Traffic restrictions playing a part
The decrease in city traffic is not particularly drastic, in terms of year-on-year figures it represents a fall of 1.2%. “The economic recession has had an apparent influence on the situation, as there was a predominant fall in freight traffic, down by 2.7%,” said Ladislav Pivec, Deputy Director of Technická správa komunikací Praha (TSK) (Prague Highways Authority). Another factor in the decrease lies in the City’s traffic control measures, which have particularly helped to limit heavy-goods traffic.
More stagnation than decrease
For example, motor traffic clocked up a total of 21.93 million kilometres last year compared to 22.2 million in 2010. Although statistically-speaking it is a decrease, in terms of overall development of traffic in Prague since 1990 it is more a case of stagnation. Pivec does not anticipate that we are entering a period of decline. The total number of car-kilometres is likely to fluctuate around the current level. Furthermore, the decrease in traffic has not resulted in increased use of public transport, so we can deduce a further fact, that people simply used their cars less.
Focus on HGVs
About 40,000 heavy goods vehicles pass through Prague per day. More than half of these, about 60%, are just passing through. This is the case with up to 70% of vehicles over 12 tonnes. The heaviest burden is on roads connecting the D1 and D8 motorways, or the D1 and D5. Both these routes are used by a similar number of about 3200 HGVs of over 12 tonnes per day.
More and more cyclists
Compared with 2010 the number of cyclists has risen significantly, with an increase of 45.5%. This has been influenced not only by the introduction of bike-trains and bike-buses, but also by the option of taking bikes on the Petřín cable-car. The intensity of cycle traffic is clearly evident in a comparison of cyclists on the river bank at Podolské nábřeží. Figures from 2010 record an average of 1332 per day, a year later it was 2267. The movement of cyclists is monitored by 25 cycle-counters on main cycle-routes.