Following plans to ban transport trucks in major cites like Tel Aviv during early morning rush hours, and after the opening of the special toll-run “fast lane” into the country’s largest and most populated city, Israel’s Transport Ministry is now considering an outright ban on polluting cars and trucks from major city centers. This idea is part of measures to implement the previously passed Clean Air Act which although legislated back in 2008, was only finally passed at the beginning of this year.
Perhaps the best way to get around?
The proposed car and truck ban, as reported in the environmental news section of Haaretz would bar polluting vehicles from city centers, and include financial incentives for taxis to use hybrid vehicles as well as restrictions on idling vehicles.
Finding ways to reduce vehicle emissions in heavily traveled cities is one of the Ministry’s plans, which might include a plan to “synchronize” traffic lights to reduce vehicle idle times, considered to be one of the main causes of vehicular pollution in major cities.
In addition, plans to use hybrid and electric buses and give tax reduction incentives on electric cars would also help reduce air pollution.
The government wants to give new powers to promoting reduction of air pollution by implementing a number of measures which would include reducing speed limits, posting of special warning signs, and encouraging companies to have their employees use public transport inside cities instead of private cars.
Special “no drive” zones are also being considered, and might be patterned after European cites like Amsterdam and Berlin, which already have instituted these measures.
Encouraging the use of electric cars and buses will take a while to become reality, however, as the infrastructure for them is still being worked on by the Better Place electric car company who plans to begin selling electric cars in Israel later this year.
While reduction of purchase taxes may help to encourage people to buy these cars, a lot of “ground work” to educate the general public toward owning these cars is still not being done on a mass scale, however.
In the meantime, the best measures to be taken are ones like finding ways to monitor exhaust emissions and impose the driving ban during heavy rush hours, as well as encouraging more people to use public transportation.
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