Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA) has made good achievements in terms of combating air pollution. Vehicle exhaust fumes are a major source of air pollution especially in Greater Cairo (GC) where traffic density is high. This paper examines transport mode choices and the different trials to evaluate the impact of traffic regulation on reducing air pollution.
The authors examine how the EEAA is working on a number of projects to control air pollution resulting from vehicle exhausts such as:
banning leaded gasoline
projects to replace old taxis
promoting natural gas as an alternative to petrol
garage relocation projects
protection programs from motorbike exhausts
newly implemented traffic legislation
The authors highlight that traffic congestion affects personal travel time, vehicle operating costs, air quality, public health, and business environment operations. They indicate that without investments in urban transport, the annual emissions are highly increasing resulting in an estimated total economic cost 1.5 billion dollars per year. They also highlight the theoretical advantages and drawbacks of environmental policies dedicated to controlling atmospheric pollution proposed in the Egyptian context. World Bank is assisting the government in developing a rapid urban transport policy for the region.
The authors recommend exploring alternative measures that could be tested to measure the environmental performance and cost-effectiveness. One option is to consider pricing congestion that can cause population to spread from larger to smaller cities reducing total congestion. Such pricing can be implemented by introducing a congestion charge, a fuel tax or a reduction in the subsidy in fuel expenditures. In this case, more funds can be devoted to subsidies for cleaner car vehicles and enhancing public transportation network. The government should also conduct a general welfare assessment exercise in order to compare pollution level before and after the regulation. The assessment should be accounting for the number of registered motor vehicles, seasonality in emissions and peak hours.