Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-7635

Review | Open Access

Driving Towards Car-Independent Neighborhoods in Europe: A Typology and Systematic Literature Review

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Abstract:  Car-independent neighborhoods can be seen as a planning strategy for overcoming car dependency and achieving urban sustainability goals. This implies a structural and psychological car independency of people, which manifests itself into positive attitudes and perceptions towards sustainable mobility, acceptance of corresponding measures, and a shift from private cars to active transport, public transport, and sharing modes. Despite their relevance, knowledge regarding the actual implications of the various existing strategies remains scarce. This gap is addressed in this literature review, which aims to: (a) identify types of implemented car-independent neighborhood policies; (b) explore their rationales, main characteristics, and implications for mobility behavior, psychological factors, perceptions, and acceptance; and (c) investigate how they have been evaluated. Existing implementations in Europe can be divided into four types: car-independent central areas, residential developments, citywide implementations, and temporary interventions, which differ in their rationales and scope. Overall, little research was found on this topic, with most studies focusing on newly built residential developments, compared to the other types. There is evidence of positive impacts on sustainable mobility behavior in the relevant use cases. However, it is often unclear whether this is a causality or correlation due to the absence of comprehensive (longitudinal) evaluations. Less is known regarding the implications of implementations for psychological factors and perceptions and their interplay with mobility behavior. For future research, it is recommended to evaluate other types of car-independent interventions beyond newly built developments through long-term observation of attitudinal and behavioral changes.

Keywords:  acceptance; attitudes; car dependency; car-free; car-independent; low-car; mobility behavior; perceptions; review; typology



© Simone Aumann, Julia Kinigadner, David Duran-Rodas, Benjamin Büttner. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.