Pedestrian zones (also known as auto-free zones and car-free zones, as pedestrian precincts in
British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect A standard language (also standard variety, standard dialect, and standard) is a language variety that has undergone substantial codification of grammar and usage and is employed by a populatio ...
, and as pedestrian malls in the United States and Australia) are areas of a city or town reserved for pedestrian-only use and in which most or all
automobile traffic Traffic on roads A road is a thoroughfare, route, or way on land between two places that has been paved or otherwise improved to allow travel by foot or by some form of conveyance (including a motor vehicle Electric bicycles parked i ...
is prohibited. Converting a street or an area to pedestrian-only use is called ''pedestrianisation''. Pedestrianisation usually aims to provide better accessibility and
mobility Mobility may refer to: Social sciences and humanities * Economic mobility, ability of individuals or families to improve their economic status * Geographic mobility, the measure of how populations and goods move over time * Mobilities, a contempo ...
for pedestrians, to enhance the amount of shopping and other business activities in the area and/or to improve the attractiveness of the local environment in terms of aesthetics, air pollution, noise and crashes involving motor vehicle with pedestrians. However, pedestrianisation can sometimes lead to reductions in business activity, property devaluation, and displacement of economic activity to other areas. In some cases traffic in surrounding areas may increase, due to displacement, rather than substitution of car traffic. Nonetheless, pedestrianisation schemes are often associated with significant drops in local air and noise pollution, accidents, and frequently with increased retail turnover and increased property values locally. A ''car-free'' development generally implies a large scale pedestrianised area that relies on modes of transport other than the car, while pedestrian zones may vary in size from a single square to entire districts, but with highly variable degrees of dependence on cars for their broader transport links. Pedestrian zones have a great variety of approaches to human-powered vehicles such as
bicycles Classic bell of a bicycle A bicycle, also called a bike or cycle, is a human-powered or motor-powered, pedal-driven, single-track vehicle, having two bicycle wheel, wheels attached to a bicycle frame, frame, one behind the other. A is cal ...

inline skates Inline skates are a type of roller skate Roller skates are shoes, or bindings that fit onto shoes, that are worn to enable the wearer to roll along on wheels. The first roller skate was effectively an ice skate with wheels replacing the blade ...
skateboard A skateboard is a type of sports equipment Sporting equipment, also called sporting goods, are the tools, materials, apparel, and gear used to compete in a sport and varies depending on the sport. The equipment ranges from balls, nets, and pr ...

s and
kick scooter A kick scooter (also referred to as a push-scooter or scooter) is a human-powered street vehicle with a handlebar, deck, and wheel File:Roue primitive.png, An early wheel made of a solid piece of wood In its primitive form, a wheel is a c ...
s. Some have a total ban on anything with wheels, others ban certain categories, others segregate the human-powered wheels from foot traffic, and others still have no rules at all. Many Middle Eastern
kasbah A kasbah (, also ; ar, قَـصَـبَـة, qaṣaba, , 'central part of a town; citadel'), also spelled casbah or qasbah, more rarely as qasaba, gasaba or qasabeh, in also as qassabah, is a type of fortress, a . By extension, the term can ...

s have no wheeled traffic, but use
donkey The donkey or ass is a domestic animal This page gives a list of domestic animals, also including a list of animals which are or may be currently undergoing the process of domestication Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relati ...
-driven or hand-driven
cart A cart or dray (Aus. & NZ) is a vehicle designed for transport Transport (commonly used in the U.K.), or transportation (used in the U.S.), is the Motion, movement of humans, animals and cargo, goods from one location to another. In other ...

s for freight transport.


Origins in arcades

The idea of separating pedestrians from wheeled traffic is an old one, dating back at least to the
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in m ...

. However, the earliest modern implementation of the idea in cities seems to date from about 1800, when the first covered shopping arcade was opened in Paris. Separated shopping arcades were constructed throughout Europe in the 19th century, precursors of modern shopping malls. A number of architects and city planners, including
Joseph Paxton Sir Joseph Paxton (3 August 1803 – 8 June 1865) was an English gardener, architect, engineer and Member of Parliament, best known for designing the Crystal Palace The Crystal Palace was a cast iron Cast iron is a group of iron-ca ...

Joseph Paxton
Ebenezer Howard Sir Ebenezer Howard (29 January 1850 – 1 May 1928) was an English urban planner and founder of the garden city movement, known for his publication ''To-Morrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform'' (1898), the description of a utopian city in which ...

Ebenezer Howard
, and
Clarence Stein Clarence Samuel Stein (June 19, 1882 – February 7, 1975) was an American urban planner An urban planner is a professional who practices in the field of urban planning Urban planning, also known as regional planning, town planning, city ...
, in the 19th and early 20th centuries proposed plans to separate pedestrians from traffic in various new developments.


The first "pedestrianisation" of an existing street seems to have taken place "around 1929" in
Essen Essen (; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republ ...

, Germany. This was in Limbecker Straße, a very narrow shopping street that could not accommodate both vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Two other German cities followed this model in the early 1930s, but the idea was not seen outside Germany. Following the devastation of the Second World War a number of European cities implemented plans to pedestrianise city streets, although usually on a largely
ad hoc Ad hoc is a Latin phrase __NOTOC__ This is a list of Wikipedia articles of Latin phrases and their translation into English. To view all phrases on a single, lengthy document, see: * List of Latin phrases (full) The list also is divided alpha ...

ad hoc
basis, through the early 1950s, with little landscaping or planning. By 1955 twenty-one German cities had closed at least one street to traffic, although only four were "true" pedestrian streets, designed for the purpose. At this time pedestrianisation was not seen as a policy, but rather as a complement to customers who would arrive by car in a city centre. Pedestrianisation was also common in the United States during the 1950s and 60s as downtown businesses attempted to compete with new suburban shopping malls. However, most of these initiatives were not successful in the long term, and about 90% have been changed back to motorised areas.


In the United States, several pedestrian zones in major tourist areas were successful, such as the renovation of the mall in
Santa Monica Santa Monica () is a beachfront city in western Los Angeles County, California Los Angeles County, officially the County of Los Angeles, and sometimes abbreviated as L.A. County, is the List of the most populous counties in the United Stat ...

Santa Monica
on Los Angeles' Westside and its relaunch as the
Third Street Promenade The Third Street Promenade is a Pedestrian malls in the United States, pedestrian mall esplanade, shopping, dining and entertainment complex in the downtown area of Santa Monica, California which originally opened as the Santa Monica Mall on Novemb ...
; the creation of the covered, pedestrian
Fremont Street Experience The Fremont Street Experience (FSE) is a pedestrian mall and attraction in downtown Las Vegas Downtown Las Vegas (commonly abbreviated as DTLV) is the central business district and historic center of Las Vegas, Nevada. It is the original townsi ...

Fremont Street Experience
Downtown Las Vegas Downtown Las Vegas (commonly abbreviated as DTLV) is the and historic center of , . It is the original townsite and was the gambling district of Las Vegas prior to , and the area still incorporates . As the urban core of the , it features a varie ...
, ''Pedestrian zones in cities'', National Urban League, 2020
/ref> and new pedestrian zone created in the mid-2010s in New York City including along Broadway (the street) and around
Times Square Times Square is a major commercial intersection, tourist destination, entertainment center, and in the section of , at the junction of and . Brightly lit by numerous billboards and advertisements, it stretches from West to West Streets, an ...

Times Square

COVID-19 pandemic

During the
COVID-19 pandemic The COVID-19 pandemic is an ongoing global pandemic A pandemic (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a c ...

COVID-19 pandemic
in 2020, some cities has made the pedestrianization of additional streets in order to encourage
social distancing In public health, social distancing, also called physical distancing, (NB. Regula Venske is president of the .) is a set of or measures intended to of a by maintaining a physical distance between people and reducing the number of times pe ...

social distancing
and in many cases to provide extra rooms for restaurants to serve food on patios extended into the newly available spaces. In the United States,
New York City New York, often called New York City to distinguish it from , or NYC for short, is the in the United States. With a 2020 population of 8,804,190 distributed over , New York City is also the major city in the United States. Located at the s ...

New York City
closed up to of streets to cars across the city. In
Madrid Madrid ( , ) is the capital and most populous city of Spain , * gl, Reino de España, * oc, Reiaume d'Espanha, , , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , n ...

Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

, the city pedestrianized of streets and of spaces in total. The COVID-19 pandemic gave also birth to proposals for radical change in the organisation of the city, in particular Barcelona, being the pedestrianisation of the whole city one of the key elements, proposing an inversion of the concept of ''sidewalk''.

Definitions and types

A pedestrian zone may be limited in scope, for example, a single square or street being for pedestrians, but a city where residents still largely get around in cars. A car-free town, city or region may be much larger.

Car free towns, cities and regions

A car-free zone is different from a typical pedestrian zone, in that it implies a development largely predicated on modes of transport other than the car.


A number of towns and cities in Europe have never allowed
motor vehicle A motor vehicle, also known as motorized vehicle or automotive vehicle, is a self-propelled vehicle, commonly wheeled, that does not operate on Track (rail transport), rails (such as trains or trams) and is used for the transportation of people o ...
archetypal The concept of an archetype (; from Greek: + ) appears in areas relating to behavior Behavior (American English) or behaviour (British English; American and British English spelling differences#-our, -or, see spelling differences) is the Acti ...
examples are: *
Venice Venice ( ; it, Venezia ; vec, Venesia or ) is a city in northeastern Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a Northern Italy, continental part, d ...

, which occupies many islands in a lagoon, divided by and accessed from
canal Canals are waterways channels Channel, channels, channeling, etc., may refer to: Geography * Channel (geography), in physical geography, a landform consisting of the outline (banks) of the path of a narrow body of water. Australia * C ...

s. Motor traffic stops at the car park at the head of the viaduct from the mainland, and water transport or walking takes over from there. However, motor vehicles are allowed on the nearby
Lido In British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which ...
. *
Zermatt Zermatt () is a municipality A municipality is usually a single having status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by national and regional laws to which it is subordinate. The term ''municipality'' may also mean the ...

in the Swiss Alps, which most visitors reach by a cog railway Other examples are: *
Cinque Terre The Cinque Terre (; lij, Çinque Tære, meaning "Five Lands") is a coastal area within Liguria it, Ligure , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = , demographics1_foo ...

Cinque Terre
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of Italian Peninsula, a peninsula delimited by the Alps and List of islands of Italy, several islands surrounding it, whose ...

Ghent Ghent ( ; : ''Gent'' ; : ''Gand'' ; traditional English: Gaunt) is a city and a in the of . It is the capital and largest city of the province, and the third largest in the country, exceeded in size only by and . It is a and city. The ...

in Belgium: the pedestrian zone was extended in 2017 from 35 to more than 50 hectares (123 acres), one of the largest car-free areas in Europe. *
Pontevedra Pontevedra (, ) is a Spanish city in the north-west of the Iberian Peninsula The Iberian Peninsula , ** * Aragonese and Occitan: ''Peninsula Iberica'' ** ** * french: Péninsule Ibérique * mwl, Península Eibérica * eu, Iberiar ...

Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

, an international model of pedestrianization, almost 50% of the city is pedestrianised.; * The Old Town of Rhodes, where many, if not most, of the streets are too steep and/or narrow for car traffic. *
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Mount Athos
, an autonomous monastic state under the
sovereignty Sovereignty is the supreme authority within a territory. Sovereignty entails hierarchy within the state, as well as external autonomy for states. In any state, sovereignty is assigned to the person, body, or institution that has the ultimate a ...
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of 2021; Athens is its largest and capital city, followed ...

, does not permit automobiles on its territory. Trucks and work-related vehicles only are in use there. * The medieval city of
Mdina Mdina ( mt, L-Imdina ; phn, 𐤌𐤋𐤈, Maleṭ; grc, Μελίττη, Melite (ancient city), Melíttē; ar, مدينة, Madīnah; ), also known by its Italian-language titles ("Old City") and ("Notable City"), is a fortifications of Mdina, ...

Malta Malta ( , , ), officially known as the Republic of Malta ( mt, Repubblika ta' Malta ) and formerly Melita, is a Southern European island country consisting of an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. It lies south of Italy, east of Tunisi ...

does not allow automobiles past the city walls. It is known as the "Silent City" because of the absence of motor traffic in the city. *
Sark Sark (french: link=no, Sercq, ; : ' or ') is a part of the in the southwestern , off the coast of , . It is a royal , which forms part of the , with its own set of laws based on and its own parliament. It has a population of about 500. Sark ...

, an island in the
English Channel The English Channel,, "The Sleeve"; nrf, la Maunche, "The Sleeve" (Cotentinais Cotentinais is the dialect The term dialect (from Latin , , from the Ancient Greek word , , "discourse", from , , "through" and , , "I speak") is used in two ...

English Channel
, is a car-free zone where only
bicycles Classic bell of a bicycle A bicycle, also called a bike or cycle, is a human-powered or motor-powered, pedal-driven, single-track vehicle, having two bicycle wheel, wheels attached to a bicycle frame, frame, one behind the other. A is cal ...

carriages A carriage is a private four-wheeled vehicle for people and is most commonly horse-drawn A horse-drawn vehicle is a mechanized piece of equipment pulled by one horse or by a team of horses. These vehicles typically had two or four wheels an ...
tractors A tractor is an engineering vehicle Heavy equipment or heavy machinery refers to heavy-duty vehicles, specially designed for executing construction tasks, most frequently ones involving Earthworks (engineering), earthwork operations or ot ...

are used as transportation. To assist with transport from the car parks in at the edge of car-free cities, there are often bus stations, bicycle sharing stations, and the like.

Car-free development

The term car-free ''development'' implies a physical change: either build-up or changes to an existing built area. Melia ''et al.'' (2010) define car-free developments as residential or mixed use developments which: * Normally provide a traffic-free immediate environment, and * Offer no parking or limited parking separated from the residence, and * Are designed to enable residents to live without owning a car. This definition (which they distinguish from the more common "low car development") is based mainly on experience in North West Europe, where the movement for car-free development began. Within this definition, three types are identified: * Vauban model * Limited Access model * Pedestrianised centres with residential population

Limited access type

The more common form of carfree development involves some sort of physical barrier, which prevents motor vehicles from penetrating into a car-free interior. Melia ''et al.'' describe this as the "limited access" type. In some cases, such as Stellwerk 60 in
Cologne Cologne ( ; german: Köln ; ksh, Kölle ) is the largest city of Germany, Germany's most populous States of Germany, state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and the List of cities in Germany by population, fourth-most populous city and one of t ...

, there is a removable barrier, controlled by a residents' organisation. In Amsterdam, Waterwijk is a 6-hectare neighborhood where cars may only access parking areas from the streets that form the edges of the neighborhood; all of the inner areas of the neighborhood are car-free.



Several studies have been carried out on European carfree developments. The most comprehensive was conducted in 2000 by Jan Scheurer.Scheurer, J. (2001) Urban Ecology, Innovations in Housing Policy and the Future of Cities: Towards Sustainability in Neighbourhood CommunitiesThesis (PhD), Murdoch University Institute of Sustainable Transport. Other more recent studies have been made of specific car-free areas such as Vienna's
Floridsdorf Floridsdorf () is the 21st districts of Vienna, district of Vienna (german: 21. Bezirk, Floridsdorf), located in the northern part of the city and comprising seven formerly independent communities: Floridsdorf, Donaufeld, Greater Jedlersdorf, Jedle ...
car-free development. Characteristics of car-free developments: * Very low levels of car use, resulting in much less traffic on surrounding roads * High rates of walking and cycling * More independent movement and active play for children * Less land is used for parking and roads, so more available for green or social space The main benefits found for car-free developments: *Low atmospheric emissions *Low road accident rates *Better built environment conditions *Encouragement of active modes. The main problems related to parking management. Where parking is not controlled in the surrounding area, this often results in complaints from neighbours about overspill parking.

Problems and criticism

There were calls for traffic to be reinstated in
Trafalgar Square Trafalgar Square ( ) is a public square in the City of Westminster, Central London, established in the early 19th century around the area formerly known as Charing Cross. The Square's name commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar, the Royal Navy, ...

Trafalgar Square
, London, after pedestrianisation caused noise nuisance for visitors to the
National Gallery The National Gallery is an art museum An art museum is a building or space for the display of art, usually from the museum's own Collection (artwork), collection. It might be in public or private ownership and may be accessible to all or h ...
. The director of the gallery is reported to have blamed pedestrianization for the "trashing of a civic space". Local shopkeepers may be critical of the effect of pedestrianization on their businesses. Reduced through traffic can lead to fewer customers using local businesses, depending on the environment and the area's dependence on the through traffic.

By region and country


A large number of European towns and cities have made part of their centres car-free since the early 1960s. These are often accompanied by
car park A parking lot (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Currently, America ...

car park
s on the edge of the pedestrianised zone, and, in the larger cases,
park and ride Park and ride (or incentive parking) facilities are parking lots with public transport Shanghai Metro is the second largest rapid transit system in the world by route length, after the Beijing Subway. Public transport (also known as pu ...


Belgium Belgium ( nl, België ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien ), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on cont ...

Brussels Brussels (french: Bruxelles or ; nl, Brussel ), officially the Brussels-Capital Region (All text and all but one graphic show the English name as Brussels-Capital Region.) (french: link=no, Région de Bruxelles-Capitale; nl, link=no, Brusse ...

implemented Europe's largest pedestrian zone (French: ''Le Piétonnier''), in phases starting in 2015 and will cover . The area covers much of the historic center within the '' Small Ring'' (the
ring road A ring road (also known as circular road, beltline, beltway, circumferential (high)way, loop, bypass or orbital) is a road or a series of connected roads encircling a town, city, or country. The most common purpose of a ring road is to assist i ...
built on the site of the 14th century walls), including the
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, the Place de Brouckère/De Brouckèreplein, the Boulevard Anspach/Anspachlaan, and the Place de la Bourse/Beursplein.


Copenhagen Copenhagen ( da, København ) is the capital and most populous city of Denmark. As of 1 January 2021, the city had a population of 799,033 (638,117 in Copenhagen Municipality, 103,677 in Frederiksberg Municipality, 42,670 in Tårnby Municipal ...

is one of the oldest and largest: it was converted from car traffic into a pedestrian zone in 1962 as an experiment, and is centered on , which is not a single street but a series of interconnected avenues which create a very large pedestrian zone, although it is crossed in places by streets with vehicular traffic. Most of these zones allow delivery trucks to service the businesses there during the early morning, and street-cleaning vehicles will usually go through these streets after most shops have closed for the night. It has grown in size from in 1962 to in 1996.


A number of German islands ban or strictly limit the private use of motor vehicles.
Heligoland Heligoland (; german: link=no, Helgoland ; Heligolandic Frisian: ''deät Lun'', , Mooring Frisian: ''Hålilönj,'' Danish: ''Helgoland'') is a small archipelago in the North Sea. A part of the Germany, German state of Schleswig-Holstein sin ...
Hiddensee Hiddensee () is a Auto-free zone, car-free island in the Baltic Sea, located west of Germany's largest island, Rügen, on the Germany, German coast. The island has about 1,000 inhabitants. It was a holiday destination for East Germany, East Ger ...

, and all but two of the
East Frisian islands The East Frisian Islands (German: ''Ostfriesische Inseln'', West Frisian: ''Eastfryske eilannen'', stq, Aastefräiske Ailounds) are a chain of islands in the North Sea The North Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean between Great Britain (speci ...
are car-free;
Borkum Borkum ( nds, Borkum, Börkum) is an island and a municipality in the Leer District in Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a German state The Federal Republic of Germany, as a ...
Norderney Norderney ( nds, Nördernee) is one of the seven populated East Frisian Islands off the North Sea coast of Germany. The island is , having a total area of about and is therefore Germany's ninth-largest island. Norderney's population amounts ...

have car-free zones and strictly limit automobile use during the summer season and in certain areas, also forbidding travel at night. Some areas provide exceptions for police and emergency vehicles; Heligoland also bans bicycles. In the early 1980s, the Alternative Liste für Demokratie und Umweltschutz (which later became part of
Alliance 90/The Greens Alliance 90/The Greens, often simply Greens (german: Bündnis 90/Die Grünen or '; ), is a green Green is the color Color ( American English), or colour ( Commonwealth English), is the characteristic of visual perception descr ...
) unsuccessfully campaigned to make
West Berlin West Berlin (german: Berlin (West) or ) was a political enclave An enclave is a territory (or a part of one) that is entirely surrounded by the territory of one other state. Enclaves may also exist within territorial waters. ''Enclave'' ...
a car-free zone.


In the
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Rotterdam Rotterdam ( , , ) is the second largest city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2n ...

's city center was almost completely destroyed by German bombing in 1940. The city decided to build a central shopping street, for pedestrians only, the
Lijnbaan The Lijnbaan is the main shopping street of Rotterdam Rotterdam (, , ) is the second largest city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., ...

. This served as a model for many other such streets in the early post-
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
era, such as
Warsaw Warsaw, * la, Varsovia (Polish language, Polish: ''Warszawa'' ), officially the Capital City of Warsaw, is the capital and List of cities and towns in Poland, largest city of Poland. The metropolis stands on the Vistula, River Vistula in e ...

, Poland and the UK's first pedestrianised in
Stevenage Stevenage ( ) is a large town and Non-metropolitan district, borough in Hertfordshire, England, north of London. Stevenage is east of junctions 7 and 8 of the A1(M) motorway, A1(M), between Letchworth Garden City to the north and Welwyn Garde ...

in 1959. Rotterdam has since expanded the pedestrian zone to other streets.

United Kingdom

In Britain, shopping streets primarily for pedestrians date back to the thirteenth century. A 1981 study found that many Victorian and later arcades continued to be used. A third of London's 168 precincts at that time had been built before 1939, as were a tenth of the 1,304 precincts in the U.K. as a whole. Early post-1945 new towns carried on the tradition of providing some traffic-free shopping streets. However, in the conversion of traditional shopping streets to pedestrian precincts, Britain started only in 1967 (versus Germany's first conversion in 1929, or the first in the U.S. in 1959). Since then growth was rapid, such that by 1980 a study found that most British towns and cities had a pedestrian shopping precinct; 1,304 in total.


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is a pedestrian street (except for a historic streetcar that runs along it) and a major tourist draw.

U.S. and Canada


Some Canadian examples are the
Sparks Street Sparks Street (''French:'' Rue Sparks) is a Pedestrian zone, pedestrian mall in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. It was a main street in Ottawa that was converted into an outdoor pedestrian street in 1967, making it the earliest such street or mall in ...
Mall area of
Ottawa Ottawa (, ; Canadian Canadians (french: Canadiens) are people identified with the country of Canada. This connection may be residential, legal, historical or cultural. For most Canadians, many (or all) of these connections exist and are ...

, the
Distillery District The Distillery District is a commercial and residential district in Toronto Toronto is the capital city of the Provinces and territories of Canada, Canadian province of Ontario. With a recorded population of 2,731,571 in 2016, it is the List ...

Distillery District
Toronto Toronto (, ) is the capital city of the Provinces and territories of Canada, Canadian province of Ontario. With a recorded population of 2,731,571 in 2016 in 2016, it is the List of the largest municipalities in Canada by population, most p ...

, Scarth Street Mall in Regina,
Stephen Avenue Stephen Avenue is a major pedestrian mall in downtown ''Downtown'' is a term primarily used in North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It can al ...
Mall in
Calgary Calgary Calgary ( ) is a city in the western Canadian province The provinces and territories of Canada are sub-national divisions within the geographical areas of Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America ...

(with certain areas open to parking for permit holders) and part of Prince Arthur Street and the
Gay Village A gay village (also known as a gay neighborhood, gay enclave, gayvenue, gay ghetto, gaytto, gay district, gaytown or gayborhood) is a geographical area with generally recognized boundaries, inhabited or frequented by many lesbian ...
Montreal Montreal ( ; officially Montréal, ) is the second-most populous city in Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of . Its extend from the to the and northward into the , covering , making it the world's . Its southern and w ...

. Algonquin and Ward's Islands, parts of the
Toronto Islands The Toronto Islands (formerly "Aiionwatha" and "Hiawatha's Island")—are a chain of 15 small islands in Lake Ontario, south of mainland Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Comprising the only group of islands in the western part of Lake Ontario, the ...

Toronto Islands
group, are also car-free zones for all 700 residents. Since summer 2004, Toronto has also been experimenting with " Pedestrian Sunday

in its busy
Kensington Market Kensington Market is a distinctive multicultural neighbourhood in Downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Market is an older neighbourhood and one of the city's most well-known. In November 2006, it was designated a National Historic Sites of Canad ...
. Granville Mall in
Halifax, Nova Scotia Halifax (Miꞌkmaq The Miꞌkmaq (also ''Mi'gmaq'', ''Lnu'', ''Miꞌkmaw'' or ''Miꞌgmaw''; ; ) are a First Nations people of the Indigenous peoples of the Northeastern Woodlands, Northeastern Woodlands, indigenous to the areas now known as C ...
was a run-down section of buildings on Granville Street built in the 1840s that was restored in the late 1970s. The area was then closed off to vehicles.

United States

=Downtown pedestrian zones

= In the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
, these zones are commonly called pedestrian malls or pedestrian streets and today are relatively rare, with a few notable exceptions. They were more closely tied to the success of retail than in Europe, and by the 1980s, most did not succeed competing with ever more elaborate enclosed malls. Almost all of this generation of pedestrian malls built from 1959 through to the 1970s, have disappeared, or were shrunk down in the 1990s at the request of the retailers. Half of Kalamazoo's pedestrian mall, America's first, has been converted into a regular street with auto traffic, though with wide sidewalks. In 1959,
Kalamazoo Kalamazoo is a city in the southwest region of the U.S. state of Michigan. It is the county seat of Kalamazoo County. As of the 2010 census, Kalamazoo had a population of 74,262. Kalamazoo is the major city of the Kalamazoo-Portage Metropol ...

was the first American city to implement a "pedestrian mall" in its downtown core, This became a method that some cities applied for their downtowns to compete with the growing suburban shopping malls of the time. In the 1960s and 70s over 200 towns in the United States adopted this approach. The idea of exclusive pedestrian zones lost popularity through the 1980s and into the 1990s and results were generally disappointing, but are enjoying a renaissance with the 1989 renovation and relaunch of the
Third Street Promenade The Third Street Promenade is a Pedestrian malls in the United States, pedestrian mall esplanade, shopping, dining and entertainment complex in the downtown area of Santa Monica, California which originally opened as the Santa Monica Mall on Novemb ...
Santa Monica, California Santa Monica () is a beachfront city in western Los Angeles County, California, United States. Situated on Santa Monica Bay, it is bordered on five sides by different neighborhoods of the city of Los Angeles: Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles, Pac ...

Santa Monica, California
, the 1994-5
Fremont Street Experience The Fremont Street Experience (FSE) is a pedestrian mall and attraction in downtown Las Vegas Downtown Las Vegas (commonly abbreviated as DTLV) is the central business district and historic center of Las Vegas, Nevada. It is the original townsi ...

Fremont Street Experience
Las Vegas Las Vegas (; Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambi ...

Las Vegas
and recent pedestrianization of various streets in
New York City New York, often called New York City to distinguish it from , or NYC for short, is the in the United States. With a 2020 population of 8,804,190 distributed over , New York City is also the major city in the United States. Located at the s ...

New York City
. The
Downtown Mall The Sprint Pavilion at the east end of the mall. The Downtown Mall in Charlottesville, Virginia is one of the longest pedestrian malls in the United States. Located on Main Street, it runs from 6th St. N.E. to Old Preston Ave., where it extends to ...
Charlottesville, VA Charlottesville, colloquially known as C'ville, is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia Virginia (), officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a U.S. state, state in the Mid-Atlantic (United States), Mid-Atlantic and So ...
is one of the longest
pedestrian mall Pedestrian zones (also known as auto-free zones and car-free zones, as pedestrian precincts in British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germa ...
s in the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
, created in
1976 Events January * January January is the first month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendar The Gregorian calendar is the used in most of the world. It was introduced in October 1582 by as a modification of the , r ...
and spanning nine city blocks. A number of streets and malls in
New York City New York, often called New York City to distinguish it from , or NYC for short, is the in the United States. With a 2020 population of 8,804,190 distributed over , New York City is also the major city in the United States. Located at the s ...

New York City
are now pedestrian-only, including 6½ Avenue,
Fulton StreetFulton Street may refer to: Places Chicago *Fulton-Randolph Market District *Fulton River District New York City In New York City, the name is frequently associated with Robert Fulton, who invented a steam boat. Street names * Fulton Street (Broo ...
, parts of
Broadway Broadway may refer to: Theatre * Broadway Theatre (disambiguation) * Broadway theatre, theatrical productions in professional theatres near Broadway, Manhattan, New York City, U.S. ** Broadway (Manhattan), the street **Broadway Theatre (53rd Str ...
, and a block of 25th Street. A portion of Third Street in Santa Monica in
Greater Los Angeles Greater Los Angeles, with a 2019 population of 18,710,563, is the second-largest urban region area in the United States, encompassing five counties in southern California extending from Ventura County, California, Ventura County in the west ...
was converted into a pedestrian mall in the 1960s to become what is now the Third Street Promenade, a very popular shopping district located just a few blocks from the beach and
Santa Monica Pier The Santa Monica Pier is a large double-jointed pier at the foot of Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica, California Santa Monica () is a beachfront city in western Los Angeles County, California, United States. Situated on Santa Monica Bay, it is ...

Santa Monica Pier
Lincoln Road Lincoln Road Mall is a pedestrian road running east–west parallel between 16th Street and 17th Street in Miami Beach, Florida, Miami Beach, Florida, United States. Once completely open to vehicular traffic, it now hosts a pedestrian mall replet ...

Lincoln Road
Miami Beach Miami Beach is a coastal in , , . It was incorporated on March 26, 1915. The is located on natural and s between the and , the latter of which separates the Beach from the mainland city of . The of , comprising the southernmost of Miami ...

Miami Beach
, which had previously been a shopping street with traffic, was converted into a pedestrian only street in 1960. The designer was Morris Lapidus. Lincoln Road Mall is now one of the main attractions in Miami Beach.

=Outside large cities

Mackinac Island Mackinac Island ( ; french: Île Mackinac) is an island and resort area, covering in land area, in the U.S. state In the , a state is a , of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a , each state holds al jurisdiction over a s ...

Mackinac Island
, between the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan, banned
horseless carriage Image:Autobus amedee-bollee.jpg, 240px, ''L'Obéissante'' Horseless carriage is an early name for the car, motor car or automobile. Prior to the invention of the motor car, carriages were usually pulled by animals, typically horses. The term can be ...

horseless carriage
s in 1896, making it auto-free. The original ban still stands, except for emergency vehicles. Travel on the island is largely by foot, bicycle, or horse-drawn carriage. An road, M-185 rings the island, and numerous roads cover the interior. M-185 is the only highway in the United States without motorized vehicles.
Fire Island Fire Island is the large center island of the outer barrier islands parallel to the south shore of Long Island Long Island is a densely populated island in the southeast part of the U.S. state In the United States The Unit ...

Fire Island
Suffolk County, New York Suffolk County () is the easternmost county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (p ...
is pedestrianised east of the
Fire Island Lighthouse The Fire Island Lighthouse is a visible landmark on the Great South Bay, in southern Suffolk County, New York, Suffolk County, New York (state), New York on the western end of Fire Island, New York, Fire Island, a barrier island off the southern coa ...

Fire Island Lighthouse
and west of
Smith Point County Park Smith Point County Park is a beachfront park facing the Atlantic Ocean on the east end of Fire Island, along the central south shore of Long Island, near Shirley, New York, United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known ...
(with the exception of emergency vehicles). Supai, Arizona, located within the Havasupai Indian Reservation is entirely car-free, the only community in the United States where mail is still carried out by mule. Supai is located eight miles from the nearest road, and is accessible only by foot, horse/mule, or helicopter.

Latin America


Argentina's big cities; Córdoba, Argentina, Córdoba, Mendoza, Argentina, Mendoza and Rosario, Argentina, Rosario have lively pedestrianised street centers ( es, peatonales) combined with town squares and parks which are crowded with people walking at every hour of the day and night. Most (if not all) of Argentina's cities are human-scale and pedestrian-friendly, although vehicle traffic may be hectic in some areas. In Buenos Aires, some stretches of Florida Street, Calle Florida have been pedestrianised since 1913, which makes it one of the oldest car-free thoroughfares in the world today. Pedestrianised Florida, Lavalle Street, Lavalle and other streets contribute to a vibrant shopping and restaurant scene where busking, street performers and Tango (dance), tango dancers abound, streets are crossed with vehicular traffic at Chamfer, chamfered corners.


Paquetá Island in Rio de Janeiro is auto-free. The only cars allowed on the island are police and ambulance vehicles. In Rio de Janeiro, the roads beside the beaches are auto-free on Sundays and holidays. Downtown Rio de Janeiro, Ouvidor Street, over almost its entire length, has been continually a pedestrian space since the mid-nineteenth century when not even carts or carriages were allowed. And the Saara District, also downtown, consists of some dozen or more blocks of colonial streets, off-limits to cars, and crowded with daytime shoppers. Likewise, many of the city's hillside favelas are effectively pedestrian zones as the streets are too narrow and/or steep for automobiles. Eixo Rodoviário, in Brasília, which is 13 kilometers long and 30 meters wide and is an arterial road connecting the center of that city from both southward and northward wings of Brasília's Plano Piloto, perpendicular to the well known Eixo Monumental (Monumental Axis in English), is auto-free on Sundays and holidays. Rua XV de Novembro (15 November Street) in Curitiba is one of the first major pedestrian streets in Brazil.


Chile has many large pedestrian streets. An example is Paseo Ahumada in Santiago and Calle Valparaíso in Viña del Mar.


During his 1998–2001 term, the former Bogotá mayor, U.S.-born Enrique Peñalosa, created several pedestrian streets, plazas and Bogotá's Bike Paths Network, bike paths integrated with a new TransMilenio, bus rapid transit system. The historic center of Cartagena, Colombia, Cartagena closes some streets to cars during certain hours. In downtown Armenia, Colombia there is a large pedestrian street where several boutiques are located. Santa Marta also has permanent pedestrian zones in the historic center around the Cathedral Basílica of Santa Marta.


The Historic center of Mexico City has 12 pedestrian streets including Madero Street, and as of June 30, 2020, is expanding the number to 42 pedestrian streets. Génova is a busy pedestrian street in the Zona Rosa, Mexico City, Zona Rosa as is Plaza Garibaldi downtown, where mariachis play. Playa del Carmen has a pedestrian mall, '' Quinta Avenida'', ("Fifth Avenue") that stretches and receives 4 million visitors annually with hundreds of shops and restaurants.


Jirón de La Unión in Lima is a traditional pedestrian street located in the Historic Centre of Lima, part of the capital of Peru. In the city of Arequipa, Mercaderes is also a considerably large pedestrian street. Also, recently three of the four streets surrounding the city's main square or "Plaza de Armas" were also made pedestrian.

South and East Asia

Mainland China

Nanjing Road (Shanghai), Nanjing Road in Shanghai is perhaps the most well-known pedestrian zone in mainland China. Wangfujing is a famous tourist and retail oriented pedestrian zone in Beijing. Chunxilu in Chengdu is the most well known in western China. Dongmen is the busiest business zone in Shenzhen. Zhongyang Street is a historical large pedestrian street in Harbin.

Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, since 2000, the government has been implementing full-time or part-time pedestrian streets in a number of areas, including Causeway Bay, Central, Wan Chai, Mong Kok, and Tsim Sha Tsui. The most popular pedestrian street is Sai Yeung Choi Street. It was converted into a pedestrian street in 2003. From December 2008 to May 2009, there were three Mong Kok acid attacks, acid attacks during which corrosive liquids were placed in plastic bottles and thrown from the roof of apartments down onto the street.


Vehicles have been banned in the town of Matheran, in Maharashtra, India since the time it was discovered in 1854. In India, a citizens’ initiative in Goa state, has made 18 June Road, Panjim's main shopping boulevard a Non-Motorised Zone(NoMoZo). The road is converted into a NoMoZo for half a day on one Sunday every month. In Pune, Maharashtra, similar efforts have been made to convert M.G. Road (a.k.a. Main Street) into an open-air mall. The project in question aimed to create a so-called "Walking Plaza". In May 2019, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) made the busy Ajmal Khan Road in Karol Bagh pedestrian-only.


Pedestrian zones in Japan are called ''hokōsha tengoku'' (歩行者天国, literally "pedestrian heaven"). Clis Road, in Sendai, Japan, is a covered pedestrian mall, as is Hondōri in Hiroshima. Several major streets in Tokyo are closed to vehicles during weekends. One particular temporary ''hokōsha tengoku'' in Akihabara was cancelled after the Akihabara massacre in which a man rammed a truck into the pedestrian traffic and subsequently stabbed more than 12 people.

South Korea

Insadong in Seoul, South Korea has a large pedestrian zone (''Insadong-gil'') during certain hours. Also in South Korea, in 2013, in the Haenggun-dong neighbourhood of Suwon, streets were closed to cars as a month-long car-free experiment while the city hosted the EcoMobility World Festival. Instead of cars, residents used non-motorized vehicles provided by the festival organizers. The experiment was not unopposed; however, on balance it was considered a success. Following the festival, the city embarked on discussions about adopting the practice on a permanent basis.


Ximending in Taipei, Taiwan is a neighborhood and shopping district in the Wanhua District of Taipei, Taiwan. It was the first pedestrian zone in Taiwan. The district is very popular in Taiwan. In central Taiwan, Yizhong Street is one of the most popular pedestrian shopping area in Taichung.


In Thailand, some small streets (Soi) in Bangkok are designed to be all-time closed traffic, the city's famous shopping streets of Sampheng Lane in Chinatown, Bangkok, Chinatown and Wang Lang Market nearby to Siriraj Hospital, are the most popular for both local and tourists shopping streets. Additionally the city has built long skywalk systems. Walking Street, Pattaya is also closed to traffic. Night markets are routinely closed to auto traffic.


Huế in Vietnam has made 3 roads into pedestrians-only on weekend nights. Also, Hanoi has opened an :vi:Phố đi bộ Hà Nội, Old Quarter Walking Street on weekend nights. Ho Chi Minh City also changed Nguyễn Huệ street into pedestrian zone.

Middle East and North Africa

North Africa contains some of the largest auto-free areas in the world. Fes-al-Bali, a medina quarter, medina of Fes, Morocco, with its population of 156,000, may be the world's largest contiguous completely carfree area, and the medinas of Cairo, Tunis, Casablanca, Meknes, Essaouira, and Tangier are quite extensive. In Israel, Tel Aviv has a pedestrian mall, near ''Nahalat Binyamin Street''. Ben Yehuda Street (Jerusalem), Ben Yehuda Street in Jerusalem is a pedestrian mall.



In Australia, as in the US, these zones are commonly called pedestrian malls and in most cases comprise only one pedestrian street, street. Most pedestrian streets were created in the late 1970s and 1980s, the first being City Walk, Garema Place in Canberra in 1971. Of 58 pedestrian streets created in Australia in the last quarter of the 20th century, 48 remain today, ten having re-introduced car access between 1990 and 2004.IRIS: Australian Outdoor Pedestrian Mall Survey 200

retrieved 2009-10-02
All capital cities in Australia have at least one pedestrian street of which most central are: Pitt Street Mall and Martin Place, Sydney, Martin Place in Sydney, Bourke Street, Melbourne, Bourke Street Mall in Melbourne, Queen Street Mall and Brunswick Street Mall in Brisbane, Rundle Mall in Adelaide, Hay Street, Perth, Hay Street and Murray Street, Perth, Murray Street Malls in Perth, Elizabeth Street Mall in Hobart, City Walk, Canberra, City Walk in Canberra, and Smith Street, Darwin, Smith Street in Darwin. Many other mid-sized and regional Australian cities also feature pedestrian malls, examples include Langtree Avenue Mildura, Victoria, Mildura, Cavill Avenue Gold Coast, Queensland, Gold Coast, Bridge Street Ballarat, Victoria, Ballarat, Nicholas Street Ipswich, Queensland, Ipswich, Hargreaves Street Bendigo, Maude Street Shepparton, Victoria, Shepparton and Little Mallop Street Geelong. Empirical studies by Jan Gehl indicate an increase of pedestrian traffic as result of public domain improvements in the centres of Melbourne with 39% increase between 1994 and 2004Melbourne 'Places for People'
and Perth with 13% increase between 1993 and 2009.City of Perth - Public Spaces Public Life
Most intensive pedestrian traffic flows on a summer weekday have been recorded in Bourke Street Mall Melbourne with 81,000 pedestrians (2004), Rundle Mall Adelaide with 61,360 pedestrians (2002), Pitt Street Mall Sydney with 58,140 (2007) and Murray Street Mall Perth with 48,350 pedestrians (2009). Rottnest Island off Perth is car-free, only allowing vehicles for essential services. Bicycles are the main form of transport on the island; they can be hired or brought over on the ferry. In Melbourne's north-eastern suburbs, there have been many proposals to make the Doncaster Hill development area a pedestrian zone. If the proposals are passed, the zone could be one of the largest in the world, by area.

New Zealand

In New Zealand, it is becoming more common to use public transportation against cars, such as in Queenstown, New Zealand, Queenstown, a prominent pedestrianised area including multiple lanes and streets inside the main blocks. Queenstown Lakes District Council and affiliated groups including Destination Queenstown and Downtown Queenstown propose adding another stretch into a car free zone. This is continuing with large grassed settings along the full pedestrianised promenade. Auckland is also starting to pedestrianise malls and streets.

See also

* Carfree city * Car Free Days * Car-free movement * Footpath * Jan Gehl * List of car-free places * Living street * Pedestrian village * ''Principles of intelligent urbanism'' * *


{{DEFAULTSORT:Pedestrian Zone Car-free zones,