The Belgian city of Ghent has reported a 12% reduction in rush-hour traffic, and a 25% increase in cyclists in the first year of its new traffic plan. The findings were reported on the second anniversary of the Ghent Circulation Plan coming into force, and coincided with T&E’s member organisations spending a day in the city before their annual general meeting in Brussels.
The European Parliament’s Internal Market Committee today backed safer ‘direct vision’ trucks and buses , amongst a dozen new life-saving measures for cars, vans, buses and trucks. The new direct vision standard will drastically reduce deadly blindspots, enabling truck and bus drivers to see more of the road around the vehicle, thus preventing accidents with cyclists and pedestrians. The European federation of green NGOs, Transport & Environment, welcomes the vote but stresses the urgency of wrapping up this law before European Parliamentary elections in May. Failing to reach a deal before this Parliament mandate would mean another 18 months wasted to save lives.
Fully electric buses only account for 9% of urban bus sales in Europe – despite being cost competitive with diesel buses when the costs of air pollution and noise are taken into account. That’s according to a new analysis of urban buses by T&E focusing on orders received by bus-makers and the total cost of ownership of different bus types.
Urban buses are the first transport mode where electrification is having a significant impact today. This trend is driven primarily by the rising awareness of toxic air pollution in our cities from internal combustion engines and supported by the compelling economic, comfort, and noise advantages. We expect urban buses to be the first transport mode to reach zero emission thanks to electrification.
Some 97% of Spain’s population is being exposed to harmful levels of air pollution, a report by T&E’s Spanish member Ecologistas en Acción shows. The economic recovery has brought an increase in the use of diesel for cars, airplane jet fuel, and coal to generate electricity. The main source of pollution in urban areas, where most of the population lives, is road traffic.
CO2 standards for new vehicles have been proven to work and new targets should be introduced for 2025 and 2030, a report for the European Parliament’s transport committee has said. The limited quantities of available biofuels are also highlighted, while the shift to electric vehicles is ‘inevitable’.
Train passengers and citizens living along rail-lines must continue to breathe toxic diesel fumes, the European Parliament decided today. Sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) criticised MEPs of the environment committee for failing to require diesel trains to fit exhaust treatment systems that are now required for cars and trucks, which would have cleaned up the emissions and protected health.
The European Commission is taking legal action against the UK over claims it is exceeding limits on air pollution from traffic. Britain has two months to respond to the case that it breached EU limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions, which cause breathing and other health problems.