News - How walking and cycling reduce congestion: FLOW Quick Facts published

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How walking and cycling reduce congestion: FLOW Quick Facts published


What happens when you remove a car lane to put in a new bicycle lane? Or you give pedestrians more time to cross a busy road? FLOW published a new collection of Quick Facts from cities who measured the impact pedestrian and cyclist measures have on congestion.

The CIVITAS FLOW project has collected 15 Quick Facts to provide cities with evidence of how walking and cycling measures can not only improve conditions for pedestrians and cyclists, but also reduce congestion. From a FLOW survey we know that nearly half of European political and administrative decision makers worry about congestion when introducing walking (41%) and cycling (48%) measures. But there's growing evidence that walking and cycling measures can actually help reduce congestion in cities. The FLOW Quick Facts describe some surprising results about overall transport efficiency that has been achieved while improving conditions for walking and cycling. 

Narrowing roads in Lisbon to reduce crossing distance for pedestrians does not increase congestion:

For example, FLOW partner city Lisbon reduced the crossing distance and the curve radii on busy Alexandre Herculano Street in the city centre. This change in the intersection layout makes pedestrians feel safer (+18%) and less pressured to rush across the street (-14%). This widening of the sidewalk did not increase congestion despite the reduction of road space for cars.  

So rather than fearing increased congestion when they improve conditions for walking and cycling, we hope the FLOW Quick Facts help inspire city officials to make bold decisions for their city’s streets and for the liveability of their city. Active travel can be part of the solution to increase capacity and improve the flow of traffic – for everyone.

Download the FLOW Quick Facts here:

About FLOW:

FLOW is a CIVITAS Horizon 2020 project, running from May 2015 to April 2018. FLOW has developed a multimodal analysis methodology to assess the impact of walking and cycling measures on transport network performance and congestion. FLOW’s ideas are being tested in its partner cities of Budapest, Dublin, Gdynia, Lisbon, Munich and Sofia.

For more information, visit:


FLOW Dissemination Manager

Dagmar Köhler,
Pasquale Cancellara,


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