Tag Archives: EU

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 :
http://curia.europa.eu/jurisp/cgi-bin/form.pl?lang=en&Submit=Rechercher&docrequire=alldocs&numaff=&datefs=&datefe=&nomusuel=&domaine=ENVC&mots=&resmax=100

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:

http://wp.me/pzsSt-1I

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.

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More about SSB

SSB = Stuttgarter Strassenbahnen AG

Other interesting factoids:

  1. Bikes are allowed, free of charge except mon-friday from 6 am to 8:30 and 4:00 to 6:30 p.m. (The S-Bahn has a similar policy but it charges a fee.
  • 2. SSB now prefers grassy or “lawn” around their tracks instead of hardscape because:
    • more pleasing to the eye
    • better for climate in the city
    • better for global warming
    • better for absorbing and storing moisture
    • easier to maintain
    • okay so not so gorgeous in october, but I am assured that in spring and summer, the green trackways are quite beautiful and much appreciated by the citizens .

    DSCF2354

  • 3.  50 % of light rail riders own a car, thus have choice
  • 4.   40 % of operating costs are covered by fares
  • Public Transport – Public?

    So the EU is bringing a lot of change to Europe besides the Euro,  even to Public Transportation; in fact is has already begun. Don’t quote me, but as I understand it, all and I mean ALL public transit operations contracts are to be competitively bid in the future. Even at the national level, there will no longer be national railway companies, at least not for long. The Italian law consenting to the EU “decree” was passed in 2001. It will take awhile to implement, obviously, but the first step is breaking out the many functions of these agencies. The former Italian national railway is now four different companies. Pretty soon the process will be to contract work out, essentially using RFPs and bids.

    In Torino, I have just found out,  the reason GTT was formed was to separate the planning  functions, which will remain with public agencies or consortiums thereof,  from the operations. The planning function is now performed by AMM, a new consortium of public agencies in Piemonte. GTT operates the buses trams, interurban and local trains. The employees  at the former transit agency now either work for the operator GTT or the planning agency AMM.  Right now GTT is publicly owned .i.e owned by the city of Torino, but I don’t know how long that will last).  I am still not sure who owns the rolling stock: the city or  GTT (who is owned by the City).

    I was so pleased with the integrated fare structures of all the many types of transit, and the many types of passes.  Maybe there are EU laws or national laws  (or regional laws) that will ensure that this remains the case in the future.  I was assured that public subsidy of public transit was still going to be required in the future. So that is not the issue. It is due to the EU vision of equal access to all markets.

    I wonder if that will or does apply to public utilities, like water, sewage treatment, electricity, garbage collection and other necessary public services?

    In sum, the concept of “privatizing public transit” is taking me by surprise. But maybe there is a big difference between “privatizing” it and making it subject to competitive bidding.

    I will also find out what is happening in Stuttgart and Germany. Will tell you more when I know more.