These are the best cities for driving in Europe

Modern urban lifestyles are built around creative and sustainable mobility technologies. Many cities have recognised the importance of efficient road infrastructure and have adapted their transport policies and launched new innovations. But which has done it best?

A study conducted by Verizon Connect looked at the 30 most populous cities in Europe, ranking them in what it calls its Smart Driving City Index. Factors such as sustainability, the amount of time it takes to get from A to B, how much smart technology is being used and road safety all play a part here. The top 16 cities all have a car-sharing presence. Overall, 10 influencing factors were used in order to determine the final ranking. Here are some of the best cities for driving in Europe.

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Straight in at number two on the list of best cities for driving in Europe (Brussels is number one) is the Austrian capital, Vienna. As well as having car-sharing providers active there, Vienna scored highly in the area of load capacity - the ratio between the population that can be reached within a 90-minute car journey and the population living within a 120-kilometre radius of the city - and for the number of newly registered electric vehicles, according to European Environment Agency (EEA), in the city.

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Another SHARE NOW city, Amsterdam, came in at number three on the best cities for driving list. One of the key factors in driving the Dutch capital so high up the ranking was the strength of its network of publicly accessible charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs). Amsterdam’s comparatively fast mobile internet download speeds also significantly contributed to its favourable ranking, given that today’s transport infrastructure is almost always dependent on modern data infrastructure. Car-sharers in Amsterdam can also drive to nearby Rotterdam with SHARE NOW.

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There were plenty of German cities towards the top end of the Smart Driving City Index but the one that came out on top was Hamburg. The largest non-capital city in the European Union with a population of over 1.84 million, Hamburg scored well on the overall quality of its transport network and the time it takes drivers to get from A to B in the city. The port city also has one of the lowest rates of traffic fatalities per million inhabitants resulting from a car accident in Europe.

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The second-best German city for driving, and the fifth-best in all of Europe, is Cologne. Despite being one of the oldest cities in the country, Cologne scored highly across all of the load capacity categories. The city logged impressive data for everything from the quality of the transport network, to drivers being able to reach an above-average number of places at short notice. The car-sharing presence across multiple North Rhine-Westphalia cities was also a contributing factor.

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The German capital and headquarters of SHARE NOW, Berlin, ranks at number six on the list of best cities for driving in Europe. Berlin is not only the largest city in Germany - both in terms of area and population - but it’s the European Union's most populous city with 3.7 million inhabitants. Berlin scored above average points across the board, with the number of new EVs registered, the speed of mobile internet in the city, good safety statistics and the range of car-sharing services contributing most to its overall ranking.

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Contrary to the opinion of anyone who has ever attempted to drive down the Champs-Élysées to catch a glimpse of the Arc de Triomphe, Paris is, in fact, the seventh-best driving city in Europe! The French capital scored particularly highly across the range of electric mobility criteria with a high number of new electric vehicles registered per 100,000 inhabitants and an already broad charging infrastructure in place and continuing to grow. SHARE NOW’s all-electric fleet in Paris also helps boost the ranking.

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The fourth German city in the top 10, and the eight-best European driving city overall is Munich. The Bavarian capital scored well in all areas that fall under the Smart Technology criteria, with a high rate of electric vehicle adoption and a growing network of charging stations. The city is also home to several car-sharing and modern urban mobility services and apps which, combined with its strong mobile internet download speeds, make Munich one of the most modern driving cities in all of Europe.

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Sitting just outside the top 10 on the list is Milan, effectively earning the title of best driving city in Italy. The largest city of Lombardy may play second fiddle to Rome in terms of population size, but when it comes to being drivable, it pips its national rival by two spots. The lower rate of congestion leading to a faster A to B travel time, as well as the proportion of the population that can be reached within a 90-minute car journey, were the key factors here. Car-sharing companies like SHARE NOW are also infleeting EVs like the Fiat 500e in Milan, boosting sustainability.

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The number one city when it comes to driving in Spain is Madrid. The capital is home to 3.4 million residents and scored well across the board with a strong safety record and some innovative new smart technologies starting to spread. Car-sharing is, of course, present in Madrid and SHARE NOW now offers plug-in hybrid models in Spain for improved sustainability. The city even offers a cash bonus for those transitioning from private car ownership to car-sharing. Madrid sits in 15th place in the overall standings, one spot ahead of Valencia and five spots ahead of Barcelona.

David McCourt

David McCourt

Sr. Editorial Content Strategist

"Own less, share more."

David is on a mission to improve the quality of life in cities through modern mobility solutions.