Lima introduced one day a month where all motorized transport is banned from the historic city center of Lima, opening and cleaning up the streets for pedestrians.

The Challenge

Lima had the most polluted air in Latin America in 20141, with motor vehicles cited as the main cause. By freeing the streets from dangerous smog once a month, the city hopes to raise awareness of the problem and change transportation habits.

The Solution

For 12 hours on the last Sunday of every month, the Peruvian capital city has created a ban for vehicles in the old and central district. This road closure promotes more sustainable transport alternatives and is also used as a chance to create artistic, educational, and gastronomic activities for the city's citizens and tourists. It also serves as respite for the air pollution caused by traffic during the remainder of the month. To further encourage walking and cycling in the city, Lima offers free cycling workshops and has created additional cycle routes. And to determine the difference created by the scheme, the city regularly measures air particulates as well as noise levels. Particulate levels more than halved during one of the car-free days and noise levels fell from 78 to 59 decibels, creating a cleaner, calmer, and healthier environment for all to enjoy.

Environmental Benefits – Preventing cars from entering the city center not only reduces air and noise pollution, but also cuts greenhouse gas emissions from cars.

Social Benefits – Taking cars off the road allows more space for socially inclusive activities. The city estimates that the free cycling workshops and entertainment have benefited more than 7,000 people.

Health Benefits – Lima is taking its first small step in reducing air pollution, showing what sort of environment is possible when cars are absent and more people cycle.

About Cities100

Presented by C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), Sustainia and Realdania – Cities100 2017 showcases leading solutions to urban climate challenges in five sectors: Energy, Waste, Adaptation, Mitigation and Transportation.

Available online and in print, Cities100 provides stakeholders an accessible format to explore achievable solutions for climate action in cities, and will be a useful tool for relevant groups ranging from impact investors and development organizations, to mayors and city governments. You can access the full Cities100 2017 publication online here.

  • Environmental
  • Health
  • Social
Emissions Reduction
33 µg/m3 of particulate emissions have been reduced during a Sunday without cars
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