Policies for Tackling the Impact of Urban Transport on Air Pollution and the Environment: Evidence from Italy

Policies for Tackling the Impact of Urban Transport on Air Pollution and the Environment: Evidence from Italy


M Percoco, Bocconi University, IT


The paper reviews urban transport policies in Italian cities and their impact on the concentration of NO2 and PM10. Using parametric and non-parametric techniques, it finds no significant effect of the policy actions currently implemented.


The quality of urban environment, and in particular the concentration of air pollution, is becoming a source of major concern for European policy makers. This paper has considered the case of Italian cities, where levels of PM10 and NO2 are increasingly problematic.
In regard to the determinants of pollutants concentration, the paper has attempted to evaluate, at least in terms of short run impacts, the effect of existing policy measures. Both parametric and non-parametric analyses, as well as a discussion of case studies, have shown that the measures adopted are largely ineffective in reducing pollution. However, the paper has also found a weak, though promising, effect of plans adoption, which suggests that effective value added derives from coordinated policy actions.
My analysis has pointed out the ineffectiveness of non-economic instruments of local transport policy, and it claims that, in light of the experiences of other countries (such as the UK), substantial gains can be yielded by introducing measures which provide economic incentives to use public transport, as well as by efficient parking and road pricing.
In recent years, a number of large cities, such as Bologna, Milan and Rome, have started to discuss or experiment with road pricing schemes. Local authorities are currently debating the desirability of such a policy, and they face the very well known problem of a lack of public support. The common and surprising feature shared by these cities is the fact that decisions or opinions on road pricing are not shaped by careful reviews of other cities? experiences or by the estimated outcomes of integrated models, but only by political convenience. As a consequence, although some cities have adopted second-best instruments on the transport policy agenda, their implementation is highly problematic, and is not driven by any welfare analysis.
A final word on social capital. My econometric analysis found that the higher the ?civicness?, the lower the concentration of pollutants in the atmosphere. From a policy perspective, this result should be interpreted as evidence for the crucial role of actions intended to increase public concern over environmental quality, and to reduce, through better information and education, free riding.


Association for European Transport