Dr. André de Palma, a distinguished Professor at CY Cergy Paris Université, THEMA, recently presented a seminar at ISET on the “Impact of low emission zones on spatial and economic inequalities using a dynamic transport simulator.” His presentation addressed the critical issue of air pollution – estimated to have caused 311,000 premature deaths in the EU in 2023, with associated costs reaching €224 billion or 1.4% of GDP. Because nitrogen oxides and particulate matter are emitted by road vehicles, low emission zones (LEZs) have thus been implemented in numerous European cities to mitigate air pollution.
Dr. de Palma discussed the controversial nature of LEZs, presenting arguments both in favor of and against their implementation. He thereafter introduced research aimed at understanding the impact of the Métropole du Grand Paris LEZ on social welfare, which identifies winners and losers based on population residency, work location, and considering their income. The presentation concluded with a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis, emphasizing the overall positive impact of low-emission zones on air quality, one which surpasses the costs for the owners of prohibited vehicles. The discussion also extended to examining the spatial and economic inequalities arising from the implementation of LEZs and provided insights into both the positive and negative consequences for various regions and socioeconomic groups.