Freight traffic is one of the main causes of air pollution in city centres. Activities to reduce emissions from freight vehicles can thus be very effective to improve the overall air quality. In 2007, Utrecht introduced a low-emission zone in the city centre. Only freight vehicles with ‘cleaner’ engines can enter this zone. With cameras and license plate registration these restrictions are effectively enforced. This measure already resulted in a decrease in emissions. In cooperation with the transport businesses, Utrecht investigated additional possibilities to improve air quality in the city in the frame of the CIVITAS MIMOSA project and implemented the ‘flexible access for cleaner freight traffic’. This measure aimed at reducing PM10 and NOx emissions from road freight traffic and improving the accessibility of the city centre for cleaner means of transport. This reduction has been achieved through increased usage of more sustainable freight vehicles and more energy efficient freight distribution.
Utrecht provided incentives for particularly clean freight vehicles to:
• Reduce emissions from road freight traffic, especially PM10 and NOx emissions;
• Improve air quality; and
• Improve accessibility of the city centre for quiet freight transport that is cleaner than the minimum level required for entering the low-emission zone.