Smart Transport

Amsterdam’s people-friendly approach to being emission-free by 2030

Affordability and availability are the cornerstones of Amsterdam’s people-friendly approach to ensuring the city reaches its goal of being emission free by 2030.

The city is building on its existing Low Emission Zone policy by rolling out an ambitious air quality plan in phases, with an initial ban on older diesel vehicles due to start in 2020. A ban on non-electric buses, goods vehicles and taxis within the inner part of the city will follow in 2025.

Over the next few years, electric vehicles will become cost competitive with gasoline equivalents. Coupled with the emerging second-hand market in electric cars, greener alternatives will become an accessible option for more people.

Amsterdam street scene
With one of the densest charging networks in the world, Amsterdam has the capacity to offer owners of electric vehicles easy access to greener resources, with the knockon effect of encouraging greater adoption of clean transportation.

The city is also improving its freight system by introducing logistics hub systems to enable trucks to transfer freight to zero emission vehicles for the last mile of the journey.

Femke Halsema, Mayor of Amsterdam (pictured), says: “Currently, air pollution on average cuts more than one year off the life of residents and I am determined to change that.

“As transport is an area where the city can control emissions sources, it makes sense to focus on this. Amsterdam is undergoing a vast growth in population and visitors between now and 2025, which presents challenges. However, Amsterdam has always been a city which embraces change: social change, cultural change and technological change. It will need a combination of all three to make the city’s vision for emission free mobility a reality. We will need a cultural and social shift so that citizens are aware of the impact of their transport choices.

“In addition to providing the right conditions for our citizens to switch to electric vehicles through infrastructure, incentives and subsidies, Amsterdam is continuing to build on our status as a cycling city by planning an expansion and improvement of the cycle routes. We also keep improving our public transportation network. The opening of the North/South Metro line last year is a good example for this.

“I am under no illusion that the adoption and implementation of the plan will be an easy task. Collaboration and consultation to ensure that citizens and businesses are on board with transforming the city is important. We need to ensure that the right package of incentives and regulations are adopted to make the vision a reality.

“I believe that this is the worthwhile course of action to take as the plan will on average increase the lifespan of residents by approximately three months and set Amsterdam on a path to meeting its obligations under the Paris Agreement.

My advice to other cities is to set your goals high, but remember to be in constant dialogue with the city. Make sure your goals are accessible, affordable and supported by your citizens.”

This is a case study taken from We have the power to move the world: A mayors' guidebook on sustainable transport, published by C40 Cities.


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