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Dusseldorf is situated in Western Germany in the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region and is the Capital of the German state North Rhine-Westphalia. It has a population of almost 590,000 inhabitants and is one of the five most important cities in Germany. Economically it is a centre for many internationally active German companies. The cities public transport system consists of a tram and a bus network and is well integrated in the regions local train network.

Overall Grade: D 67%

Pie Chart 67
  • Graph Reduction Success Local Emissions
  • Graph Low Emission Zones & Bans of High Emitters
  • Graph Public Procurement Clean Cars
  • Graph Non-Road Mobile Emission Sources
  • Graph Use of Economic Incentives
  • Graph Traffic & Mobility Management Incl. Modal Split
  • Graph Promotion of Public Transport
  • Graph Promotion of Walking & Cycling
  • Graph Transparency & Communication Policy


Reduction Success Local Emissions

In Dusseldorf a clear improvement trend is visible, although the levels of pollution are still high. Nevertheless the annual mean concentration in the street with the highest pollution load (Corneliusstr.) could be kept below the EU limit value of 40 µg/m3 since 2005. Daily exceedances could also be reduced from 70 µg/m3 to around 40 µg/m3. The new action plan is conceived to stay constantly below the 35 permitted daily exceedances.

But the reductions of NO2 are insufficient and there is no clear decrease discernible which may lead to compliance in the next years. The hot spot Corneliusstraße still has an annual mean concentration of NO2 of 60 µg/m3).

Low Emission Zones & Bans of High Emitters

Dusseldorf has a low emission zone for all vehicles since 1.2.2009. The zone was enlarged considerable beginning from 1.2.2013 onwards including also a district beyond the river Rhine and almost the whole area of the city. Since 1.7.2014 Euro 4 standard or better is required. Only vehicles with green stickers may enter. Comprehensive controls and a significantly large zone contribute to the reduction effect of the zone.

Public Procurement Clean Cars

All Euro III busses have been retrofitted by an initiative of the public bus company (Rheinbahn) starting already in 2006. Since 2010, vehicles had to comply with Euro V or better. Every tender today asks for Euro V or Euro VI.

For municipal vehicles the picture in 2012 is as follows: almost 43% of all busses were below EURO IV, 28% were Euro IV and almost 30% were EEV, EURO 5 & Euro 6 or Hybrids. The share of 220 vehicles worse than Euro 4 in 2012 is too high considering the still existing exceedances of NO2. Retrofitting busses with SCRT-Systems is considered to be an appropriate measure in the air quality plan 2013. But no measure is taken as funding is seen as a necessary prerequisite for municipal action.

Non-Road Mobile Emission Sources

Tenders state a preference for offers using construction machines with diesel particulate filters. Dusseldorf asks for a national NRMM conception and to implement it as soon as possible. Guidelines are being worked out to prevent the rising of dust and reduce spreading of dust at big construction sites.

51 construction machines are owned by the municipality but none is retrofitted with a particulate filter. They city is active in additional measures to address emissions from ships, in particular by creating landline electric charging points at ship berths.

Use of Economic Incentives

No conception or plan of parking management has been enacted in Düsseldorf although the official transport plan proposes to do this as a clean air measure. Reducing the number of parking spaces ore raising fees has not been a target of clean air politics during the last years. On the contrary: parking fees have been lowered by 50% to 0.5 Euro per half hour in the city and a lot a public and private spaces are still free of charge. There is no road charging system in Düsseldorf as in other German cities.

Traffic & Mobility Management Incl. Modal Split

Some measures to influence traffic flow have been introduced in the air quality hot spot of Corneliusstrasse: With the help of traffic light at the outskirts of Dusseldorf the amount of inflow of vehicles is regulated by traffic lights. Traffic flow has been improved by reserved and controlled loading zones. But these measures are not

Speed limits are generally set 50km/h for main roads and 30 km/h for residential areas, however, they are not seen as a means to improve air quality but of safety and noise reduction.

The share of motorised transport (cars) is high with 41% (2001). No reduction is planned for 2020 in the traffic development plan 2020 scheme. The main problem are the high numbers of 250.000 daily commuters (Pendler) almost 80% of them travelling by car. No modal shift is being planned.

Additional road construction is seen as remedy to react to high modal shares of cars. Measures of mobility management of companies have been startet, as well as Bike to work projects and rideshare programmes in cars but with rather limited outreach and no positive effects on the city as a whole. Ten additional vehicles offered in the e-carflex business service carpool. Environmentally friendly business trips are recommended through the use of incentivised pedelecs and e-cars.

Promotion of Public Transport

Public transport has never been prioritised in Dusseldorf despite the high modal share of cars. Programmes for acceleration of the tram system have been adopted but implemented half-heartedly. Thus average speed of the trams or light rail vehicles is clearly below 20km/h.

The city planned the expensive construction of an underground metro line (Werhahnlinie) whereas tram would seem to have been a much more cost-effective solution with the ability to connect much larger areas in Dusseldorf to public transport. A new tram line to the harbour could be realized after heated debates. No other major investments or improvements in public transport have been agreed over the last years or are planned for the future, except for minor measures such as the U79 extension to Dusseldorf University. Instead, priority has been set on road construction measures

Promotion of Walking & Cycling

The share of cycling lanes is low and there has been no significant improvement over the last 10 years. The network of cycling lanes is neither appropriate nor far-reaching. The modal share of cycling in Dusseldorf is 8%. An increase to 11% is targeted for 2020 with a further increase to 13 or 16% being debated. The city plans a comprehensive set of measures to reach this target, such as the expansion of the cycling network or the controlling and punishing parking vehicles blocking cycling lanes. Offering 400 bikes for rent (next bike) and reaching 40.000 users is part of this programme.

The modal share of walking is 27%. There is no strategy to enlarge the share of pedestrians in the mobility development plan.

Transparency & Communication Policy

Well organized website of the city and the regional administration (Bezirksregierung) informing about the measuring stations, concentration trends as well as official air quality plans. Contacts are given via general mail address and phone number of the environmental office. Working groups with stakeholders including environmental NGO were organized by the state government in the run-up of air quality plans.

More information (ger.):…

Regional website (ger.):…

Response to Questionnaire

The City replied to the questionnaire.