The Cars That ate London, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Rome, Madrid, Vienna, Athens ..

Illustration for TIME by GARY BASEMAN

Two thousand years ago, the streets of Rome had become fetid and knotted with traffic. Local rulers became so fed up that they declared: "The circulation of the people should not be hindered by numerous litters and noisy chariots." It was an early salvo in what would become an endless, thankless, unwinnable war. Around the same time, Julius Caesar introduced the first off-street parking laws. In A.D. 125, a limit was placed on the number of vehicles that could enter Rome. For as long as there have been roads, it seems, there have been crowds of swearing, sweaty drivers — and...

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