Cities are where the negative impacts of traffic and congestion are most obvious. The road transport sector is one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions driving up dangerous global heating. Air pollution, mostly from diesel vehicles, is a public health emergency and responsible for around 300,000 early deaths across Europe each year

Rolling out measures to clean up transport in cities – such as low- and zero-emission zones, School Streets, more walking and cycling infrastructure, and better parking policies – have countless benefits for residents, from cleaner air to clearer roads. Keep scrolling to find out more, or subscribe to our email updates. 

Clean Cities is hosted by Transport & Environment.

Why clean up transport in cities?

Reducing carbon emissions from road traffic in cities will help us secure a safe climate for generations to come. It also means cleaning up our air, and putting people at the heart of how we design our cities. Find out more about some of the benefits of cleaning up transport here. 

reduced carbon emissions

To have a chance of limiting the average global temperature increase to 1.5°C, emissions need to peak and reduce as soon as possible. In Europe, around a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions come from transport, one of the only economic sectors in the EU where emissions today are higher than they were in 1990.
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cleaner air

If you live in a big city in Europe, chances are you’re breathing unsafe levels of air pollution. These toxic emissions have been linked to everything from asthma and anxiety, to chronic lung disease and stunting. They are also especially harmful to children’s health. Cleaning up transport means cleaner, healthier air for all.
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less congestion

In the 25 most congested European cities, drivers lose on average 90 hours due to congestion (Clean Cities calculation based on 2022 Inrix data). If cities did more to incentivise the use of active and shared mobility – such as through shared bikes, e-scooters and initiatives like cycle-to-work-schemes – this would go a long way towards clearing our roads, and giving more time back for the things that matter.
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quieter roads

Getting older, and often noisier, fossil fuelled cars off city roads helps to address not only air pollution and CO2 emissions, but noise pollution too. Noise pollution has a huge impact on our physical and mental wellbeing, affecting things like our cardiovascular health and ability to focus. And let’s not even talk about sleep quality!
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fewer collisions

No-one should be killed while on the road. And yet, in 2022, more than 20,000 people died on the EU’s roads. Transforming our cities as we reduce emissions also means they become safer. As we build more bike lanes, widen pavements, create School Streets, reduce speed limits and the overall number of motorised vehicles in cities, we will see fewer fatal and serious injuries.

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