The next RITM Economics Seminar will take place on Monday 18 January, from 11:00 to 12:00. Léa Bou Sleiman (ENSAE) will present “Are car-free centers detrimental to the periphery? Evidence from the pedestrianisation of the Parisian riverbank”.

This paper evaluates the impact of the closing of the “Georges Pompidou” riverbank in 2016 on traffic conditions on the Parisian ring road (“Boulevard Périphérique”). Using high-resolution hourly data and a difference-in-difference design, I show that the probability of congestion increased by 15% compared to the year before the shutdown on lanes with the same flow direction as the riverbank, translating into an additional 2-minute spent on a 10km trip. Train use data suggest that only a tiny fraction of affected commuters switched to the suburban train. Given high residential density around the ring road, air quality data suggest that this policy had a negative impact on average residents’ exposure to pollution.