EU Science Hub

Urban NO2 Atlas


The Atlas shows, for selected cities, the likely effects of the implementation of “Traffic Policies” intended to reduce urban NO2 concentrations. As NO2 pollution in urban areas is mainly caused by traffic, the analysis focuses on assessing the relative contribution to the NO2 concentration in ambient air from different types of vehicles. The results, obtained for a selected number of cities in Europe show that, depending on the size of the selected “Inner Area” (by this name, we mean the area over which traffic measures are applied), one could reduce on average up to 40% the NO2 urban background concentrations. Of this average reduction, roughly 15% is linked to passenger diesel cars, 13% to trucks and 6% to vans (mostly diesel); while the remaining share is associated to other type of vehicles (buses, gasoline cars, etc…). This Atlas provides a first indication of the relative effectiveness of mobility policies aimed at reducing urban NO2 pollution concentrations in European cities. However, considering the specific assumptions in the applied approach, as on traffic flows, fleet composition, emission factors, size of the “Inner Area”, etc…, the results may not be as accurate as they would be when using detailed local data. The SHERPA-City methodology and tool applied in this Atlas can be used by local authorities to assess a broad range of air quality measures, including technological (e.g. fleet renewal, new technologies) and soft measures (i.e. promotion of walking and cycling). Such measures can be assessed alone or in combination.