Public support for urban car bans

Measures that limit the movement of cars in urban areas actually attract public support – if they are understood.

That was one of the messages from a panel discussion in May involving experts assembled by T&E’s German member VCD as part of its ‘clean air’ project. The discussion was particularly concerned with whether politicians running cities that ban cars in areas with high pollution are likely to be punished by voters.
Research carried out after a low-emissions zone was introduced in Leipzig found that there was widespread public support for a temporary ban on cars once the purpose of the zone was understood. ‘People find the measure justified,’ said Wolfram Birmili from the Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research, who has monitored the effectiveness of emissions reduction efforts in Leipzig over several years. ‘They want low-emissions zones because there is a widespread belief that having clean air to breathe is a basic human need.’
A result of the panel discussion is a paper, Low Emission Zones, on quick ways for local councils and municipalities to enact policies to reduce air pollution. The paper is available in German, English, Polish and Czech.
The VCD is keen to assemble evidence to counter what it sees as a hysterical reaction in Germany whenever anyone suggests restricting car use in any way.