A million cars in Prague. Traffic is collapsing mainly because of them, not because of the Pirates in the municipality – HlídacíPes.org
Traffic in Prague has become one of the national pre-election topics, with both President Zeman and Prime Minister Babiš digging into pirate Mayor Zdeněk Hřib. And while the current traffic closures in the metropolis are definitely not helping, the main problem is elsewhere. There are only one million cars in Prague and more people come to work every day.
Urban mobility is the source of 40% of all CO emissions in Europe2 from road transport and up to 70% of other pollutants from transport in general. It also has implications for the lives of the inhabitants of Prague, which is literally flooded with cars.
“Since 2000, the share of passenger cars in total transport performance has been over 90% and this number has been steadily rising since the 1960s,” said Bedřich Rathouský from the Department of Logistics at the University of Economics.
New study of the magazine Atmosphere based on measurements in Prague warns that the amount of emissions in metropolises exceeds the limits recommended by the World Health Organization and the European Union.
The measurements took place at various locations in Prague. Among the most problematic places are the surroundings of the Blanka tunnel or the busy V Holešovičkách street, Miroslav Šuta, a doctor and expert from the Center for the Environment and Health, told Czech Radio Plus.
According to her, cities should strive to improve the situation mainly for the health of their inhabitants. “For example, analyzes from Spain or Scandinavia show that even lower concentrations can affect the development of the nervous system in children on the one hand and on the other hand can also contribute to the development of so-called neuro-degenerative diseases in the elderly,” warns the expert.
A million cars in Prague
Experts point out that too many cars drive around Prague. This is reflected not only in the air, but also in the flow of traffic.
“Traffic congestion (columns) – they simply arise in large cities, no matter how well the city is handled, how well it supports public transport, how much disciplined drivers are… about the effects of the weather and the associated maintenance of roads rather not to mention, ”summarizes Bedřich Rathouský from the Department of Logistics at the University of Economics for Euractiv.cz.
According to him, there are a number of factors that cause traffic convoys. The unfinished motorway ring around Prague or the closure also contributes to them. “But the number one factor was and is the enormous number of passenger cars,” emphasizes the logistics expert.
“Almost one million passenger cars are registered in the territory of Prague alone – and, of course, motorists outside Prague also drive to Prague. Since 2000, the share of passenger cars in total transport performance has been over 90%, and this number has been steadily rising since the 1960s, ”Rathouský said.
In the cities, in addition to the cars, the accumulation of trucks. However, their “contribution” to air pollution in the city is minimal. “According to the European Environment Agency, 73% of road transport emissions are caused by passenger cars, so if any drastic action is needed, it is primarily against passenger cars,” he must.
Low-emission zones located in the territory or in city centers are generally not affected by lorries due to facts that limit compliance already. “The Euro IV emission standard, as well as Euro V, is already passé. The EuroVI standard has been in force since 2014, and vehicles with this emission specification normally have freight transport, ”adds Rathouský.
When by car, then on electricity
The recommendation to tighten the European emissions directive is also confirmed by a study published in the journal The Lancet Planetary Health. It states that if the current levels of air pollution in cities were reduced to the level recommended by the WHO, it could reach up to 50,000 deaths across European cities.
Air pollution in cities could reduce the minimum of electric cars, as it shows studies Josef Morkus and Jan Mack from CTU. “Battery electric cars should be used especially in urban traffic, where their advantages – zero emissions while driving, quiet operation and good driving dynamics outweigh the negatives,” the authors write.
According to them, electric cars are suitable both for passenger transport and for the delivery of goods around the city or the provision of service and municipal services.
“The daily course of a city car is usually in the tens of usual, so a range of about 150 km on a single charge would suffice, which can be covered by a small battery with price, light weight and low emissions from its production, easily rechargeable overnight. The question is whether he will want them as friends, “he admits the message.
In the Czech Republic, the popularity of electric cars is gradually growing, and the capital is therefore trying to motivate residents by purchasing chargers available directly from public lighting poles. In addition, it is this innovative infrastructure that will be supported in the coming years from the new Modernization Fund, which is financed from the sale of emission allowances.
“Chargers for passenger cars on poles called ‘EV ready’ are already working, for example, in Vinohrady. However, their power is not great (22 kW) – the passenger electric car will be fully charged in a few hours, “Bedřich Rathouský in advance.
Speed limit? Not in Prague yet
The reduction of car traffic in the city is also related to the reduction of the maximum permitted speed to 30 km / h, which was introduced by Paris at the end of August. The original maximums of 50 and 70 km / h remain only on the main arteries of the city. Ordinance supported 59% of Parisians, however, became their emotional discussion at the same time. And not just in France.
“The decision of Mayor Anna Hidalgo makes sense. Thanks to this, we can increase the capacity of Paris, because cars will run more smoothly and also may not have such large views in front of intersections, “he commented on the Paris speed reduction for Aktuálně.cz Prague Councilor Adam Scheinherr (Prague himself). However, the introduction of a similar restriction for Prague is not stolen, according to him. Due to the fact that speed limits are determined by Prague city districts separately. The municipality thus has no possibility to order area restrictions.
For example, the Deputy Mayor of Liberec, Jiří Šolc (Mayors for Liberec), has a different view of speeding in cities, who consider such measures to be difficult to prove – a number of similar measures, such as thresholds or bottlenecks, would be needed.
However, Paris is far from another city introduced by a similar regulation. In addition to about two hundred other French cities, take a similar step decided in October last year in the Netherlands, which adopted speed limits in built-up areas from 50 to 30 km / h in order to reduce accidents, especially in those areas where children often move.