Traffic emissions

Did you know that 50% of all journeys of 1–2 kilometres are made by private car in Helsinki?

It is clear that in Helsinki, more people walk, cycle and use public transport than in other municipalities in the metropolitan area. Nevertheless, we can work together to reduce the impact on air quality from emissions from private cars.

Traffic emissions pose health risks by reducing air quality. Exhaust emissions, such as fine particles and nitrogen dioxide and road dust, reduce air quality, especially near busy streets.

Exhaust emissions have decreased in recent years due to developments in vehicle technology and air pollution control measures in Helsinki. 

 Continuing to further reduce traffic emissions is very important. The COVID-19 epidemic in 2020 showed that a reduction in motor traffic improved air quality.

Traffic emissions reduce air quality in busy streets at peak times

Traffic emissions and their impact on air quality at different times of the day

Daily fluctuations in nitrogen dioxide at measuring stations in busy areas from Mondays to Fridays in 2020. Nitrogen dioxide concentrations are high, especially at peak times and at low winds.

You can view the impact of traffic emissions on air quality on the HSY air quality map

The air quality map is based on modelling, which combines information on air quality measurements, weather, emissions, land use and long-range transboundary air pollution. The map also provides information on how air quality will be changing in the coming hours at the location of your choice. 

Open the HSY map

Tips on reducing traffic emissions and exposure to them

Avoid busy streets at peak times.
Air your home through windows from the courtyard side or outside peak traffic times.
Choose cycling or walking on shorter journeys.
Choose public transport whenever possible.
Take advantage of carpools and car-sharing opportunities.
If you are considering buying a car, pay attention to its emissions – an electric car is often a good choice.

Traffic emissions affect the air we share

Traffic emissions are one of the top three things to reduce air quality in the metropolitan area, in addition to road dust and small-scale wood burning. With our daily choices, we can all impact the quality of the air we share in the city and reduce exposure to harmful emissions.

Read tips for residents