Implementing sustainable mobility
Utrecht aims to develop a new parking policy that differentiates between vehicles according to their environmental characteristics and offers benefits to vehicles running on natural gas, electricity, alcohol or hydrogen.
The main objectives of the measure are to:
>> Decrease the negative impact of pollutant emissions from vehicles on urban air quality; and
>> Stimulate the purchase and use of less polluting vehicles.
Many urban areas in the Netherlands do not meet European air quality standards. Utrecht is also struggling with this problem. Standards for fine dust and nitrogen dioxide are exceeded, while the city is growing and traffic is continuously increasing. The municipality developed an Air Quality Action Plan to approach the problem in an integral manner. The development of a differentiated parking policy that rewards drivers of less polluting vehicles is part of this plan.
Currently, parking tariffs in Utrecht are based on parking duration, period and location. The same parking fees apply to the most polluting and most environmentally friendly vehicles. A differentiation of parking tariffs based on environmental impact requires an amendment of municipal and national legislation.
How is the measure progressing
Steps towards a comprehensive implementation plan have been taken. Utrecht is conducting a study on how to achieve a classification based on environmental characteristics of vehicles and how to enforce it. Based on the outcome of the research and an amendment of legislation that is currently pending, a pilot will be run to test the effectiveness of the scheme. The pilot awaits approval by the new national government and senate.
Information on the environmental impact of vehicles based on fuel type and vehicle weight could be accessed through the vehicle database of the Dutch Vehicle Registration Authority (RDW). The proposal for this methodology has been submitted but is still pending due to implications for privacy concerns. Technical barriers have been overcome with the renewal of 60 percent of the parking ticket machines that allow for tariff differentiation. The implementation plan is expected by mid-2011. Trainings to enforce the system and a communication campaign targeting citizens are foreseen. The evaluation of the environmental impact of the scheme will be based on periodic emission measurements at selected locations before and after implementation.
What are the expected results of the measure
Utrecht expects that the measure will result in a higher share of less polluting vehicles, which will in turn improve air quality and emission levels in the city.
Contact: Wilco van de Vosse