.

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#BRUSSELS, Belgium

Since April 2016, Mexico City government have banned a portion of cars from the city centre for 2-days during the week and 2 Saturdays per month, in order to control Mexico city’s high CO2 emissions. This is based on a rotating system around license plate numbers of approximately two million cars.

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Vancouver is taking the bicycle route. The city is consistently pushing many residents towards public transport, such as the subway, bus, walking, bike, etc. The Canadian city’s car-free strategies are said to have been the result of urban design decisions, the expanding of bike lane networks in 2008 and hosting car-free days every year.


Although New York has seen a drop in traffic, the quota are small. The Big Apple is not focused on going car-free anytime soon, but pedestrian, bike, subway and bus zones are rising. Annually, for 3-days in August, an event is held which prohibits cars from driving between Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge and pedestrian open roads. Urban planners of New York City has started creating alternative ways in trying to optimize transportation for non-drivers.

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