Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Does traffic really disappear when roads are closed?

Melia, Steve; Calvert, Tom

Does traffic really disappear when roads are closed? Thumbnail


Steven Melia
Senior Lecturer in Transport Planning

Tom Calvert


This article describes two studies which aimed to explore the impacts of pedestrianisation or road closures on traffic displacement, travel behaviour and the phenomenon of 'disappearing traffic'. The first study surveyed residents whose travel routes were affected by a small-scale localised pedestrianisation scheme in the centre of a town. The second measured the traffic impacts of a temporary closure of a strategic bridge in a city centre. In the first case the pedestrianisation produced no change in the modal shares of residents' travel. Drivers continued to drive to the same locations by longer routes. In the second case, the closure caused some traffic displacement and increased journey times but also reduced traffic volumes in both the immediate area and across the city. It concludes by discussing the remaining knowledge gaps on disappearing traffic, made more pressing by the decisions of authorities to reallocate road space during the COVID-19 crisis.

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (published)
Acceptance Date Aug 12, 2021
Online Publication Date Dec 6, 2021
Publication Date Jan 1, 2023
Deposit Date Sep 22, 2021
Publicly Available Date Dec 7, 2022
Journal Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Municipal Engineer
Print ISSN 0965-0903
Electronic ISSN 1751-7699
Publisher Thomas Telford
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 176
Issue 1
Pages 1-9
Keywords Civil and Structural Engineering; traffic; engineering; transport management; transport planning
Public URL
Publisher URL


Does Traffic Really Disappear When Roads Are Closed (1.5 Mb)


Publisher Licence URL

Copyright Statement
This is the author's accepted manuscript of the article 'Melia, S., & Calvert, T. (2023). Does traffic really disappear when roads are closed?. Proceedings of the ICE - Municipal Engineer, 176(1), 1-9'.

The final published version is available here:

You might also like

Downloadable Citations