The “car-less city centre concept” was developed to prevent heavy traffic in the inner-city area.
In 1993, the city council Leipzig introduced the “car-less city centre concept”. Its main goal is a better “quality to stay” and, through a stepwise reduction of flowing and stationary car traffic, a longer spare time of tourist and residents in the centre. A first set of measures in the form of requirements and rules were introduced to reduce the city-centre car traffic to a necessary minimum. The rules and requirements were introduced, first and foremost, to make the inner city more attractive for pedestrians, i.e. to increase the “walking share” in the modal split pie. At the same time, the city council introduced these rules (backed with technical support of urban and traffic planners) to facilitate the best possible co-existence scenario of different traffic participants (cyclists, delivery truck drivers) and of city space “users” (shop owners, residents, tourists). Since 1993 the concept has been adapted several times to reflect the ongoing changes in the city center.
Based on developments, the involved parties have to assess the situation regularly and define new measures. Afterwards, these measures have to be approved by the respective responsible parties and the budget set aside for this. The needed finances depend on the measures selected.
Evidence of success
Several measures, often in form of new rules for traffic users, were implemented over the years,e.g. new signage, bollards as road-blocks. A first adaptation of the concept took place in 1998 when the main train station in the city center was remodeled and a guided path for pedestrians was created to reach the city center safely and easily. In 2008, the concept was further elaborated and the two main pedestrian axes, west-east and north-south, were connected to enable pedestrians to freely move.
Most of the time, conflicts occur when different interests clash on the same space. The difficulty was that people still do not always adhere to the new rules even though all the relevant information was available, signs in place etc. To make sure that all comply, regular checks are necessary.
Potential for learning or transfer
A car-less city centre does not only work well for Leipzig, but for other cities too. For improving the attractiveness of inner-city space in order to invite pedestrian visitors and residents to stay, a decrease of car volume is only logical.
The most important thing before drawing up and implementing the car-less concept, the specific goals must be specified and the support of political stakeholder must be ensured. It is important to keep the process transparent all along the way and to have all relevant stakeholders and decision makers on-board, at an early project stage, i.e. inviting the relevant decision makers to working groups where the car-less city centre concept content and objectives were to be formulated. This is important to assure that the concept would be successfully adopted by the city council.