There is growing concern about the health and environmental impact of road transport on air quality. EU Air Quality Directives (in particular Directive 2008/50/EC on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe) require since 2005 limits for particulate matter (PM10) as these limits are s still being exceeded in a large number of cities. Directive 2008/50/EC foresees limits for smaller particulates and in 2010, limits for nitrogen-dioxide (NO2) also became binding. As a result, cities are urgently seeking more effective and efficient means of reducing air pollution. Transport is one of the most complicated and politically sensitive sectors for achieving these reductions, and yet is particularly important to those cities suffering from high particulate and NOx pollution. Although information on the impacts of many single new ‘clean’ technologies is available, the real-life results in combination with sustainable urban transport programmes can be quite different.
The 'PARFUM' project sought to bridge the gap between research and development (R&D) results and widespread implementation/market introduction concerning integrated technological/policy solutions for the reduction of air pollution from transport, notably particles and nitrogen oxide (NOx). The project aimed to implement and evaluate a combination of innovative technologies for clean vehicles for city logistics and public transport, integrated with policy and planning approaches. It was tested and evaluated under real-life conditions in two urban areas: Bremen in Germany and Padua in Italy. These results were also compared with data from other cities’ air pollution mitigation programmes. The Netherlands region of Rotterdam would provide input relating to the monitoring principles of a large harbour city with its various transport related emission sources, while other cities with related programmes would be involved through periodic workshops.
The general project objectives were met and the results provide a basis for the demonstration of different modelling systems of urban air quality, which were developed by the partner in Rotterdam. Modelling and monitoring showed the contribution of heavy duty vehicles (HDV) to the high levels of concentration of pollution in the main arteries of the city. Although HDV only represent about 10% of the vehicles, their contribution is often about 50 % of the NOx levels. The PARFUM project clearly demonstrated the necessity and potential of tackling emissions from heavy duty vehicles. The challenge is in implementing on large scale what was developed and implemented within the PARFUM project as pilot measures on small scale. Electric public transport can eliminate local emissions from previous high polluting diesel-buses – especially on frequently operated lines. The city of Bremen proved how a low-emission bus fleet (EEV buses) brought down the local pollution level. But, these light trucks with such ambitious emission standards are not widely available as heavy duty vehicles are. In the future, if city authorities will start making use of air emission data and the modelling system for better traffic planning, it will result in long term economic and social benefits by improving public transport and decreasing traffic congestion in the city.