Cities and regional government

Creating greener and more sustainable cities and regions

We have the technical understanding and experience to support cities around the world in addressing many of today’s most pressing environmental issues and moving towards a positive future.

Our expertise

We champion integrated, evidence-based approaches, combined with knowledge-sharing and capacity building. We apply cutting edge techniques and unrivalled technical expertise to help cities develop the information they need to confidently plan and implement effective action plans and policies, and monitor their effectiveness.

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We understand that planning for climate change has become a key strategic issue for cities and local governments across the world, who are taking unprecedented steps to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, tackle climate change and improve air quality for their citizens. From impactful mitigation policies to robust adaptation projects, these governments can lead on climate action, and our experts are supporting many of them every step of the way.

Ricardo has an extensive technical background in all aspects of city GHG management and climate action planning. From the sector-specific to the city-wide, we specialise in developing city-level emission inventories, and using these inventories to build scenarios and set reduction targets. We help cities identify mitigation actions and develop climate action plans through tailored in-depth training, capacity building, and technical support, as well as plan for the unavoidable effects of climate change.

Our team at Ricardo is passionate about building capacity in cities to find solutions. Read more about our work here or contact us to find out more.

  • City GHG emission inventories, modelling and projections / “Developing city level GHG inventories and mitigation analysis”
  • City climate action planning / “Planning the future we want to see”
  • Training and capacity building

Underpinning everything we do is the collection of robust evidence.  Without this evidence we can not understand where we are to help us plan for a better future.  Collecting evidence to support action takes many forms and cuts across all aspects of city life.  Ricardo's experts have decades of experience of building evidence bases:

  • Monitoring – from air quality monitoring to traffic data and energy consumption statistics
  • Inventory development – covering GHG and air pollutant emissions
  • Modelling and forecasting – using innovative tools and techniques building on the latest knowledge such as our RapidAir® pollution modelling system to our Urban Roadmaps sustainable transport planning tool;
  • Technical expertise – providing the detailed understanding of what technologies and solutions can deliver whether it is clean vehicle technologies, renewable energy or waste management techniques.

Understanding and managing urban air quality is complex and technically challenging.  Ricardo has been working with cities across the world to address this challenge and help cities protect the health their citizens.  We provide support across three main areas:

  1. Measuring air quality and emissions – this is a key step in understanding the nature of the air pollution problem in your city and communicating this to your residents.  We can set up monitoring systems, manage the data and present this through a number of platforms.  Ricardo also has a unique expertise in measuring real world emission from vehicles in cities, a key component of urban air pollution.
  2. Modelling air quality – with our purpose bespoke air quality modelling system RapidAir we can forecast air quality quickly and reliably.  This can be used for pollution forecasts but also for modelling and assessing mitigation measures.
  3. Understanding solutions – our experts have a deep understanding of a wide range of measures that can be used to reduce emissions and improve air quality form sustainable transport measures to energy efficient buildings.  Combined with our modelling capability we can lever this knowledge to develop low emission strategies for your cities to help improve air quality and protect public health.

As a multi-disciplinary consultancy, we also understand the integrated nature of a city and how air quality links with urban transport policy, energy and climate change, waste and water.  This puts us in a unique position to solve your air quality problems as part of a wider approach to a sustainable city.

We also understand that to deliver successful and long terms improvements we need to develop a partnership approach with your city working with your existing expertise and knowledge, but also building future capacity through training and skills development.

Our sustainable transport experts has worked with cities internationally to provide advice on low-carbon technology alternatives, develop urban transport roadmaps and design tools to assess the impacts of future transport policies. From providing advice on the deployment of electric vehicle infrastructure to supporting cities across the European Union to achieve their Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs), Ricardo deliver effective mobility strategies to support the development of sustainable cities.

Zero and low emission vehicles and infrastructure

Ricardo works with cities to offer a range of electric vehicle (EV) solutions, from providing tailored advice on charging technologies and locations, to producing impact assessments for different EV and alternative fuel vehicle uptake scenarios. Our sustainable transport and energy teams work in unity to offer impartial advice on the role of smart grids, the economic impacts of electrification and the capacity to future-proof investments. We also work closely with our Air Quality team to help develop clean vehicle and charging infraststrategies that can help meet air quality improvement objectives.

Ricardo also works with charging providers, and fleet operators, advising on the planning and deployment of charging schemes. Through providing vehicle-based assessments, advising on city-specific charging infrastructure and undertaking cost-benefit analyses, Ricardo identifies effective, city-level solutions.

Sustainable transport modelling

In response to the need to better manage the environmental impacts of transport, Ricardo developed SUstainabLTrANsport (SULTAN).   SULTAN is an illustrative scenarios tool, which helps to assess the impacts of prospective transport sector policies, from the implementation of a CO2 emissions reduction target to the introduction of measures to encourage cycling.

Ricardo's team has been instrumental in the creation and development of the United Kingdom market for renewable energy. Today, Ricardo works closely with a wide range of international clients to identify new markets for renewables. Key among these are low carbon energy supply in cities.

Our experience gives us unique insights into a the technical and commercial range of issues and how these link to wider city issues of transport, water, waste, air quality etc. These insights extend from policies and regulations and their impacts, to novel mechanisms to commercialise renewable energy development. This means that we offer independent and unbiased market, technical, commercial and environmental advice to a range of developers, investors and city authorities.

As a multi-disciplinary business, our approaches to renewable energy implementation are embedded as part of wider solution solving activities. These include smart grid solutions to overcome constraints in the electricity distribution network, mechanisms to improve air quality and helping to support the development of electric vehicle charging infrastructures.

Increasingly, we are also developing solutions that have a high level of community involvement. This is allowing energy supply to become the means by which local social and economic benefits can be delivered within existing investment and development activities.
Our experience

  • Developing the energy circular economy in an urban setting. A major international developer has asked us to help them to identify the role of low carbon electricity supply as part of a circular economy approach. This identifies how locally owned generation infrastructure can displace bought in fossil energy, redistribute wealth, improve the local environment and drive decarbonisation.
  • Energy system modelling. Working with a number of cities, we have developed models that allow us to identify properties within a city that are targets for renewable energy systems. Examples are poorly insulated properties, those with space for heat pump installation, groups of properties where the energy demand best matches PV electricity supply, etc.
  • New commercial models for electricity supply. Working as part of a major development team, we developed and validated a new, financial viable approach to directly supplying a major city based electricity demand with generation located away from the development. This includes energy supply for buildings and transport needs.  This is the means by which cities can overcome the lack of space for the installation of renewables to achieve decarbonisation of buildings and transport targets cost effectively.

Ricardo has long-standing experience in all forms of capacity building including training workshops, webinars, secondments and self-learning tools. These have covered a broad spectrum of issues across all aspects of strategic city planning, service delivery and environmental issues. This includes technical training on specific areas including air quality, climate change, transportation, energy and waste management, as well as supporting cross-cutting issues of governance, strategic planning and monitoring and evaluation.

We deliver capacity building solutions to city governments and agencies, as well as wider stakeholder groups, developing the necessary skills to enable recipients to apply, in practice, what they learn.

  • Training needs assessments – analysing city staff and stakeholder capacity building requirements to develop actionable training plans and strategies.
  • Training strategy design and implementation – ensuring capacity building is designed to meet immediate and long-term capacity building objectives.
  • Training course design and delivery – ensuring courses are aligned with the training strategy and are suitable for its audience.
  • Update workshops on national and international changes in sectoral legislation, policies and tools – based on our experience of working on projects to support policy implementation.
  • Institutional strengthening and knowledge transfer programmes.
  • Technical training on tools, methods and technical knowledge
  • Helping city policy makers with effective decision-making – developing the skills to drive forward new strategies, policies and actions.
  • Workshop facilitation.
  • Train the trainer programmes and toolkit development.
Greener And More Sustainable Cities
Cities and regional government


Case studies

Assessing the impacts of Clean Transport Zones in Warsaw

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Interactive display of air quality information on behalf of Kent and Medway Partnership

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Measuring and improving air quality in the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh

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Latest news

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Natural England publish Ricardo report and mitigation tool on nature-based solutions for nutrient mitigation

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Air pollution: a global health emergency

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Warsaw's groundbreaking Clean Transport Zone

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