Cycling and Urban Air Quality: A Study of European Experiences

Key takeaway: Cycling measures can improve urban air quality levels as part of a multifaceted approach toward reducing road traffic.


  • Modeling a 23% increase in cycling mode share significantly reduced projected NOx, PM10 and black carbon emissions, resulting in improved air quality levels in the surrounding areas of each city. Projected emissions reductions varied by city, with 16-27% reductions in NOx and 4-19% reductions in PM 10.
  • Improved air quality reduced disability-adjusted life years for cardiopulmonary disease caused by poor air quality levels. Changes in cycling levels reduced disability per 10,000 residents by 4-50 years in three cities.


  • This study conducted simulations of shifts in mode share in 5 European cities and analyzed predicted air quality levels and health improvements.

Hitchcock, G. & Vedrene, M. (2014). Cycling and Urban Air Quality: A Study of European Experiences. European Cyclists’ Federation.

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