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Car-free zones

Car-free zones within cities reduce emissions, noise and improve road safety on streets. Residents are allowed to enter, while the entry of non-residents is strictly prohibited. Furthermore, people would be attracted to take buses and coaches, which are not subject to such restrictions, to reach destinations within those zones.


Example: Since 1 January 2009, the city of Bremen has established a low-emission zone to reduce harmful emissions from vehicles and particulate pollution. Access to the zone, which covers seven square kilometres in Bremen's city centre and Neustadt district, is only permitted for low-emission vehicles that carry a red, yellow or green disc. Two subsequent phases will reduce access to the LEZ still further: phase 2 of the LEZ begins on 1 January 2010, when only vehicles with a yellow or green disc will be permitted entry. 1 July 2011 marks the start of phase 3, at which time only vehicles that have a green disc can enter the LEZ. However, coaches do not require a disc and are therefore welcome in Bremen’s low-emission zone.


For more information:

Sustainable Urban Transport, Final report from the European project Trendsetter, pp.32-33

Bremen application the IRU City Trophy Award 2009



Parking management

As the availability of parking spaces may substantially influence private vehicle travel, parking management is of utmost importance within cities. Traffic policies can influence the amount and cost of parking spaces on offer in a city and might decrease traffic due to a reduction of the use of cars for urban travel. Such policies should give a clear priority to bus and coach transport.


Example: In order to decrease traffic in the city centre, the city of Utrecht implemented several policies. This included the reformation and reallocation of parking spaces, an increase of parking charges and new circulation patterns. This resulted in the rise of the use of mass public transport from 42% to 52% and the reduction of car traffic in the city centre by 15%.


Stockholm features parking areas at all city entrances, whilst offering some 40 dedicated coach parking spaces close to touristic sites inside the city.

The city of Bremen welcomes visiting coaches and guarantees a coach-friendly city with a well-designed bus parking scheme. Most parking for coaches is centrally located, right by the main attractions, and is normally free of charge.


For more information:

Transport, Energy and CO2 – Moving Towards Sustainability, International Energy Agency, pp.250-55 http://www.iea.org/w/bookshop/add.aspx?id=365

Bremen and Stockholm applications for the IRU City Trophy Award 2009



Congestion charging & road pricing

Congestion charging was introduced into central London in February 2003. In July 2005 the basic charge was raised from GBP 5 to GBP 8 per day. In February 2007, the original central London congestion charging zone was extended westwards, creating a single enlarged congestion charging zone. This congestion charging contributes directly to radical improvements that have been made to bus services. Bus services in and around the western area were increased in advance of the last extension of the scheme. This was intended to provide additional public transport capacity for road users who opted to travel by bus in preference to continuing to use the car. Surveys of bus patronage indicate that the additional bus capacity has catered for the additional demand.


The Stockholm City Council implemented a full-scale congestion charging trial in 2006. A prerequisite was an extended collective/public transport service. Through additional departures, new vehicles and more Park & Ride facilities collective/public transport was made more attractive. Disability and social services transport, emergency vehicles, taxis, etc. were exempted from the congestion charging trial. In addition, Stockholm boasts parking areas at all city entrances, whilst at the same time offering some 40 dedicated coach parking spaces close to touristic sites inside the city.


For more information:

Sustainable Urban Transport, Final report from the European project Trendsetter, p.36

CIVITAS in Europe, A proven framework for progress in urban mobility, p.10

What European framework for a sustainable urban transport, Green paper on urban transport, Position paper, UITP, p.4 www.uitp.org/mos/positionspapers/31-en.pdf

London congestion charging



Implementation of access control zones & creation of environmental zones

Access restrictions allowing only certain vehicles, such as collective transport by bus and coach, to enter the city centre substantially improve the use of collective passenger traffic, in particular when accompanied by regulated parking management and the promotion of alternatives to cars. However, a harmonised EU framework is needed to contribute to eliminating the current patchwork of city access rules across Europe.


Example: The largest operational access control zone is to be found in Rome, where various measures aim at improving the traffic conditions and quality of life within the city. In Stockholm, a regulation prohibiting heavy-duty diesel vehicles older than eight years to enter the city centre was introduced in 1996.


In March 2009, the Berlin administration in charge of environment matters decided that both German and foreign registered EURO III coaches will no longer need to register for a special exemption as from 1 January 2010. As a result, all EURO III coaches will enjoy free entry into the Berlin low-emission zone until 2012.


For more information:

CIVITAS in Europe, A proven framework for progress in urban mobility, p.20

Environmental zones in European city centres, European Parliament

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