Challenge 4: Increase in the number of cars

Traffic congestion is the problem that all Lviv citizens relate to. The users of private motor vehicles spend increasingly more time in traffic congestion. Public transport passengers in peak hours not only stay in the traffic jams but also travel in overcrowded vehicles. Persons who walk and go by bicycle also suffer from highly polluted air and noise.
96% of air pollution in Lviv comes from the exhaust gases from motor vehicles.


Since income levels of most citizens are still relatively low, the number of cars in Lviv is not big compared to most European cities, both in terms of owning and driving the car. Presently, only 23% of trips in Lviv are made by private cars. According to the 2017 data, in Warsaw, the number was 32%, in Berlin- 33%, in Vilnius – 50%.

General comparative data about cities

* average annual rate (2018): position in the world in TomTom ranking, and traffic index (additional time to cover the distance). Source 

For example, in Zurich, you need to spend +31% of additional time on average to take usual distances:
if the trip on an “empty road” takes 30 min, the +31% makes ~ 40 min. Average traffic congestion time is 9-10 min. With the increased number of cars in the traffic, the congestion time grows. The goal is to achieve the lowest possible car usage in the city’s modal split (see Tabl.: modal split) to reduce the traffic congestion, emissions, road accidents, etc.

The most “congested” cities in Europe in 2018:

Moscow (1), Istanbul, Bucharest, St. Petersburg, Kyiv(5), Dublin, Lodz, Novosibirsk, Krakow, Edinburg, Athens(10), Rome – traffic congestion index in these cities is from +39% (Athens) to +56% (Moscow). Kyiv was the fifth most congested European city, and 13th most congested city in the world, with the index +46% (2018).

Modal Split / Mode share

Modal share is an important component in the development of sustainable mobility within a city or region. In recent years, many cities have set traffic rates for balanced and sustainable modes of transport, such as 30% for non-motorized (cycling and walking) and at least 30% for public transport. These goals reflect the desire to change the mode or change the modal share, and usually include an increase in the proportion of trips made by using sustainable modes (PT, cycling, walking).


The higher is the share of cars in the modal split of a city, the higher are the traffic congestion levels, hazardous emissions, road accidents, etc.

Why modal split is so important?

Unexpectedly, but true: the behavior of mobility is generally the same – on average, all people spend about 1-1.5 hours a day on their travels, and make about 3-4 trips – regardless of where they live and what are their cultural customs. The only big difference is the type of transport they use for their movements. And here is what mobility management is: how to manage the choice of the type of movement effectively and with a positive result for the person, for the city, for the economy and for the planet. And the modal split is a key indicator for the results of this management.

The average travel time for all modes except the car remains almost stable. In recent decades, only the average length of urban car travel has increased. Thus, the goal is to change the type of movement by choosing more sustainable and efficient modes within the city.

Nevertheless, even with this moderate number of trips, the city center within the 3 km radius is overcrowded with cars during morning peak hours (8:00 – 9:30), and in the afternoon until evening (both weekdays and weekend). At the same time, while during the week most people are trying to avoid the transit through the city center by car, this situation is opposite during the weekend.

Decisions of city government to restrict access to individual cars are necessary but very unpopular. Communication with citizens and deputies shall be systematic and comprehensive. It should refer to the argument that traffic calming will automatically create better conditions for public transport, cycling, and walking.

Classic definition of sustainable mobility:

“Go by car if you really need it. Walk or take a bike if you can. For other cases, there is public transport.”

Objective 4. To optimize motor vehicle traffic in the city

4.1. Efficient system of parking management, primarily in the central part of the city.

Everyone who decides to go by car to the city center and park there shall have certain possibility to do so. However, it is the price that regulates the demand for such service. The price shall be high enough to always keep at least 15% of slots vacant. In particular, free of charge and illegal parking shall be eliminated. It is the only precondition of having the parking market working and investors interested in construction of off-street parkings.

4.2. Enhancing alternative mobility modes and demonstration of their efficiency.

Development of public transport, creating favourable conditions for cycling and walking will motivate more people to use these alternatives. Therefore, persons who would really need to go by car will have a chance to get wherever they want fast, within a reasonable time, and not waste any time searching for parking slots.

4.3. Promotion of reasonable car use. 

The car shall be used whenever it is really needed in terms of time and convenience. The city may also encourage shared car usage, such as carpooling services.

4.4. Reliable and efficient conditions for emergency vehicles and delivery.

Delivery and emergency vehicles are vital for the urban economy. Their traffic and stops to perform their services shall be provided and duly organized in terms of time. The number of trips for delivery vehicles can be reduced by developing the network of delivery boxes shared among delivery services to leave the parcel within the walking distance to the addressee..

4.5. Significantly reduce the transit of private motor vehicles via the central part of the city.

Transit via the city center is definitely the shortest route. However, the city center fails to manage such transport pressure and has many other functions that are affected by heavy transit traffic.

Demonstration measures:

  • To arrange the system for gradual motor vehicles restraints on approaches to the city center, batching car access to the inner city with the help of traffic lights and traffic management.
  • To define the most important through-going axes, and prioritize public transport; to define the cars only entrances to  the city center, with organization of park-and-rides.
  • To encourage rational car use (including also car-sharing).
  • To review the sites (land plots) allocated for bus stations and locate them on the most important intermodal nodes in the city.
  • Construction of the planned Subotivska street, final section of the ring-road.
  • To analyze cost-effectiveness to construct the planned streets of Riashivska, Luhanska, and Vernadskoho.
  • To encourage children getting to schools and kindergartens on foot, by bicycle, or by public transport.

Catalogue of activities

To re-organize traffic in the central part of the city:

  • To manage traffic within the “small transport ring”.
  • To reconsider the traffic role of Svobody Avenue.
  • Network of pedestrian areas in the central part of the city.
  • Commuting hub “Dobrobut” (in the city center): scheduled tourist destination buses, bicycle rental, multi-level parking, commercial facilities, electric transport.

To develop the Urban Car Traffic Concept

To develop and implement Urban Car Traffic Concept, with the defined street hierarchy, principles to manage major arterial roads, various options to pass through the city, to show and compare the consequences of their implementation. Due to adjustments in the transport model, and due to implementing activities for Urban Car Traffic Concept, driving through the city shall last as expected.

  • Arranging the system of gradual car restraints on approaches to the city center, batching car access to the inner city with the help of traffic lights and traffic management;
  • Defining the most important through-going axes, and prioritizing public transport therein;
  • Arranging operations of the medium transport ring, transforming the former industrial ring and the respective infrastructural corridor for transit traffic.
  • Navigation for transit traffic, signage on arterial streets, directions to industrial areas to avoid transit of large freight vehicles through residential streets and city center.

To encourage rational car use (including car-sharing)

A person buying a car would often use it even when it is not advantageous either in terms of time, or comfort. It is important to have people use their cars only when actually required. The following activities will help to largely simplify car use and parking density in the urban space:

  • Introducing a car-sharing system, having the respective operators enter the market.
  • Encouragement to go by taxi and ridesharing services instead of driving your car.
  • Proposal of changes to the law on transfer of licensing and control over taxi to the city authority.
  • Promotion campaign on rational car use.

To support the construction of the north section of the Lviv ring road (bypass)

In the north part of the city, there is a missing section of the ring road. It generates the large scale transit traffic through the city. Completion of the road section will help relieve the load from the streets of Hrinchenka, Mazepy, Shevchenka, a.o.

Besides, throughput capacity of the entire ring road of Lviv shall be increased in order to reduce the share of transit traffic in the city. Lviv Region State Administration is preparing the construction project since they are in charge for the entire ring road of the city.

To manage parking

To incentivize investors’ interest in construction of the off-street parkings under the following activities:

  • To take the stock and mark possible parking areas all around the city, starting with the central part;
  • To introduce paid only parking in the areas where demand exceeds the offer, with the growing parking fares approaching to the central area;
  • To adjust efficient parking rules enforcement system;
  • To allocate land plots near the mobility hubs dedicated for off-street parking.

To raise efficiency of unpopular but much needed activities for the city, the following actions shall be taken:

  • To provide for preferential parking fares for residents of adjacent buildings;
  • To manage due maintenance of parking area;
  • To develop the notification system on vacant parking slots available, in order to avoid additional traffic in search of the parking slot.

To provide convenient  connection with suburbs by public transport

To come to the city from the suburban areas, citizens are using their private cars increasingly more often. It creates a large additional load on the transport network. Presently, the city does not have any influence on the quality of suburban connections by regular buses and suburban trains. The stations for suburban buses planned by the city are located on the city boundaries, with the limited number of public transportation routes to its different parts

The following preconditions are required therefore:

  • To review the identified sites (land plots) to host bus stations, and locate them at major mobility hubs in the city;
  • To reorganize entry points for suburban routes to Lviv, providing for priority of public transport in these areas; 
  • To increase accessibility and quality of railway/ bus stations, to plan their connection to the future urban railway;
  • To create the network of park-and-ride stations (P+R) at entry points to the city near the arterial routes of public transport.

To prioritize delivery services vehicles and to regulate their operations

Delivering goods within the city is an important factor for the urban economy. However, the vehicles do not have available places to unload the goods. That is why they get on sidewalks, or stop on the traffic lanes blocking private and public transport, or pedestrian mobility. Delivery shall be regulated by infrastructural means, and by regulating the time. 

To avoid the risk of traffic accidents involving large size vehicles, there is a need to zone the city by the maximum allowed size and weight of delivery vehicles.

To encourage children getting to schools and kindergartens on foot, by bicycle, (and) by public transport

The use of cars to bring children to schools and kindergartens adds a critical load on roadways in peak hours. Presently, over 50% of children are taken to schools and kindergartens by car. It is suggested to support and develop the alternatives:

  • Improving quality and capacity of schools in all districts of the city to reduce the number of long transfers between home and school;
  • Implementation of the program “Safe Streets Near Schools and Kindergartens”;
  • Analysis of routes children take to schools (actual, rather than suggested by teachers) and increasing safety of pedestrians / cyclists on these routes; 
  • Running the campaigns “walking to school day “, or “cycling to school day “;
  • Introducing school bus routes;
  • The program for organization of bicycle parkings near schools;
  • PR-campaigns, leaflets with illustrations for driving parents, lessons on traffic safety for school pupils, guidelines for teachers on traffic safety.

Photos by: Volodymyr Karaim

Read the full version of the chapter Challenge 4: Increase in the number of cars” in the Lviv Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan: