Aberdeen City Council is currently involved in the CARE North (Carbon Responsible Transport for the North Sea Region) Project and part of the European Interreg IVB Programme. This has enabled the Council to take advantage of European funding to investigate a number of carbon responsible transport projects for Aberdeen City.
Clean transport in the city
While the North Sea Region (NSR) deals with the effects of climate change, transport-related CO2 emissions continue to increase. We face an urgent need to develop and implement carbon reduction strategies and to secure an ongoing energy supply for transport. CARE North has developed and proposes to implement innovative carbon reduction strategies for urban and regional transport to maintain and improve accessibility in a more carbon responsible way, and to make the NSR a leader in carbon-efficient accessibility.
"A Low Emission Zone (LEZ) is a geographically defined area where the most polluting vehicles are restricted, deterred or discouraged from access and use"
Examples are found in Greenwich, Oxford, Bath and London. Other cities looking into LEZs include Sheffield, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Leeds.
Although schemes generated within the CARE North study would impact the whole City, the main focus is on the city centre as it forms the hub of all trips. Here, both hourly and daily concentrations of NO2 and PM10 are regularly exceeded, and transport and traffic are the main contributors. An Air Quality Management Area has been declared for the City Centre and Aberdeen City has produced an Air Quality Action Plan to address the air quality problems. In terms of the problem, freight and buses cause 80% of the air quality issues but only represent 20% of the traffic within the city centre. Whilst the larger vehicles are more polluting it is the other vehicles on the road that result in them polluting even more as they get caught up in traffic.
A Consultant is undertaking the work on a feasibility study for the LEZ and the Scoping Assessment is now complete and the Detailed Assessment is underway. The options being considered in detail are:
- A Bus LEZ covering the city centre AQMA or all routes within the City
- And an HGV LEZ covering Market Street and Virginia Street – ie routes to and from the harbour area
A range of complementary measures to support the LEZ with the aim of making the LEZ work more effectively, and more acceptable to those most affected include route signage, signage to discourage vehicle idling, management of loading and waiting restrictions and traffic management measures. ACC is also determining possible alternatives to full LEZ including reassessment of road hierarchy and traffic management measures.
We will also look to adopt a freight and bus friendly strategy for enabling movements as quickly and efficiently as possible, whilst allowing for upgrades to newer, cleaner technologies.
One project being looked into by ACC to complement the LEZ is to determine whether the installation of on-street bus ticket machines, where passengers can purchase a ticket before boarding a bus, could help speed up bus boarding times, thereby reducing the amount of time that buses spend idling (and therefore polluting) at bus stops. This study will also seek to identify where the best locations for such machines would be.
Other projects being looked at by ACC include:
- On-street bicycle rental - a study will be undertaken to identify the feasibility of such a scheme within Aberdeen. If implemented, this could help to reduce the number of short journeys undertaken by car to, from and within the City Centre
- Emissions based parking charges - a number of cities currently operate such a system, a study will be undertaken to determine whether this could apply in Aberdeen
- Purchasing of electric vehicles by the Council, with an associated increase in electric vehicle infrastructure throughout the City
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