Environmental and cost impacts of environmental zoning for cars

Many Dutch towns and cities are grappling with recurrent breaches of air quality standards. One of the options available to local authorities to address these issues is to introduce environmental zoning for private cars, with especially polluting vehicles being banned from a particular area. In this joint study by Goudappel Coffeng and CE Delft, the costs and benefits of this kind of
environmental zoning scheme for cars are calculated. The study was commissioned by the national Information and Technology Centre for Transport and Infrastructure, CROW, under the SOLVE programme, and by the environment ministry, VROM.

The first step of the study was to estimate how owners of ‘excluded’ cars would respond to environmental zoning. On this basis the costs to private citizens and the local authority were then estimated. Using traffic models, effects on air quality were then determined. The study shows that environmental zoning for this category of vehicles can be an effective means of improving urban air quality. How effective, depends on the admission criteria employed: the more stringent these are, the greater will be the impact. The costs to citizens will then also rise considerably, however.

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