People, Environment

Data Access Delaying LEZ Plan

Data Access Delaying LEZ PlanData Access Delaying LEZ Plan

The latest hurdle holding up the implementation of Low Emission Zone Plan is the debate over how much access the centralized system for vehicle technical inspection should have to people’s personal information.

The centralized system, which is generally referred to by its Persian acronym SIMFA, is said to be the final obstacle in the way of launching the anticipated LEZ plan, but discussions behind closed doors over what type of information can be accessed through the system has delayed its implementation.

“The system is ready and can access all relevant databases at the Ministry of Interior, but we still have not reached a consensus about what level of access to grant SIMFA,” Saeed Motessadi, a deputy at the Department of Environment, told ISNA.

SIMFA is supposed to be able to access the traffic police database (at the ministry), but due to the importance of data security and protecting people’s personal information from falling into the wrong hands, special attention is being given to the topic, he said.

Without disclosing details, Motessadi said the DOE has made a breakthrough in discussions with the president’s office and the ministry. “We’ll have some good news soon.”

The LEZ scheme, which was ratified in August 2015 by the High Council for Coordination of Urban Traffic, 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.

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.

  Need for SIMFA

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 Tehran would be without a sticker, making it difficult for the traffic police to enforce the law.

Because those cars have no stickers and officials in Tehran don’t have access to the database of vehicles in other cities, there is no way to tell whether cars from out of Tehran meet the criteria to enter Low Emission Zones.

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