An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Last Friday, Madrid’s tough new vehicle emissions controls went into effect, resulting in a drop in traffic by nearly 32 percent in some parts of the city, reports El Pais. The new rules impose strict restrictions on which vehicles can enter an area of just under two square miles in the city’s downtown. The plan, known as Madrid Central, is an attempt to lower the city’s nitrogen dioxide levels, which have exceeded European limits since 2010 and are thought to cause around 3,000 premature deaths per year, according to one study.
The exact drop in traffic varied between different areas in the zone. One area, San Bernardo, saw a modest reduction of just over 5 percent, while Gran Via saw the highest reduction of 31.8 percent. Although Reuters reports that traffic continues to be heavy around the perimeter of the zone, El Pais claims that even there, traffic levels were down by between 1 and 2 percent. The lack of congestion also had benefits for public transport, with bus speeds on one highway increasing by 14 percent. “Petrol and diesel cars registered before 2000 and 2006, respectively, will be restricted, while hybrid vehicles will be allowed to enter the area and park for a maximum of two hours,” reports The Verge. “However, residents living in the controlled areas will not be affected by the ban. Petrol and diesel taxis will continued to be allowed in the area until 2022. Electric cars, which produce no emissions, driven by non-residents will also be allowed to freely enter the area.”
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