London – Replacing high volumes of cars with high volumes of cyclists and pedestrians makes roads safer and the air cleaner, finds a Greenpeace Germany report ranking 13 European cities on sustainable transport, mobility and air quality.

The report [1] was released to coincide with the EU Green Cities Week.

“Safe roads and clean air go hand-in-hand. This study shows that when you improve a city’s public transport infrastructure in a sustainable way, people breathe cleaner air and their roads are safer,” said Barbara Stoll, a Greenpeace Clean Air Campaigner.

The research conducted by the Wuppertal Institute found that London, Budapest and Paris have high air pollution levels [2] while Zurich, Oslo and Copenhagen have some of the cleanest air, from the cities examined. Along with cleaner air, these cities also rank well on road safety and have high shares of public transport use, as well as developed walking and cycling infrastructures.

The report also demonstrates how some cities are managing to address the challenges that all major cities face, through a combination of public transport and active mobility solutions. Copenhagen, which tops the report’s ranking as best overall city, is using a wide variety of solutions to improve air urban quality and liveability.

“By investing in improving accessibility and cycling infrastructure, as well as introducing restrictions on large vehicle emissions, charging the real cost of motorised vehicle use, and having high levels of road safety, Copenhagen shows how good planning can make a real and healthy difference to the lives of people living in cities,” said Stoll.

The study highlights the importance of good city planning in tackling air pollution and improving urban mobility. For cities which scored poorly overall in the study, including Rome, Moscow, London, Berlin and Brussels more improvement is required in order to provide healthy environments for the people who live, work and visit them.




[1] Links here to the full report and media briefing.

[2] The national governments of London, Budapest, and Paris are currently subject to legal action, taken by the European Commission, for failing to enforce air quality standards. In May 2018, six European Union countries were referred to the European Court of Justice.



Damon Evans, communications coordination, Consultant for Greenpeace UK, +44 7833 497020, [email protected]

Greenpeace International Press Desk, +31 (0) 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours), [email protected]

Wuppertal Institute

For enquiries in English: Santhosh Kodukula, Project Coordinator, Wuppertal Institute. [email protected]

For enquiries in German: Oliver Lah, Head of the Unit, Mobility and International Cooperation, Wuppertal Institute. [email protected]