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Cities call for improved regulation of foreign drivers in Urban Vehicle Access Regulations (UVAR)

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Members of the European Parliament’s Transport and Tourism Committee, POLIS, Eurocities, and 20 elected officials from cities throughout Europe have called for MEPs to enable the superior regulation of international drivers who use UVARs.

The biggest challenge facing our cities today may be achieving cleaner, more diverse industrial mobility, and some have set lofty goals. However, in order to put people and places earliest while achieving decarbonization and decongestion goals, big ambitions must be met with strong action to confront car-centric transport systems.

This is made possible in large part by UVARs ( Urban Vehicle Access Regulations ). Cities can use UVARs to build greener, safer, and more inclusive streets by using spatial interventions like Low Emissions Zones ( LEZs ), congestion charges, Limited Traffic Zone ( LTZS), and superblocks. As part of industrial management strategies to reallocate space and prioritize active travel and public transportation while minimizing access to polluting vehicles, cities across Europe are turning to UVARs more frequently.

Cities are radically changing themselves andnbsp into cleaner, more livable, and more accessible places, from Rome’s LTZ to Brussels ‘ Good Move Regional Mobility Plan, Leuvens ‘ Circulatieplan, Paris’, zone à faibles émissions mobilité, etc. Additionally, smaller cities are properly utilizing UVARs, such as the superblock development in  Vitoria Gasteiz, and Helmond’s Brainport Smart District, where geographically driven space reallocation to prioritize active travel and public transportation is changing mobility from the bottom upwards.

However, for some cities, the cross-border enforcement of UVARs—checking to see if a foreign vehicle complies with one and issuing warnings or fines to non-complianced international vehicles—is an enormous challenge. Provincial enforcement practices currently lack the tools necessary to accomplish this, with common great avoidance for traffic violations.

In Amsterdam alone, 35 % of trucks entering the city have unusual license plates on them that make it impossible to determine who owns them. The consequences of a city’s inability to control international vehicles are clear andnbsp in Milan, where, in 2020, 75 % of foreign drivers failed to pay their traffic fines, costing the city €6 million in lost revenue ( according to the local press ). This is undermining cities ‘ andnbsp’s intensifying efforts to reduce transport-related emissions while creating disparities in the treatment of local and foreign drivers.

” German citizens demand a good application of laws governing personal travel arrangements.” Western businesses demand a level playing field when it comes to enforcing environmental laws. According to Ivo Cre, Coordinator of POLIS’ Access Working Group, which often reviews topics related to UVARs, cities want access to the vehicle ownership data of those who break the rules of Urban Vehicle Access Regulations in order to have a more sensible system where local and non-resident drivers are treated equally. This is at stake in the revision of the cross-border enforcement directive.

The Cross-Border Enforcement Directive, which is meant to support the enforcement of traffic rules, including the fining of foreign drivers who violate local traffic laws, is currently being discussed by the Transport and Tourism Committee of the European Parliament. They have been keeping an eye on this issue for a while, with the 2017 report  recommending methods of enforcement for international vehicles, such as the creation of regional diplomatic agreements. The testing and demonstration of solutions in the LEZ region of the Barcelona Region, which hosts a sizable number of non-resident visitors, has shown the potential success of for harmonisation.

Although current policy initiatives have started to provide this, there is still much room for improvement. As the letter claims, more stringent European legislation is now essential for successful action. Urban vehicle access regulations should be included in the scope of the Cross-Border Enforcement Directive, which is now being discussed by the TRAN Committee, according to Signatories to the letter that include cities from all corners of Europe. The directive will allow Member States and their cities to gather professional vehicle information from vehicles entering a UVAR, if it is amended as the signatories request. This will give these states and the cities legal justification to process these vehicles in full accordance with the applicable data protection rules.

Verónica Castro-Allende

With a rich background in urban technology and IoT, Veronica brings a unique blend of expertise and innovation to our platform. Her work focuses on integrating advanced engineering solutions into smart city infrastructures, emphasizing sustainable and efficient urban development. Her insightful contributions shed light on the future of urban living, blending technical prowess with practical urban applications

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