Back to overview



Stuttgart is the capital of the German state Baden-Wuerttemberg and Germany’s 6th largest city. The city itself has a population of only 600,000 inhabitants, but the metropolitan area has a much larger population of around 5.3 million inhabitants. The region of Stuttgart is a very strong economic area and hosts many well-known international companies, including premium car manufacturers. The city is located in a valley which prevents air circulation and thus concentrates pollutants. Stuttgart’s public transport system consists of a light rail system, local trains and a large bus network. In recent years the low emission zone became more up-to-date and is active in promoting its public transport.

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

A significant reduction trend of PM10 concentrations can be seen in all traffic stations leading below the daily and annual EU limit values except for the measuring station Am Neckartor. About 15% reduction could be reached at the traffic station Neckartor so far. The annual threshold is kept, but daily concentrations (63 exceedance days in 2014) are still considerably above EU limit values. Due to the city’s location in a basin, its meteorological situation is characterised by frequent low exchange weather conditions (thermal inversions).

Exceedances of the annual NO2 limit values occur at most traffic stations (Am Neckartor, Hohenheimer Straße, Arnulf-Klett-Platz), but the hourly NO2 limit values are no longer exceeded.

Low Emission Zones & Bans of High Emitters

A low emission zone (LEZ) covering the whole city area has been introduced in Stuttgart in 2008. The green sticker (representing Euro 4 emission standard or better) became obligatory for vehicles since January 2013. A transit ban for heavy duty vehicles above 3.5 tonnes introduced in 2010 was then limited to a smaller part of the city and has been removed for cleanest vehicle categories. Controls have been expanded on moving and on stationary traffic in 2012.

Euro 3 diesel cars, also if retrofitted with open particulate filters, shall be banned from the city when the next stage of the LEZ (Blue Zone) is enacted. For that, an amendment of the national sticker regulation is needed: The city of Stuttgart and the federal state of Baden-Württemberg demand new stickers (blue stickers) for Euro 5 and Euro 6 cars from national government and the Real Driving Emissions of cars to comply with the Euro 6 limit values.

Driving bans for high emitting diesel cars and bans of burning wood in stoves are being deliberated for 2016 when days with low air exchange are imminent. A public warning system will be established. Inhabitants and commuters are then asked to leave the car at home and switch to public transport or use bikes.

City website with information on low emission zones (Ger.):

Public Procurement Clean Cars

A comprehensive retrofitting programme of buses was introduced by the end of 2006. 40% of buses comply with Euro V standard, 25% with EEV (Enhanced Environmentally Friendly Vehicles), 60% are equipped with diesel particulate filter (DPF). New vehicles must have a closed filter. Euro IV standard is fulfilled by 100% of the buses since 2009. Hybrid buses are being tested with diesel and fuel cell technique.

Non-Road Mobile Emission Sources

Despite many big construction sites in the city, there are no municipal regulations in force to reduce emissions from construction machinery. Standards for non-road mobile machinery are being worked out on the level of the federal state Baden-Württemberg to reduce PM10 emissions in areas with critical loads. In order to provide the missing legal basis (to be enacted end of 2015). Emission reduction schemes for construction sites have been announced. Pressure and lawsuits of the campaign led to the pledge of the biggest building contractor in Stuttgart, the Deutsche Bahn AG, to use only construction machinery with particulate filters. But the current action plan does not prescribe construction machinery with closed filters but only vaguely asks for the IIIb standard. This is clearly insufficient for Stuttgart since its intensive building activities and very big constructions sites have been going on for several years. The city waits for regulation of the state of Baden-Württemberg to be adopted.

Use of Economic Incentives

Parking management is being built up and be expanded from the western city to all parts of Stuttgart from 2015 onwards. The very successful role model is the parking management in the western part of the city (since 2011). But at the same time, new shopping areas are opened in the city with 1,700 additional parking spaces. Comprehensive parking management and restructuring of areas in Stuttgart centre, north, south, east and Bad Cannstatt follow in October 2015. Thus the municipal reaction is late and urged by the new municipal government since 2013.

Traffic & Mobility Management Incl. Modal Split

The modal share of private motorised transport is rather high (44%). Public transport has a share of 24% and soft modes like cycling and walking have a share of 32%.

A lot of new mobility management activities have been started during the last two years. For instance, an expansion of speed limits of 40 km/h on streets with ascending slopes in order to improve air quality (role model Hohenheimer Straße in Stuttgart). The expected reduction effect is 5% PM10 and NO2. These measures are combined with measures to improve traffic flow.

A comprehensive mobility card with a focus on electric mobility and municipal services (Stuttgart Service Card including a payment facility) will be offered for 240,000 persons and is part of a public awareness campaign Sustainable mobility in Stuttgart in 2015. This is part of a cooperation between companies and stakeholders to improve corporate mobility management.

Promotion of Public Transport

After a first expansion finished in 2013, the U12 suburban railway is now being expanded into the Neckarvalley with the effect of doubling seating capacity until 2018. For the U6 an expansion of to the airport is planned for 2019.

Since January 2014, there are job tickets for employees of the municipality and since 2015 also for employees of the federal state. The expansion of job tickets was a cooperation between transport operators and municipal administration to offer all employees seasonal tickets at reduced fares. It has been very successful and put considerable stress on the public transport company.

Promotion of Walking & Cycling

The city wants to raise the share of cyclists to 20% in 2020. However, there is no comprehensive strategy visible and measures to reach this objective are not specified. Cycling has been ”discovered“ very late as a means to promote clean air. Thus cycling lanes on main streets are only now being discussed. Additional investments of €715,000 per year in cycling lanes are scheduled, starting in 2014. Green Waves of traffic lights for pedestrians are planned in some places (e.g. Schillerstraße) and improvements in signposting for walking and cycling are scheduled.

Transparency & Communication Policy

The city has a well-arranged website with information on air quality, action plans and measures. Also direct contact information is available. Furthermore, there is the possibility for participation of civil society in air quality matters. A draft of the air quality action plan has been publicly presented in 2014 and written submissions of stakeholders have been taken into account. Improving air quality is a big topic for public and media debates in Stuttgart. Awareness about clean air issue is very high as can be seen for instance in the participatory budgeting process where proposals to improve air quality by transport and mobility measures have the biggest share in the proposal of citizens. Many congresses and conferences about air quality take place in Stuttgart.

Website on air quality by the city’s Office for Environmental Protection, Section of Urban Climatology (Ger./ Engl.):

Response to Questionnaire

The city did not reply to the questionnaire.