The research group uses innovative methods to measure emissions.
The research group uses innovative methods to measure emissions. IASS/Rolf Schulten

Headline: Urban Air Quality, Mobility, and Health

Urban areas are not only population centres, but also emission hotspots, with a substantial amount of air pollution originating from traffic. The choices we make about how we get around in a city influence both emissions and our exposure to the emitted pollutants. How can we reduce our exposure to air pollution? What policy options will be the most effective in reducing emissions? What synergies can we take advantage of to reduce air pollution and protect human health, while also minimising greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating climate change? In a transdisciplinary approach that links scientific knowledge to the policy and social dimensions of the problem, the group conducts research in support of transformations towards more integrated policymaking on climate change mitigation and air quality.

The project's research activities focus on a range of issues relating to air quality in urban areas and explore the connections between air pollution, climate change, and mobility. The researchers also seek to foster greater awareness of these issues by establishing dialogues among policymakers, civil society actors and the scientific community, and by organising various activities, including exhibitions and citizen-science initiatives.

The research team uses innovative methods to measure emissions and the factors that influence exposure, as well as methods for quantifying the effectiveness of mobility policy options. Furthermore, through interdisciplinary collaboration, it examines public perceptions of air pollution and considers how these perceptions shape action on air quality at the individual level. These insights will enable researchers to gauge the feasibility of specific sustainable urban-planning measures to reduce emissions of air pollutants.


Real-Time Monitoring Networks for Tailored Pollution Action Plans (Net4Cities)

The transport sector is a major contributor to environmental degradation, including air and noise pollution, damage to ecosystems and human health. To monitor air and noise pollution and generate data that will aid in assessing their health impacts related to it, the new research project Net4Cities will develop research infrastructure in eleven European cities in ten countries. This research and infrastructure will support efforts to implement the Zero Pollution Action Plan as part of the European Green Deal. The project is coordinated by the Research Institute for Sustainability (RIFS) in Potsdam.

Climate Change and Air Pollution: Research Needs and Pathways to Policy Implementation

When it comes to air quality, practical action and critical thinking are needed not just in science and policymaking, but also in the everyday decisions of individuals. With its analyses and recommendations on urban air quality, this project contributes to the political discussion of this issue and thus supports the transformation of society towards sustainability.

Air Quality Effects from Mobility Measures

In this project, RIFS researchers are working with the City of Berlin to accompany the implementation of a variety of mobility policies. They conduct measurement campaigns that assess changes in air quality, traffic, and user preferences and perceptions.

Completed Projects

read more