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Léa Bou Sleiman (CREST) – "Are car-free downtown zones detrimental to the periphery? Evidence from the pedestrianization of Paris' riverank"

February 25, 2020 @ 12:15 pm - 1:30 pm
The Microeconometrics Seminar: Every Tuesday at 12:15 pm.
Time: 12:15 pm – 1:30 pm
Date: 25th of February 2020
Place: Room 3001
Léa BOU SLEIMAN (CREST) – “Are car-free downtown zones detrimental to the periphery? Evidence from the pedestrianization of Paris’ riverank

Abstract: The “Georges Pompidou” riverbanks were used by around 40 000 vehicles everyday to commute from the west to the east suburbs of Paris. On September 1st 2016, 3.3 km of the banks along the “Seine” river situated in the heart of the French capital were pedestrianized in order to encourage alternative means to car transportation. However, this decision has been contested many times due to the potential displacement of congestion and pollution. This paper evaluates the causal effect of the “Georges Pompidou” riverbank closure on the traffic situation of the ring roads around Paris. Using a difference-in-difference design, I show that the probability of congestion increased by 3.7 percentage points on the ring roads (an increase of 17% compared to 2015). The probability of congestion is 2.5 percentage points larger on the south ring roads compared to the north ring roads.  Furthermore, having traffic data from 2013 to 2018, I show that occupancy rates rose sharply on the ring roads and there is no evidence of a decrease of congestion over the years. By separately estimating the impact on week-ends and week-days and during day time (8am to 9 pm) and night time, I show that the bulk of the effect is driven by high-traffic hours. Overall, the occupancy time on the south outer ring road from “Porte de Saint Cloud” to “Porte de Bercy” increased on average by about 41 minutes during the day. This sheds light on the inability of car users to use alternatives to car transportation.


Xavier D’HAULTFOEUILLE (Laboratoire de Microéconométrie-CREST)
Benoît SCHMUTZ (Laboratoire de Microéconométrie-CREST)