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Capital of France

Paris is the capital of France and also the country’s largest city. With a population of 12.3 million inhabitants in the larger “aire urbaine” it is one of the most populated areas in Europe. It is also one of the world’s most important centres for business and culture as well as the most visited city in the world.

The public transportation system consists of tram and bus lines, suburban railways and a large metro system, which is composed of 16 lines and 303 stations. In recent years, Paris has made efforts to achieve a modal shift towards public transport, cycling and walking.

Overall Grade: C- 71%

Pie Chart 71
  • 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

After an increase of PM10 exceedance days between 2005 and 2009, the city managed to reduce these values. Still on a very high level and far above EU limits, the exceedance days of PM10 at the traffic station Place Victor Basch decreased from 91 in 2009 to 73 in 2013. At the same time, the annual mean decreased from 44.6 µg/m³ to 40.0 µg/m³ and somet EU threshold values in 2013. However, the French yearly quality objective of 30 μg/m³ was not achieved. The background station Paris 18ème reported 22 exceedance days in 2009 and – after an intermediate further reduction to 18 as well as an intermediate high of 29 – 26 exceedance days of PM10 in 2013. Annual mean values decreased from 28.1 µg/m³ in 2009 to 26 µg/m³ in 2013.

A massive problem also remains for NO2: Although a decrease of the annual mean NO2 level was reported between 2009 and 2013 from 96.5 µg/m³ to 81 µg/m³ at the traffic station, this is still more than double the EU threshold values. And also at the background station, NO2 annual mean values are above EU limit values with 43 µg/m³. The new mayor has stated her intent to reduce NO2 by 40% and particulate matter by 28% by 2020 and has incorporated a mix of new measures in her air quality plan to start from July 1, 2015.

Low Emission Zones & Bans of High Emitters

A new anti-air-pollution plan from February 2015 introduces a low emission zone (LEZ) covering the whole city inside the orbital road. The introduction of LEZs in France is a national responsibility and permitted through the national environmental law Grenelle II from 2009. Its possible effects on air quality were investigated in feasibility studies before its introduction.

From July 2015, a first LEZ phase is going to be in operation, forcing lorries and buses to meet at least Euro I emissions standards. From January 2016 all vehicles must be Euro I and between 2017 and 2020, Euro II, III and IV and will be phased out. Although the plans are good, the regulations are currently not very strict and it is not clear yet how the LEZ is going to be implemented and controlled.

Most importantly, the anti-pollution plan, initiated by the new mayor, further envisages a ban on old diesel vehicles from 2015 and a complete ban of diesel cars by 2020. Another mid-term target is banning all cars on weekdays.

There is already a traffic ban concerning heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) over 7.5 tonnes. It restricts HGV access to Paris during certain times of the day on certain days of the week.

Public Procurement Clean Cars

Paris has an innovative and clean municipal car fleet, composed of 4000 vehicles and 180 bicycles in 2013. There are seven car sharing sites for municipal employees to borrow transport. 16% of vehicles are electric and 50% of all new city cars, sedans and small utility vehicles replacing old ones are envisaged to be electric or hybrid. By the end of 2014, the city wanted to invest €5m for removing all diesel sedan and diesel city cars. By 2020, the anti-air-pollution plan envisages a municipal fleet that is completely electric or hybrid.

In consultation with the mayor, the local transport company RATP has recently stated that it will replace old buses and have 100% Euro VI buses by 2025. By then, 80% of 4,500 buses will be electric and 20% will be powered by biogas. Currently, only a marginal share of the 120 buses are powered by gas, are hybrid or electric. Most of the rest only meet Euro II or III emissions standards.

Non-Road Mobile Emission Sources

EU regulations were implemented into national law, but no further information could be retrieved about national, regional or local instruments detailing how to decrease emissions from construction machinery or other non-road mobile machinery. However, as legislative competence is at the national level, the city`s scope of action is limited.

Use of Economic Incentives

Paris does not have a congestion charging system, but maintains a comprehensive parking management scheme. There were two parking zones arranged in circles with about 143,000 on-street paid parking spaces and 70,500 parking spaces in car parks in 2013. Theoretically 0% but effectively 1% of spaces are free of charge, the remaining 99% cost between €2.40 and €4.00 per hour. Continuous reductions of parking spaces are due to installing motorcycle or car-sharing spaces. The anti-air-pollution plan envisages free parking for electric vehicles and also free charging during the night from 2015.

The motorway toll system in France generally affects all types of vehicles. It was revised in 2014 because of air pollution issues to charge a higher toll for heavy vehicles above 3.5 tonnes from 2015, for example on the periphery surrounding Paris.

A national bonus-penalty system focussing on CO2 emissions is in place. For low-emission vehicles, people receive between €4,000 and €6,300 of subsidies in 2015, for environmentally harmful vehicles people have to pay between €150 and €8,000. This system is criticised by the new mayor as it favours the diesel registrations and thus the manufacturers who produce diesel vehicles. The City of Paris launched an innovative sustainable mobility and anti-air-pollution plan in February 2015, initiated by the new mayor. Its measures increase the share of public transport, walking and cycling.

Traffic & Mobility Management Incl. Modal Split

Figures on the weekday modal split for 2010 show that 46.6% of people in Paris walk, 33.5% use public transport and 16.2% use cars and motorcycles as mode of transport. The share of cycling is very low at 2.7%. In 2013, the weekday modal split improved with regard to cleaner modes of transport. Here, the share of walking increased to 48%, the share of public transport increased to 36%, and car and motorcycle use decreased to 13%. However, bike use also decreased to 2%, the share of motorcycles decreased to 2% and other modes of transport have a share of 1%.

In Paris, the general speed limit for cars is 50 km/h, but the anti–air-pollution plan envisages a speed limit of 30 km/h across most central districts and soft modes of transport are to feature more strongly. By now, a third of roads in the city, 560 km, have a speed limit reduced to 30 km/h. Additionally, there are zones de rencontres (encounter zones) with a maximum of 20 km/h, in which cyclists, pedestrians and car users share the same space. On the periphery the speed limit was reduced from 80 to 70 km/h in 2014.

The car sharing scheme “Autolib’” is continuously increasing its number of stations and cars. Between 2012 and 2013 alone, the number of cars increased from about 1,750 to 2,000 and the number of stations increased by 100 to 830. The use of electric cars is going to be promoted through a network of charging points to be placed every 500 m.

Promotion of Public Transport

The Parisian public transport system is composed of a large metro system with 16 lines and local trains that connect the surrounding areas. Since 2010, the metro network has been extended by 4 km to over 200 km. An additional major extension by 5 km is planned to be realised until 2030. The bus network is composed of 65 lines covering about 600 km in Paris and 242 lines covering 2,400 km in the suburbs. On the other hand, the tram network has seen the number of lines and network length reduced since 2010.

Investments of 1,100 million euros are envisaged by the new mayor for developing the public transport system (including the cycling infrastructure) between 2015 and 2020.

Promotion of Walking & Cycling

The city supports comprehensive measures for encouraging cycling and walking. So far, the cycling network in the framework of Plan Vélo was extended by about 300 km from 2009 to 730 km in 2013. A big further step for the promotion of soft modes of transport is the doubling of cycling lanes by 2020 envisaged by the new mayor through large investments. There will also be a cycling lane along the Champs Élysées. An introduction of extensive 30 km/h zones, 20 km/h zones de rencontre and pedestrian areas is planned.

The extensive bike sharing programme Vélib comprises 1,800 bike stations located every 300 meters with 20,000 bikes and more than 25 million journeys per year.

Transparency & Communication Policy

The non-profit organisation AIRPARIF, which is accredited by the Ministry of Environment, is responsible for monitoring the air quality in the Paris region. It provides a comprehensive website with detailed background information on pollutants, legislation, monitoring methods and stations. Furthermore, there is the option to download daily bulletins, annual reports and long-term air quality data. Additionally, a section with intAIRactive tools for adults and children can be accessed. Important features of the website are air quality forecasts and an interactive map with current air quality levels at each measuring station.

Website by AIRPARIF (Engl.):

Response to Questionnaire

The City did not reply to the questionnaire.