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Capital of Luxembourg

With a population of almost 110,000 habitants in 2014, the city of Luxembourg is the largest urban area in Luxembourg and also the capital of the country. The population is constantly and rapidly growing which leads to an enormous increase in the number of building projects. The city of Luxembourg is the site of several European Union institutions and has one of the highest per capita GDPs in the world. The public transport consists of a network of 27 bus routes. Additionally, a new tramway is in process of construction and will be completed in 2021. As there are more jobs than inhabitants in Luxembourg, the city has a major commuter problem. Accordingly, it has one of the highest percentages of car users in the European Union. The resulting problems contribute to Luxembourg being the lowest ranked city in this comparison.

Overall Grade: F 53%

Pie Chart 53
  • 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

From 2008 to 2012, the particulate matter exceedance days at the Luxembourg Centre traffic station increased from 3 to 14, with a maximum of 20 exceedance days in between. At the same time, annual mean values of PM10 slightly increased from 18.3 to 21.8 µg/m³. The background station Luxembourg Bonnevoie does not show any exceedance days in the same period. It monitored extremely low concentrations (zero exceedance days since 2010). Here, also the annual mean value for PM10 is relatively low and close to values at the traffic station. Low background concentrations imply that only limited transboundary emissions exist for the City of Luxembourg. Similarly, concentrations at the traffic station can only marginally be further reduced.

Nevertheless, Luxembourg has a major problem with NO2 emissions. These values constantly exceed the EU limitation by about 1.5 times at the traffic station and nearly reach the EU limits at the background station. There is no reduction trend visible since 2006: concentrations slightly fluctuate around 58 µg/m³ at the traffic station and around 37 µg/m³ at the background station.

Low Emission Zones & Bans of High Emitters

The City of Luxembourg does not have a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) and no information could be retrieved that there are plans to introduce an LEZ. Nevertheless, in the City’s Air Quality Plan from 2011, access regulation measures for Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV) are considered for implementation before 2020. Accordingly, access of HGVs into the city centre is planned to be limited but no measures have yet been taken. An LEZ for HGVs was abandoned as the delivery vehicle fleet is generally modern and clean, and so an LEZ would not bring about substantial air quality improvements. Reduction measures should be taken to lower concentrations of NO2 especially, in order to conform to EU limit values.

Public Procurement Clean Cars

The city has a relatively modern bus fleet because of a programme which replaces 10 to 30 old buses every year. Accordingly, nearly 80% of buses meet the Euro V emissions standards, are hybrid vehicles or are Enhanced Environmentally Friendly Vehicles (EEV). For 2020, the city’s Air Quality Plan aims to have only buses with Euro 5 emissions standards or higher.

No detailed information could be retrieved concerning regulations and emission classes of the municipal vehicle fleet, but generally almost every vehicle has, for example, particle filters because there is a high share of vehicles meeting the Euro 5 emissions standards.

Non-Road Mobile Emission Sources

EU regulations have been implemented into national law, but no further information could be retrieved about national, regional or local instruments that decrease emissions from construction machinery or other non-road mobile machinery.

Use of Economic Incentives

Congestion charging is not under consideration, even though an OECD Economics Department Working Paper from 2013 recommends the introduction of a congestion charge, higher fuel costs and a revision of parking prices to reduce motorised commuter and transborder traffic.

There are five different short and long-term parking zones with a maximum of €2 per hour on about 7,500 parking spaces. Furthermore, there are more than 3,000 spaces in Park & Ride facilities. The mobility strategy MODU intends to systematically extend the Park & Ride system. The e-City system makes is possible to pay parking with a mobile phone.

Until the end of 2014, the City of Luxembourg had a nationally implemented instrument to generate economic incentives called Prime CAR-e. The Ministry for Sustainable Development and Infrastructures gave subsidies of up to €5,000 for electric vehicles and cars with less than 60g CO2/km. The Prime CAR-e was abandoned, because the Ministry of Sustainability, which is currently under green leadership, is striving for a tax reform in 2016 with a tax increase on diesel fuel allocated on vehicle tax.

Traffic & Mobility Management Incl. Modal Split

With its Air Quality Plan aiming to reduce individual car use and its mobility strategy MODU, Luxembourg has developed comprehensive instruments to promote walking, cycling and the use of public transport. From a modal split of 13% walking and cycling, 14.5% public transport and actually an extremely high share of 72.5% car or motorcycle use in 2009, the City is now aiming to increase walking and cycling to 25% and public transport to 19% by 2020. Still, that leaves 56% for car and motorcycle use.

Luxembourg has a very high share of diesel vehicles and also 70% of all newly registered cars are diesel-fuelled. Additionally, a major commuter problem exists: there are 3,800 jobs per 1,000 inhabitants. Theoretically, three out of four employees live outside the city and thus need to commute to work.

There is currently no car sharing system in Luxembourg, but the city has announced once more that it will introduce one in the near future.

Luxembourg has a very high percentage of 30 km/h zones, pedestrian zones and residential zones de rencontre (encounter zones) with a speed limit of 20 km/h, in which pedestrians have priority over other road users.

Promotion of Public Transport

Luxembourg has a public transport system, which consists of bus and rail services. 140 municipal and about 110 private buses operate with 31 lines on about 150 km of the road network. Partially using dedicated bus lanes, these 250 buses stop at 645 bus stations.

In the framework of the mobility strategy MODU as well as a sectorial mobility plan, the construction of a tram line is due for completion in 2020, and this will form the central pillar for promoting the public network. At the moment the planning is in the tendering process. It will operate on 16 km with 24 stations and will cost about €560 million. Furthermore, an expansion of the bus system with a new diameter line and an optimisation of public transport connection spots is planned. Peripheral train stations are being modernised and extended, and an additional lift station up the hill unburdens the main station. An increase of Park & Ride facilities is a further pillar to support increasing the share of public transport to 25% by 2020.

In 2009, a national job ticket was introduced which allows reduced prices for participating companies or administrations. The e-City system makes it possible to pay public transport tickets with a text message.

Information on sustainable mobility in Luxembourg (Fr.):

Information on the mobility strategy MODU (Fr.):

Promotion of Walking & Cycling

In the framework of its Air Quality Plan 2011, the national Mobility Strategy MODU from 2012 and the Environmental Action Plan 2014, Luxembourg actively promotes soft mobility and intends to increase its share. Individual measures undertaken to reach this target are: to expand the cycling network from 140 km in 2010 to 160 km in 2015, to increase the area of the 20 km/h zones de rencontre and implement projects like living without car. A very small residential area of a few houses, located in the quarter „Limpertsberg” is planned to be completely car free. As it is perfectly connected to public transport and only few parking spaces exist, it is not really politically courageous, but kind of obvious.

The city’s bike sharing scheme “vel’oh!” is constantly being extended. Since its introduction in 2008, the number of bikes and stations increased from 250 bikes and 25 stations, to about 770 bikes and 70 stations in 2015.

The new government of Luxembourg engaged for the first time an officer for soft mobility.

Note: Initially, due an editorial mistake this text included the information that the quarter „Limpertsberg“ was completely car free. In reality is was only a small part of that quarter. We thank for informing us about it.

Transparency & Communication Policy

The city provides a website on air quality with contact possibilities to the environmental department. Monthly reports on air quality as well as the Air Quality Plan are available for download. For information on current pollutant levels on the Internet, the city’s website forwards to the national Ministry of Sustainable Development and Infrastructure. Here, a basic interactive map and some background information are available. The relevant legislation, plans and measures are documented on the website and can be downloaded. An email contact is provided. Both websites are not very attractive and not well structured or intuitive.

As an additional information and awareness-raising tool, the city wanted to install public screens showing current pollutants levels. However, these have been in a long pseudo process of planning since 2011.

There are generally few possibilities for participation in mobility projects, but rather informative meetings for the public. For soft mobility however, there are advisory committees with state, city and civil society members that work and function well.

City website on air quality (Fr.):

National website of the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Infrastructures on air quality (fr.):