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Working Towards a Successful Low Emissions Zone (LEZ) Deployment

Low Emission Zone LZE) Workshop - Dr. Laia Pagès

Working Towards a Successful Low Emissions Zone (LEZ) Deployment

The Low Emissions Zone (LEZ) Workshop, organized by CARNET in collaboration with EIT Urban Mobility, AMB, and MITMA, talked about how LEZ will be the tool to achieve sustainable mobility management and meet the 2030 agenda climate action goals focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The workshop was held in a hybrid format from the main auditorium of Torre Glòries, the headquarters of the EIT Urban Mobility in Barcelona, and was retransmitted online as well.

The implementation of LEZs will be mandatory in Spain by the Law of Climate Change and Energetic Transition for at least 149 cities of more than 50,000 inhabitants by December 2023. Barcelona and its Metropolitan Area public authorities’ have made a great effort moving towards a more sustainable mobility system by introducing one of the biggest LEZ in Europe. Indeed, AMB launched in 2020 the ZBE Rondes initiative (a LEZ within the peripheral roadway wing in Barcelona), the first Low Emission Zone in a major Spanish city. Technical employees from municipalities learned important lessons from deploying ZBE Rondes project. Scaling this model to other cities arises many challenges, some of them tackled during this workshop.

The workshop was opened by Daniel Serra (Director IH South at EIT Urban Mobility), Dr. Lluís Jofre Roca (Academic Director at CARNET), Joan Maria Bigas i Serrallonga (Mobility, Transport and sustainability director at AMB) Maria José Rallo del Olmo (General Secretary at the Spanish Ministry of Mobility, Transports and Urban Agenda), and Susana Gómez Garrido (Subdirector at National Traffic Authority).

During the “Digitalization of Mobility” session, firstly the important role of mobility data to attain greener cities was highlighted. Secondly, the public administration’s role in mobility digitalization was clarified and finally, the successful deployment of Low Emission Zones in the Metropolitan area of Barcelona, the biggest Low Emission Zone in Spain, was described.

The second session focused on the recovery plan for LEZ, where the strategic and operational lines of the plan were presented. This session outlined the opportunity of the recovery plan funds to deploy LEZ zones.

Afterward, a political panel of municipal mobility councils from several AMB cities was held, where several strategic actions regarding sustainable mobility were presented. The panel was followed by an open debate, where the urgent need for actions and associated recovery funds to deploy LEZ rapidly and efficiently was highlighted.

The next session was a panel discussion about “Where are we and where do we want the municipalities to go?”. During this panel discussion the main requirements to deploy efficiently a LEZ arose, these being:

  • Coordination between different public administration entities is crucial.
  • Cities need to invest in Citizen engagement initiatives to explain appropriately LEZ goals to their inhabitants, so that taken measures are well understood.
  • The role of mobility data is important to extract knowledge and take better decisions.
  • Deploying a LEZ in a city generates data. Now it is a perfect moment to set data collection systems.
  • There is a knowledge gap among technical employees at mobility departments in AMB cities and it needs to be closed.
  • The UPC is offering city workers a 3-session course in Autumn to close this knowledge gap and help these professionals to deploy LEZ in their municipalities.

The closing session described the role of the university in our society and stressed again the need for training for city technicians. The need for scaling LEZ deployments in Spanish cities was again underlined and, in that direction, the course that will be offered from the UPC to municipal authorities involved in the process proves to be a valuable resource to achieve the marked goals. The training will start on 5 October and during the 3 sessions, professionals will be able to learn from key stakeholders involved in the process of LEZ deployment.

For more information about the course, please email zbe2021@carnetbarcelona.com.

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