1. Paris – 92.28/100
Coming in at the top spot on our list, Paris scores an astonishing 92.28/100 on our index. Not only was Paris ranked first place in both the public transport and bikeshare categories, but it also managed to take home second place in bikeability, accommodation and things to do, while also scoring very well for walkability.
Given some of the steps that the city has taken in recent times to make the city less car-centric, it may come as little surprise that the French capital performed so well in this index.
Paris has a number of pedestrianised and car-free areas, regularly restricting areas of the city to car traffic and holds car-free days to allow people to explore without being bothered by traffic!1
The city also recently added over 50km of pop-up bike lanes during the coronavirus pandemic, which they later announced they would be keeping as part of their plan to make Paris “100% cyclable”.2
With the Paris Olympics less than a year away, it’s great to see that the city is making efforts to make the events accessible to visitors without ever having to drive a car!
2. Berlin – 79.68/100
The German capital ranks second overall on our index. The city received very high scores in public transport and bikeability, but lacks walkability compared to some of the other top-performing cities on our list.
Similar to Paris, Berlin has many pedestrian-first and walkable projects that are helping make it more convenient and pleasant to get around the city car-free. For example, since 2019, various analogue and digital information pillars have been installed at eight locations around the city (with up to 220 additional sites expected over the coming years) as part of the “tourist information system,” which aims to help tourists and locals better orient and navigate the city on foot!4
3. Amsterdam – 72.59/100
No list of car-free cities would be complete without mentioning the Dutch city of Amsterdam. Famous – among other things – for its bicycling culture and pedestrian-first city planning, it might come as little surprise to know that this Dutch city scored extremely well for bikeability and public transport. The category bringing Amsterdam down the most was the relatively high price of a taxi, at almost AU$4 per kilometre – the sixth most expensive on our list.
Amsterdam is no stranger to car-free projects and experiments. In June of this year, the city closed one of their busiest streets – Weesperstraat – for six weeks as part of an experiment to test how the closure affected the quality of life of the neighbourhood.5
If you are traveling to Amsterdam, it probably just wouldn’t feel right to hire a car instead of exploring this beautiful city on two wheels (or feet), like so many of its residents do every day!
1. Dallas – 9.44/100
Dallas, Texas, takes the lowest spot on our index, with a lowly overall score of only 9.44/100, proving that not everything is bigger in Texas. Dallas may not be the absolute worst in any one category but comes extremely close across the board.
2. Houston – 10.14/100
Houston, we have a problem! Well, we might have a problem trying to get around this Texan city without a car at least. The second-lowest city on our index, Houston scored just 10.14/100 overall. While the city scored very low in most categories (including the most expensive taxi trip, at almost AU$5 per kilometre), Houston has a surprising number of accommodation options, which helped to push this city above Its Texan neighbour.
3. Atlanta – 11.06/100
The third-lowest city on our list is Atlanta. Similar to Dallas and Houston, Atlanta suffers from low scores across all categories, but fares especially bad when it comes to walkability, where Atlanta received the lowest rank on our list.