Critical factors for mitigating car traffic in cities

Car traffic in urban systems has been studied intensely in past decades but models are either limited to a specific aspect of traffic or applied to a specific region. Despite the importance and urgency of the problem the authors have a poor theoretical understanding of the parameters controlling urban car use and congestion. Here, they combine economical and transport ingredients into a statistical physics approach and propose a generic model that predicts for different cities the share of car drivers, the CO₂ emitted by cars and the average commuting time. The authors confirm these analytical predictions on 25 major urban areas in the world, and our results suggest that urban density is not the most relevant variable controlling car-related quantities but rather are the city’s area size and the density of public transport. Mitigating the traffic (and its effect such as CO₂ emissions) can then be obtained by reducing the urbanized area size or, more realistically, by improving either the public transport density or its access. In particular, increasing the population density is a good idea only if it also increases the fraction of individuals having access to public transport.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: e0219559
  • Serial:
  • Publication flags:

    Open Access (libre)

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01714917
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 22 2019 3:03PM