People, Environment

Absence of Central System Delaying New Traffic Plan

Absence of Central System Delaying New Traffic PlanAbsence of Central System Delaying New Traffic Plan

The implementation of the Low Emission Zone Plan in Iran, which was ratified in August 2015 by the High Council for Coordination of Urban Traffic, is still hostage to the launch of a centralized system for vehicle technical inspection.

The LEZ scheme was supposed to be launched in January but was suspended due to a lack of a single and central system for the technical inspection of cars, which has not yet been addressed for unknown reasons, ISNA reported.

The LEZ system means that vehicles with higher emissions cannot enter the zones. In some low emission areas, the more polluting vehicles have to pay more if they want to enter the low emission zone.

In the LEZ system, cars are categorized under four colors: blue, green, yellow and red, according to the vehicle emission standards. The revised plan in Iran however has removed the color blue, leaving red (for cars lacking technical inspection stickers), yellow (for those with emission standards below Euro V that include most vehicles in the country), and green (for hybrid or electronic cars with an emission standard above Euro V).

Initially, the plan had a major problem. Because the scheme was only meant for Tehran, only cars driven by the residents of the capital would have a sticker. In other words, cars driven by those living outside of Tehran would be without a sticker, making it difficult for the traffic police to enforce the law.

 No Way to Tell

“Because those cars have no stickers and we in Tehran don’t have access to the database of vehicles in other cities, there is no way to tell whether those cars meet the criteria to enter Low Emission Zones,” said Vahid Hosseini, director of Tehran Air Quality Control Company.

To address the problem, the creation of a central system for vehicular technical inspection was suggested, which would ensure every car across the country is subjected to the same stringent tests and receives an appropriately-colored sticker.

According to Hosseini, the Interior Ministry has developed the infrastructure for the centralized system for technical tests, “but it is unclear why it has not come into effect.”

Exhaust fumes from five million cars account for 80% of the capital’s pollution that every year during the start of winter shuts down schools, locks up million in homes and fills hospitals with young and old suffering from breathing problems and other respiratory ailments. In some extreme cases people have died due to the air pollution.

The LEZ is widely expected to have a major impact and help reduce exhaust emissions since only vehicles that conform to high emission standards will be allowed to enter the special zones.