Building Resilient Economic Agglomerations adressing Transportation and Health Effects: Urban form, location choice and transport solutions for high air quality and low-carbon cities

This project analyses the interactions between urban form, economic welfare, energy use by and emissions from households and firms. Increasing urban density and increasing city size tend to reduce households’ average energy consumption. However, increasing population density also tends to reduce local air quality. This trade-off as well as urban policies to stimulate the transition towards low carbon cities are subject of study. This is done by collecting data in four very different European cities – Amsterdam, Istanbul, Gothenburg and Barcelona – and by developing a spatial-economic equilibrium model that can be used for policy simulations. BREATHE engages policy makers and companies from the four cities.



Academic Partners:

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands
emptyDr. Steven Poelhekke (Principal Investigator)
Dr. Peter Mulder
Prof. dr. Henri de Groot
Prof. dr. Erik Verhoef
Postdoc: Dr. Saul Basurto Hernandez
University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Dr. Jessica Coria
Dr. Wolfgang Habla
Sabanci University Istanbul, Turkey
Dr. Eren Inci 
Dr. Zeren Taspinar

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain
Prof. dr. Jeroen van den Bergh   
Martina Siskova MSc

Cooperation Partners:
Amsterdam City Region (Stadsregio), The Netherlands
Martin Bekker

Ecorys, The Netherlands
Maaike Zwart    
Walter Hulsker
Traffic & Public Transport Authority of Gothenburg (Trafikkontoret Göteborg), Sweden
Carin Ström

Department of Transportation at Istanbul Metroplitan Municipality (IBB), Turkey
Serap Cetinkaya

Barcelona Metropolitan Transport Authority, Spain

European Metropolitan Transport Authorities (EMTA)
Ruud van der Ploeg (General Secretary)     
EMTA Barometer 2014  

Ioannis Tikoudis 
Walid Oueslati 

Project Manager and Contact Person:

Hadewijch van Delft
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Phone: +31-20-5982191





Delaprez, Y., and Poelhekke, S. (2018). Onderzoek naar schone lucht - Wetenschapsnotitie, online publication on
Coria J., and Zhang, X.B. (2017). Optimal environmental road pricing and daily commuting patterns. Transportation Research B 105: 297-314.

At the BREATHE project meeting held in Barcelona on June 19, 2017, Wolfgang Habla (together with Efthymia Kyriakopolou) held a presentation on 'Electric vs. conventional vehicles: environmental externalities and urban spatial policies', which will soon appear as a working paper.
'Electric vehicles and residential energy consumption: an indirect rebound effect' by Efthymia Kyriakopolou, Wolfgang Habla, Erik Verhoef was presented on several conferences: ITEA, Barcelona (June 2017), EAERE, Athens (July 2017), 3th International Workshop The Energy Transition in Land Transportation, Paris (November 2017), Workshop Opportunities and Challenges for Low-Carbon Mobility, Mannheim (September 2018), and at the American Economic Association - ASSA - meeting (Atlanta, Georgia, January 2019).

At the JPI Urban Europe Projects Meeting II in Amsterdam on April 14, 2016, a poster presentation was given by principal investigator Steven Poelhekke.


BREATHE falls under the ERA-NET Cofund Smart Cities and Communities (ENSCC). ENSCC was established by the Joint Programming Initiative (JPI) Urban Europe and the Smart Cities Member States Initiative (SC MSI) in order to initiate a transnational joint call for RDI (Research Development and Innovation) proposals addressing new solutions in the urban field, and demonstrating the feasibility of their implementation. ENSCC is supported by the Europan Commission and funded under the Horizon 2020 ERA-NET Cofund scheme. Also SURF (Smart Urban Regions of the Future), which is part of VerDuS (Verbinden van Duurzame Steden - Connecting Sustainable Cities) is involved in sponsoring BREATHE. More information

EU flagLogo ERA-NET TransportNew ComponentSURF