Copenhagen is making its transportation system more intelligent and modernizing its traffic signals to be controlled in real time in order to further promote cycling and public transport.

The Challenge

Copenhagen has an ambitious goal of becoming CO2 neutral by 2025, but also has to manage a population growth of 1,000 citizens per month, which puts a strain on the space allocated for traffic. By modernizing the city’s infrastructure, Copenhagen wants to encourage more people to take up cycling on a daily basis and further limit traffic.

The Solution

Copenhagen is investing in Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) by installing new controllers in traffic signals at the city’s 380 intersections. The new technology not only enables the city to control traffic and optimize signals in real time, resulting in more efficient flow of bikes and buses, but also decreases the energy use of traffic signals by one-third. Overall, the travel time of cyclists will be reduced by 10% and travel time for buses is expected to decrease by up to 20%. The city hopes the improvements will entice even more people to partake in cycling in particular, which already accounts for 45% of commutes. Copenhagen is also using the smart traffic signals to reduce the number of stops for cyclists by 10%, which will reduce the incidence of accidents. ITS will help Copenhagen achieve its vision to have 75% of all trips in the city be by bike, by public transport, or on foot by 2025.

Environmental Benefits – The smart traffic lights help prevent congestion and decrease emissions from idle cars and trucks.

Social Benefits – By making mobility and public transportation accessible and attractive to all citizens, Copenhagen is working to improve quality of life throughout the entire city.

Economic Benefits – With the upgrade of the traffic lights, the city saves money on repairs of the outdated models which experienced frequent blackouts.

Health Benefits – By prioritizing cycling, Copenhagen counteracts some of the health risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle.

About Cities100

In its second year, Cities100 – presented by C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), Sustainia and Realdania – showcases leading solutions to urban climate challenges in ten sectors, ranging from solid waste management to transportation. For the first time, this year’s publication features solutions that address the nexus of climate change and social equity.

Available online and in print, Cities100 provides stakeholders an accessible format to explore achievable solutions for climate action in cities, and will be a useful tool for relevant groups ranging from impact investors and development organizations, to mayors and city governments.  You can access the full Cities100 2016 publication online here and read more about how may­ors will de­liver the aims of the Paris Agree­ment in a fore­ward by Anne Hidalgo, C40 Chair and Mayor of Paris, here.

  • Economic
  • Environmental
  • Health
  • Social
Key Impact
25,000 tons of CO2 will be reduced by 2025 compared to 2011 levels
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