Restricting Traffic into the City Centre: Has Madrid Central Been Effective to Reduce NO 2 Levels?
23 Pages Posted: 18 Dec 2019
Date Written: November 29, 2019
In this paper we assess the effectiveness of the introduction of Madrid Central (MC), a low-emission zone (LEZ), to improve the quality of air in the centre of Madrid. We take advantage of this natural experiment to identify the causal effect of the application of a LEZ on NO2 concentrations. Controlling for meteorological conditions and time effects, our results show that, associated to the implementation of MC LEZ, NO2 concentration set historical records well below the annual European Union established threshold of 40 μg/m3. This might have impacts on avoiding eventual sanctions from the EU Court of Justice. Furthermore, most of the monitoring stations outside Madrid LEZ also exhibit significant reductions in NO2 levels. These results suggest that there was a positive spillover effect and that pollution was not transferred from the city centre to other nearby areas. Instead, it seems that citizens in Madrid actually changed their transportation habits.
Keywords: low emissions zones effectiveness, air quality, NO2 emission, pollution control
JEL Classification: Q52, Q53
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation