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Clean Urban Transport



Green Paper on urban mobility
Adopted 25 September 2007

Promotion of clean and energy efficient vehicles
Examples of actions
Background facts



Background facts

A large majority of European citizens lives in urban areas. On average a European citizen makes 1000 trips per year and half of these are less than 5 km long. For many of these shorter trips walking and cycling could be a true alternative.

The car is by far the dominant urban mode, contributing about 75% of kilometres travelled in EU conurbations. Cars cause so much congestion that, in some European cities, average traffic speeds at peak times are lower than in the days of the horse-drawn carriage. Increased car use has been accompanied by safety and environmental problems, as well as by a downward spiral of under-investment in public transport.

Public transport is an important alternative to the car. It plays a major role in the bigger cities where it carries 2.5 – 3 times as many people as private transport. Public transport is also important for estimated 40% of EU households who do not have a car. Predictions suggest that, without further intervention, public transport will maintain its market share in the next decade only in the larger conurbations where it has a clear advantage in terms of image, reliability and speed.

Road transport is largely oil-dependant and produces the great majority of transport emissions to the air. Urban transport is responsible for around 40% of total road transport carbon dioxide (CO2), emissions. In addition nearly all of Europe’s city-inhabitants are exposed to air pollution levels that exceed EU limits for particulate matter (PM). Substantial progress has been made over the last decade in reducing vehicle emissions, but hotspots continue to be a problem and growing traffic levels are a threat, or may even reverse progress in urban air quality and greenhouse gas emissions.


last update: 15-12-2008