Skip to main content
EU Urban Mobility Observatory
News article5 December 20233 min read

Maximum speed on the Paris ring road to be limited to 50km/h

The Municipality of Paris has announced its intention to limit the speed on the city’s ring road to 50 km/h on 12 August 2024, the day after the 2024 Olympics. The announcement was made on 22 November 2023 during the presentation of Paris’ 2024-2030 Climate Plan, which aims to reduce the city’s carbon footprint by 80% by 2050.

The speed reduction on the city’s ring road is part of a plan containing 500 measures, many of which aim to further reduce the place of the car in the capital and, more broadly, "which should allow us to win the race against the clock to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and thus respect the objectives of the Paris Agreement”, indicates the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, in a press release.

When the 35 km Paris ring road, ‘le Périphérique’, opened in in 1973 the speed limit was 90 km/h. In 2014, the speed limit was reduced to 70 km/h and there have been discussions about a further reduction of the speed limit ever since. “Less environmental and noise pollution, and more safety for users, all good reasons to slow down!”, said the Municipality of Paris in a statement, while adding that the median speed on the ring road is 50 km/h during the day, 30 to 45 km/h during rush hours and 60 km/h at night. 

Critics have been arguing that the reduction of the speed limit would not be effective. Among these is the President of the Île-de-France region in which Paris is located, Valérie Pécresse. “The problem is not the car, but the pollution of cars”, she argues, and therefore she calls for “accelerating the transition of vehicles from thermal engines to electric motors”, in an interview with Le Figaro. “The problem is that we do not yet have sufficient public transport infrastructure and that will not have changed on September 14, 2024. We would have had to wait for the opening of the Grand Paris Express”, Pécresse said, referring to the 330 kilometres of new metro lines which are planned to cross the region by 2030. Furthermore, Pécresse blames the Paris city authorities for being inconsiderate of the needs of those living in the suburbs. Pécresse argued that: "40% of users of the ring road travel from the suburbs to the suburbs and do not enter Paris, and 80% of users do not live in Paris", adding: "this is pure selfishness”.

The Paris municipality, on the other hand, sees the measure as a major opportunity to reduce transport pollution and protect the environment and would like to seize the opportunity of the Olympic Games to introduce it. “If there were no Olympics, we would probably need 15 years of cultural battle to achieve it”, said Emmanuel Grégoire, Paris’ deputy mayor for town planning.

We are going to intensify our action to reduce car traffic and air pollution in Paris, because it works,” declared Dan Lert, the deputy mayor of Paris in charge of the ecological transition, during the conference dedicated to the climate plan. “Fewer cars equals less pollution. In 10 years, it's 30% less fine particles, 45% less nitrogen dioxide linked to road traffic, that's good but it's still too much”, said Lert, based on the results of previous measures relating to the reduction of road traffic in the capital. “How can we accept that kids who live near the urban highways of the ring road are suffocating with asthma attacks, particularly in working-class neighbourhoods in Paris?”, Lert asked, while adding that 1,500 premature deaths in Paris could be avoided just on this issue of air quality.

During the presentation of the 2024-2030 Climate Plan, the city also reiterated its plan to reserve a traffic lane of the Périphérique for carpooling and public transport. This route will come into existence during the Olympic Games and will make it possible to transport athletes and officials during this global event. This plan has also received strong criticism, including from 1,800 elected officials from Île-de-France, who signed an open letter in ‘Le Journal Du Dimanche’, expressing concerns over the potential impact of the measure on congestion.

The new 2024-2030 Climate Plan will be presented to the Paris Council in December 2023, then submitted to a vote by elected officials in 2024.


Publication date
5 December 2023
  • Safety and urban mobility
  • Urban Vehicle Access Regulations
  • France