Cars are out. Bikes are in. Sustainable mobility is making waves in Malmö.

By Lucas Dietrichson, Communication Strategist, City of Malmö and Braoin MacLauchlan, Communications Assistant, ICLEI World Secreteriat

Malmö is growing. And with that, more people will need sustainable modes of transport. This is how Malmö is changing both the city’s infrastructure and mindset to succeed.

Malmö is popular. It’s Sweden’s fastest growing city, with many commuting to, and visiting, the city. More people means more movement and transport of both people and goods. Sustainable modes of transport are already being used and are on the rise, but the proportion has to increase faster. Accepting this challenge, the City Council has adopted the following vision:

“Walking, cycling and public transport are the first choice for all who work, live or visit in Malmö. These travel choices, together with efficient and environmentally friendly freight and car traffic, are the basis of the transport system in our dense and sustainable city – a transport system designed for the city, and for its people.” – Malmö City Council

Model for mobility management within the City of Malmö. The inner modal split circle shows the result of the travel survey from 2013, and the outer one represents the objective for the inhabitants’ trips in 2030.


Mobility has been part of Malmö’s successful sustainable urban development investments in recent decades. The long-term trend is that the proportion of trips by bicycle, bus, and train will continue to increase, with the proportion of car journeys decreasing. Investments in bicycle infrastructure resulted in the Copenhagenize index ranking Malmö as the fifth most bicycle-friendly city in the world in 2017. That’s something to celebrate, but Malmö isn’t stopping there. To further increase sustainable travel, the city is working with a variety of actions, a few of which follow:

  • 30 km of new cycle paths (a total of 14 projects) are being built in the next few years.
  • Enabling measures to facilitate cycling: bicycle parking, rental bicycles, bicycle pumps, service stops along the cycle path network,
  • City of Malmö employees are offered a “benefit cycle”, allowing them to rent a bicycle through their employer with tax-favorable terms.
  • Public transport in Malmö is powered by renewables, with buses running on biogas as well as a growing all-electric bus fleet. Four new fully electrified city bus lines are in place, with three more being built in the next few years, all of which will make the city more sustainable and the urban environment quieter.
  • Forward-thinking parking planning. When new properties are built, the number of parking spaces is being reduced if alternative mobility measures are implemented: a carpool, bicycle pool, bicycle facilities or public transport cards.
  • The Öresund Metro. In January 2012, the Cities of Malmö and the Copenhagen, with the support of the EU’s Interreg Öresund-Kattegat-Skagerrak program, set about establishing a unique cross-border metro link between the cities. The Öresund metro will boost the labor market while reducing climate impacts, by increasing capacity for commuting passengers and for lower-emission freight like cargo trains, to use the Öresund fixed link.

Read Malmö’s Sustainable urban mobility plan

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Featured Photo by Åsa Svensson/City of Malmö 

Contact: Leif Gjesing Hansen, Project Manager for Mobility and Infrastructure, City of Malmö


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