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Cities urged to exempt commercial vehicles from access restrictions
Global | Geneva

Cities urged to exempt commercial vehicles from access restrictions

17 Jun 2021 · Environment

IRU is calling for commercial vehicles to be exempt from existing and proposed Urban Vehicle Access Regulation schemes (UVARs). More than 2,000 cities globally, with more than one billion residents, have already implemented or are considering access restrictions. 

IRU members, representing more than 3.5 million passenger and goods road transport operators worldwide, have adopted a new position on urban restrictions in response to increasing concerns about the scope and cost of new and existing schemes. 

“Liveability and sustainability for all cities depends on goods and people being able to move into, around and out of urban areas,” said Umberto de Pretto, IRU Secretary General.  “Urban vehicle restrictions are catching commercial vehicles in their nets, when their real aim is often car use. Cities need to exempt commercial vehicles from these rules,” he added.  

High costs, limited benefits

Limiting goods transport in cities impacts local business and residents in addition to the direct impact on commercial transport services. Restricting passenger transport penalises tourism, increases mobility poverty and limits efforts to reduce private car use to decarbonise mobility as a whole. Yet the high costs of restricting commercial vehicles from cities brings limited benefits in terms of reducing CO2 emissions, pollution, noise or congestion. 

“More than 90% of vehicles in urban areas are private vehicles, so restrictions should clearly distinguish between them and commercial vehicles to deliver the greatest cost-benefit solution,” added Umberto de Pretto. 

Ten-year notification period

Cities unquestionably face major challenges in managing congestion, pollution, CO2 emissions and social harmony while designing new urban spaces, mobility upgrades and economic functionality. Commercial road transport operators do work constructively with city planners, yet often new rules are implemented without adequate notice for road transport operators and their users to adapt, further harming local businesses and communities. 

IRU’s new position calls for a ten-year implementation period for any new urban vehicle access restrictions to give local mobility networks and supply chains time to adapt. 

International standards

Logistics and mobility operators run trucks, buses and coaches between cities. With a patchwork of different regulations developing rapidly, transport companies increasingly deal with a complex web of standards, even between cities in the same country. Operators cannot afford to invest in different technologies to meet different requirements set by cities, affecting transport costs and services. 

IRU also calls for globally harmonised standards to be developed, at a minimum on a regional basis, and will work with authorities and partners to begin this process.