Assessing the impacts of Clean Transport Zones in Warsaw
Many Polish cities face severe air quality challenges. In 2022 the European Environment Agency released a list of the 20 most polluted cities in Europe and 12 of them were in Poland. This is why many cities are looking to introduce Low Emission Zones or as they call them in Poland Clean Transport Zones (Polish Strefy Czystego Transportu, SCT). Warsaw is working to introduce an ambitious Low Emission Zone (or SCT) in the city by 2024 but doing so in a way that does not disproportionately impact groups of individuals or businesses.
Ricardo has applied its world-leading expertise in air quality and economic modelling to support the City of Warsaw in achieving this ambition to introduce a Low Emission Zone, funded through the Clean Air Fund’s Breathe Warsaw programme. Our experts provided assessment of the impacts of different Low Emission Zone (LEZ) options so that the city authority, businesses and the public has clear evidence on the costs and benefits for adopting a preferred scheme.
Ricardo modelled the changes in pollutant concentrations which will result from the various LEZ options; assessed the health impacts resulting from these changes in emissions and concentrations; carried out a cost benefit analysis of the different LEZ options; and considered how these costs and benefits are distributed between different social groups and business sectors. The assessed options included application of an extended zone boundary and the potential impacts of scheme exemption for residents living in the zone. Ricardo worked with Akademia Górniczo-Hutnicza (AGH) University of Science and Technology in Krakow to support with local data collection and engagement with key stakeholders.
Our assessment showed the LEZ to be very effective at reducing exceedances of the European NO2 annual limit value, with the introduction of Euro 4 (for Petrol) and Euro 6 (for Diesel) removing all exceedances at monitoring locations within the zone itself.
For all the assessed LEZ options, the benefits were shown to outweigh the costs of introducing the LEZ. The largest benefits were shown to be a reduction in health impacts of air pollution and improvements in fuel efficiency of newer vehicles, with the largest costs being associated with vehicle upgrades.