Tag Archives: Cordon pricing

EU Rules on Environmental Quality, Cars and other things

EU Rules are running the show in a lot of ways.

1. EU is encouraging all bigger cities to encourage clean transportation and public transportation and thus many cities in Italy (including Torino as of 2009) now have a Bike Office in their city government. If a country does not follow EU’s rules, (for lack of a better word), then  the UE can fine the country; in fact for certain rules  if a country fails to fulfil its obligations, the UE can put a  judgement on  the country;   the following link contains examples of judgements on various topics such as endangered species, hazardous waste :

2.  Italian  cities’  bike share and car share programs are funded through their regione’s environment department. I  suspect but have not confirmed this is also due to an EU policy or rule to improve air quality and increase sustainable transportation modes.

3. I already posted about the rules on public transportation companies and competitive bidding  and will be updating that as I find out more at:


4.  As of September 2009, all new cars  in Europe, (not only “Made in Europe” ) must have a rating of  Euro 5 – the cleanest rating , i.e.  they must be methane, LPG or cleaner diesel, and cleaner gasoline-powered cars.  Euro5 cars have strict emission standards  for diesel and LPG; methane and gasoline, and stricter standards, Euro -6, kick in in 2014.  Social consciousness  of clean cars is already apparent: 30% of new cars sold in Italy in the last 6 months have been methane-powered.

The rules are here: http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/environment/air_pollution/l28186_en.htm

In short it says :  “Member States must refuse the approval, registration, sale and introduction of vehicles that do not comply with these emission limits. An additional delay of one year is allowed for goods transport vehicles and vehicles designed to fulfil specific social needs (category N1, classes II and III, and category N2). Time frame:

  • the Euro 5 standard will come into force on 1 September 2009 for the approval of vehicles, and from 1 January 2011 for the registration and sale of new types of cars;


Euro 5 standard

Emissions from diesel vehicles:

  • carbon monoxide: 500 mg/km;
  • particulates: 5 mg/km (80% reduction of emissions in comparison to the Euro 4 standard);
  • nitrogen oxides (NOx): 180 mg/km (20% reduction of emissions in comparison to the Euro 4 standard);
  • combined emissions of hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides: 230 mg/km.

Emissions from petrol vehicles or those running on natural gas or LPG:

  • carbon monoxide: 1 000 mg/km;
  • non-methane hydrocarbons: 68 mg/km;
  • total hydrocarbons: 100 mg/km;
  • nitrogen oxides (NOx): 60 mg/km (25% reduction of emissions in comparison to the Euro 4 standard);
  • particulates (solely for lean burn direct-injection petrol vehicles): 5 mg/km (introduction of a limit that did not exist for the Euro 4 standard).

These car ratings can affect other aspects of your life.  For example Torino uses them determine whether you can drive your car into the center city.  Torino has two levels of ZTL Traffic Limited Zones, sort of like congestion pricing but without the pricing: you cannot buy your way in.  From 8 am to 7 pm only cars. motorcycles and scooters rated 2, 3, 4, or 5 can drive into the city, the oldest and dirtiest rated 0 and 1 may not enter.  In the inner center city no one except residents can enter between 7 a.m  and 10:30 am.. Those are called, respectively the ZTL ZTL “>ZTL “>Ambiente and the ZTL normale. Beginning in 2010 they will combine these two zones into one  the bigger zone.

4.  Not really an EU issue,   but  FYI: all the autostrade in Italy are built privately under authorization from the state i.e. country and then the company charges tolls to recoup their costs. Thus there are no “freeways ” in Italy, (I didn’t know that and wouldn’t because I have never been on an autostrade, io prendo il treno.)  (There goes one argument for funding bikeways 🙂 but taxes still pay for all the other streets and to subsidize public transit.)  Typically, (at least it is true in Torino) on the ring (or tangential) road there is no toll,  in order  to encourage people to use them instead of driving through town.


About Torino’s Transportation

View of Torino from the Mole

View of Torino from the Mole

Torino has many interesting aspects to its transportation setting, although it must be stated upfront that it is sometimes known as the “Detroit of Italy”.  By this is meant that it is the motor capital of the country: the T in FIAT stands for Torino. Consequently, it is a little behind other cities when it comes to public transportation. Compared to the U.S., however, it has tons.

The mainstay of public transportation, run by GTT (Il Gruppo Torinese Trasporti) ,  are the 8 tram lines (100 km) and the 8o bus lines (1000 km). Trams have been carrying passengers since the horse-drawn trams of the 1870’s, electrification came in 1897. Various reorganizations and consolidations of competing companies occurred over the last 135 years, the last of which occurred in 2003, consolidating the urban, suburban, intercity and tourist-oriented transportation systems and the parking authority into the GTT.  There are now 190 million passengers per year in Torino and the province.

The metro (subway/ underground), while considered  for decades,  was not funded until the late 1990’s and  it opened February 5, 2006 just in time for the 2006 Winter Olympics. As of 2009, it is 9.6 km long and another 3.6 km  miles are under construction; the extension will open in 2011 and there will be a total of 21 stations.

Torino is, of course, served by many train lines, ( class=”hiddenSpellError” pre=””>stazione ferroviarie)  for intercity travel;  the most well known stations are: Porta Nuova, the main station, Porta Susa and Lingotto, which is near the Olympic Village.

There are also many pedestrian-only streets within the historic center also known as the Area Romana, the Quadrilatero Romana, or the Roman square mile.  Via Garibaldi extends from Piazza Castello to Piazza Statuto and according to the  information plaque, it is the longest pedestrian-only street in Europe, (it appears to be about 1 km). There are numerous other pedestrian-only streets in the centro storic0, the historic city center, that intersect or are parallel to Via Garibaldi.

Another feature of Torino, which was implemented much more recently compared to many other Italian cities, is the ZTL , the limited traffic zone (zona di traffico limitato).    Instituted in 1994, it restricts motor vehicle traffic from Monday to Friday.   There are two levels, the first level, ZTL Centrale  is primarily the historic city center, about   (1 square km/mi). In this zone,  only motor vehicles with permits can enter between 7:30 and 10:30 a.m.  i.e. residents, disabled people, emergency vehicles and of course buses (and taxis (?).  Since 2004 the zone has been electronically monitored with   camera monitors all entrances into the area.  The larger area, called ZTLFig _ZTLA & ZTLA, is closed from 7:30 am to 7:00 pm to the oldest and dirtiest vehicles, i.s. those that are rated by the EU as 0 or 1.  This is described a little more on the blog about EU rules.

ZTL rules are  described in detail on the city website but only in Italian.

In October 2009, the City decided that the two-zone system was confusing  and that beginning in January 2010 there would be  only  one zone, the  larger zone, and both rules will apply to the large zone.

The 2 ZTL zones

Bicycle planning is also a relatively recent effort.  According to the city’s bicycle map, planning efforts were ramped up in 2002, and the route-miles increased from 81 km to 106 km between 2001 and 2006, and a total of 208 km are planned. The number of daily or almost-daily year-round cyclists is estimated to be 8 % of the population, and another 7% ride in good weather seasons and 18 % ride only for sport or recreation.

More on the bicycle setting of Torino in another post.

Quote from the City website: Did you know that in Torino, every day, there are 2.6 million trips: half by car, one-quarter by public transit and the rest by walking or biking. This is why an efficient and fast mode like the metro is so important for reducing  private traffic.

Sapete che a Torino, ogni  class=”hiddenSpellError” pre=”ogni “>giorno, ci sono 2.600.000 spostamenti: metà con l’automobile, un quarto con i mezzi pubblici ed il resto a piedi o in bicicletta. Ecco perché un mezzo efficace e veloce come la metropolitana è così importante per ridurre il traffico privato.