Did the Madrid Central low-emission zone reduce air pollution?
Alessandro Silvestri and Sébastien Foudi, Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3); Ibon Galarraga, BC3 and Economics for Energy
Project selected in the Social Research Call 2019 (LCF/PR/SR19/52540012)
In December 2018, Madrid implemented Madrid Central, a low-emission zone, with the intention of curbing nitrogen dioxide concentrations, which exceeded EU limits. The policy brought a substantial reduction in nitrogen dioxide concentrations during the first seven months after implementation. However, this impact did not extend much to the areas surrounding the low-emission zone. Furthermore, compliance dropped and emissions increased starting in July 2019, when it became unclear whether the policy would continue to be enforced.
1Nitrogen dioxide concentrations were reduced by 27% over the period between January and June 2019, following the implementation of the Madrid Central low-emission zone.
2Nitrogen dioxide concentrations decreased very little in the areas adjacent to the low-emission zone.
3From July 2019, the low-emission zone policy showed no impact when compared with a baseline scenario in which no policy was in place.
4The end of the effectiveness of Madrid Central coincided with a sharp increase in traffic citations for policy violations.
5Lack of credibility around the enforcement of the policy may explain why Madrid Central ceased to be effective.