Back in March, the French government conducted a test and imposed for 24 hours traffic restrictions, with a study showing the measure aided in reducing hazardous emissions and lowered smog.
According to Airparif, which monitors air quality, on March 17, when the partial ban was imposed caused a “quantifiable and visible impact,” reducing overall pollution. Air quality especially improved in the areas that are closest to the usually traffic strained ring-road, called Boulevard Peripherique.
The report’s conclusion could spur further Paris traffic bans, as the pollution is sometimes severe because smog gets trapped by weather conditions. The March restriction was the first in 17 years and eased by the fact that the municipality allowed free public transport for the day and suburban parking charges were lifted.
The 18 hours restriction only allowed cars with license plates ending in odd numbers to enter Paris and 22 surrounding cities, with the measures swiftly criticized by commuters who were unable to use their cars, but Airparif’s report showed that for the period level of pollutants known as PM10s was down 15%, with a 20% drop in nitrogen dioxide emissions.
The report also spurs further debates between environmentalists and automakers, as France’s diesel fuel tax is lower than for gasoline, although diesel powered cars emissions produce more health hazardous fine particulates.