Crisis Reduces Use of Cars in Iceland Skip to content

Crisis Reduces Use of Cars in Iceland

Approximately 40 percent of Icelanders use their private vehicles less than they did before the economic crisis last fall, preferring to walk or cycle and reducing the number of trips outside city limits, as revealed in a survey by consulting service Land-rád on traveling patterns in Iceland.

The traffic in Reykjavík. Photo by Páll Kjartansson.

According to the survey, travels outside the municipality or area of residence dropped by 27 percent from December 2008 through February 2009 compared to the same period 12 months earlier, which translates to a drop from 15 to 11 trips on average, Morgunbladid reports.

The decrease is especially noticeable in the cases of residents of Reykjavík suburbs, where the number of trips dropped from 22 to 18 in the aforementioned period.

Traffic on highways has decreased considerably, according to the Public Roads Administration’s statistics, which are mentioned in Land-rád’s survey.

In the first three months of this year, traffic on highways decreased by 3.3 percent compared to the same period in 2008. Traffic decreased by ten percent in the capital region in that period and by 19 percent in north and east Iceland.

Bjarni Reynarsson at Land-rád said the influence on the travel patterns of Icelanders had been greatest immediately after the crisis hit, but that things subsequently stabilized because many Icelanders traveled domestically last summer while foreign tourists increased.

Click here to read more about that development.

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