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Low emission zone Frankfurt: snail's pace for cleaner air

The city is introducing a 40 speed limit on major roads to reduce nitrogen oxide levels and avoid driving bans.

From January next year, the city of Frankfurt will introduce speed reductions on some of the main roads in the city centre. In recent years, excessive nitrogen oxide levels have increasingly been measured on these roads. Drivers in these areas are therefore now being slowed down.  

The organisation Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) criticises the measures as insufficient. A decision for 40 instead of 30 km/h is not understandable, as this would hardly result in any emission reductions. At 30 km/h, driving is much slower and quieter, so that residents suffer less in terms of air and noise pollution.  

With these measures, the city on the Main is trying to avoid undesirable driving bans, for example for old diesel vehicles. But with such half-hearted plans, one can expect hardly any improvement in sight. Moreover, even after the speed reductions, no less than 62 sections with limit value violations will remain unchanged. So unless the measures have a significant positive effect, either 30 speed zones will have to be introduced in the long term or driving bans will be introduced. DUH is calling for a comprehensive 30 km/h speed limit zone for the city centre. If traffic lights were optimised at the same time, this could actually lead to a reduction in nitrogen oxide and hardly cost citizens any more time. An improvement in public transport would also relieve the roads, as many citizens would change trains voluntarily. The half-hearted speed-40 measures cost money that would be much better invested elsewhere.  

Again and again, cities use creative methods to avoid driving bans. They buy themselves time and try to avoid lawsuits, but most of the time this leads to a waste of money and chaos of rules for the citizens concerned. You can find out what effect the measures have in Frankfurt and whether diesel driving bans will be introduced at some point here and in our Green-Zones App.