Mobility and Transport

Clean transport, Urban transport

4.2 Traffic restrictions and charges

4.2 Traffic restrictions and charges


Traffic restrictions and charges aimed primarily at motorised vehicles can be valuable complementary measures to increase the positive impact of a range of cycling measures. They can act as ‘push’ measures, steering modal choice and increasing the ‘pull’ effect of accompanying cycling measures significantly.

Considerations for applicability

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Level of cycling

Traffic restrictions and charges are applicable to cities with any level of cycling uptake. These measures can be particularly powerful for starter cities, reinforcing the introduction of other measures through promoting cycling as a cost-effective, sustainable mode of transport.

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Urban layout/topography

Both urban layout and topography can influence the design of traffic restrictions and charges. It is essential to consider the sensitivity of users to different measures at hilly topographies, as other measures may have a greater impact on the uptake of cycling.

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Traffic restrictions and charges can influence the modal choice decisions of a range of population groups, including tourists, students, and employees located within an area where restrictions and/or charges have been implemented.

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Finance Resources

Traffic restriction and charges measures can vary in terms of the financial resources required to implement. Usually, measures can be implemented at low cost. In addition, the revenues generated can often be directed towards sustainable transport projects.

Non-revenue measures require larger initial investments and often generate considerable maintenance costs.

Parking space management at TU Graz, as well as Nottingham's workplace parking levy, generate revenues and trigger stakeholders to engage in alternative modal choices. The schemes applied in Amsterdam and Ghent also utilise revenues from paid parking for sustainable mobility development projects.

The superblock model of Vitoria Gasteiz was also carried out at low cost.

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Time & Human Resources

The time and human resources required to plan traffic restrictions and charges tend to be significant, as they are often informed by intensive stakeholder and citizen engagement and campaigning. Organisational changes often take years to shape before installation.

For implementation, the necessary time and human resources depend on the nature of the measure: although site-based and non-infrastructural measures can be put into practice in a relatively short period of time, large system changes, organisational restructuring and infrastructural measures tend to require several months or years.

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Public transport, bus and cyclist Modal share

Traffic restrictions and charges impact people's modal choices. As a "push" measure, they cause individuals to reconsider their chosen mode of transport. The effect is greater if traffic restrictions and charges are implemented alongside improvements in alternative travel choices, such as enhanced cycling conditions.

Note: An overview of the direct and indirect impacts resulting from correctly implemented cycling measures is available in Challenges that cities face and how cycling can address them.

In-depth measure analysis, case studies and further guidance