Amsterdam update: There is only one moment to be on time

18 May 2020

Amsterdam update: There is only one moment to be on time

The legendary footballer Johan Cruijff once said: “There is just one moment when you can be exactly on time”. That moment is now. If we want to retain the same pleasant city that we have today, we must start acting now on reducing the city’s CO2 footprint.

Amsterdam has set the goal to reduce CO2 emissions by 55% in 2030 and by 95% in 2050. With the current measures Amsterdam falls short of reaching this goal.

That’s why we need bold innovative solutions!

Current greenhouse gas emissions in Amsterdam

Traffic on Amsterdam’s roads accounts for a large part of total CO2 emissions. The challenge is even bigger if we include national and regional roads within the municipal boundaries and the emissions caused by commuters from Amsterdam who work outside the city. Electricity generation results in an even larger amount of CO2 being emitted if the electricity is not generated sustainably. That is why Amsterdam puts a specific focus on the energy transition. Amongst others we want to use our power grids and storage smarter and more flexibly.

Technology is set to play an increasingly important role in helping Amsterdam to achieve its ambitions to become a carbon-neutral city. Various projects using Artificial Intelligence technology (AI) have already been successfully executed and incorporated:

  • Access to environmental zone

Aiming to improve air quality, the City of Amsterdam has designated the entire area within the A10 peripheral road as an ‘environmental zone’. Vehicles that produce excess emissions are excluded. Smart roadside cameras read the registration numbers of passing vehicles and check whether they are permitted into the environmental zone.

  • Waste detection using images

Machine learning techniques such as neural networking allow computers to recognize certain objects from images. The City of Amsterdam has ‘taught’ a system to recognize various types of waste, such as discarded bin bags or cardboard boxes. The city’s refuse collection vehicles will soon be fitted with cameras which quantify how much rubbish is on the streets, thus creating a real-time picture of how clean the city’s public spaces are. More information about this system, including a video, can be found here.


Amsterdam has joined the EU-funded project AI4Cities where it is partnering up with Helsinki, Copenhagen, Paris Region, Stavanger, and Tallinn to find artificial intelligent solutions together to accelerate carbon neutrality. They will do so by going through a pre-commercial procurement process, challenging startups, SMEs and bigger companies to design innovative solutions. These solutions should apply the use of AI and related enabling technologies, such as 5G, Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing and big data applications.

Do you have an idea on how to reduce carbon and do you want to be part of the solution? Join AI4Cities for a chance to get your idea funded! Throughout the PCP process a total of 4,6 million Euro will be divided among the selected suppliers. For more information check out our website and join our upcoming webinars.


All news