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Decarbonizing urban transport in European cities: four cases show possibly high co-benefits

Creutzig, Felix; Mühlhoff, Rainer; Römer, Julia

FG Sustainability Economics of Human Settlements

Cities worldwide are increasingly becoming agents of climate change mitigation, while simultaneously aiming for other goals, such as improved accessibility and clean air. Based on stakeholder interviews and data analysis, we assess the current state of urban mobility in the four European cities of Barcelona, Malmö, Sofia and Freiburg. We then provide scenarios of increasingly ambitious policy packages, reducing greenhouse gas emissions from urban transport by up to 80% from 2010 to 2040. We find significant concurrent co-benefits in cleaner air, reduced noise ambience, fewer traffic-related injuries and deaths, more physical activity, less congestion and monetary fuel savings. Our scenarios suggest that non-motorized transport, especially bicycles, can occupy high modal shares, particularly in cities with less than 0.5 million inhabitants. We think that this kind of multi-criteria assessment of social costs and benefits is a useful complement to cost–benefit analysis of climate change mitigation measures.