Air pollution and transport policies at city level

Air pollution is the number one cause of premature deaths from environmental factors, according to the European Environment Agency, with cities worst hit. Pandemic restrictions imposed in March 2020 cleaned the air rapidly. But pollution has been bouncing back, and in some cities is now worse than before the pandemic.

A new CE Delft report examines 28 types of urban policies currently running in a host of cities around the world, from zero-emission public buses to sharing e-scooters, to see their effect on PM and NOx reductions from traffic. It finds banning polluting vehicles could cut harmful particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution in cities of over a million residents by up to 23% and 36% respectively, and saving up to €130 million per year in health and other costs.

Mayors and city leaders can play a pivotal role in tackling the social costs of city-level air pollution. Following the study, EPHA has formulated 8 policy recommendations to help them implement targeted policy interventions to improve people’s health and the environment.

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