Top European cities for walking + bicycling + transit may surprise you (infographic)
The European Energy Agency recently put out a report and infographic on various transportation-related statistics from 75 European cities. There's some fascinating information in there, both good and bad. I think the European Energy Agency (EEA) picked out some great statistics to highlight in the infographic, so I'm going to focus on those.
First of all, I think most people familiar with the large cities of Europe would be able to guess that Amsterdam is the top city for walking + bicycling. However, how many of you guessed that Paris and Barcelona would come out #1 and #2 for walking + bicycling + public transport? Interestingly, those are actually my two favorite large cities that I've visited—no coincidence, I'm sure. Nonetheless, I thought Amsterdam would be on top in that category as well. I also didn't think Helsinki and Madrid would rank so high.
Furthermore, it's interesting to see that Copenhagen is so far below Amsterdam and actually ranks 6th for walking + bicycling. Copenhagen and Amsterdam are routinely compared for their biking leadership, but it seems that Copenhagen falls behind a lot on walking for transportation purposes.
The high percentages of clean transportation in the top cities listed in the infographic are nice to see. However, the line of small text at the top is worth noting: "while cycling and efficient public transport are becoming the norm in some urban areas, Europe's transport sector is still a major contributor to excessive levels of greenhouse gases, air pollution, and noise." Indeed....
It also states that about 90% of those of us living in European cities "are exposed to levels of air pollutants deemed damaging to health by the World Health Organization's guidelines." Yikes.
We need a lot more cities to follow the lead of Paris, Barcelona, and Amsterdam. We also need to switch our cars and buses over to much cleaner electric vehicles. Improvements are being made—for example, bicycling's share of transportation increased from 0.5% of kilometers travelled to 7% within just a few years—but we have a long way to go.
One key final point is that despite initial opposition to key efforts aimed at limiting traffic from petrol- and diesel-powered cars, many residents end up seeing the benefits of such moves once they are implemented, and then want more. The EEA references Stockholm's congestion charge as an example of that. Though, those conclusions are not mentioned in the abstract and the full report is behind a paywall.
For more information on this recent European transport study, head on over to the EEA website.