TRUE data supports proposed New York City low-emission zones

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Newly proposed low-emission freight zones will target high-emitting trucks in communities most impacted by diesel pollution, as identified by TRUE data analyses.

New York City has released a new, long-term strategic climate plan that aims to combat several climate threats and address air quality issues to protect its most vulnerable citizens. The plan, ‘PlaNYC: Getting Sustainability Done’, was launched by Mayor Eric Adams and touches on three key elements: Climate threats, quality of life, and the green economy.

As part of this ambitious strategy, New York City plans to pilot the East Coast’s first low-emission freight zone in areas with the highest concentration of truck traffic and the worst public health outcomes. As outlined in the plan, the city will “study a range of pricing, regulatory, and incentive options, and pilot a program to benefit one or more environmental justice communities by 2027.”

Last year, the TRUE Initiative analyzed diesel truck emissions using New York City traffic activity data and 70,000 real-world emissions measurements to determine the impacts of truck traffic on public health. The study highlighted the disproportionate exposure to air pollution from diesel trucks, particularly in the Bronx and Queens areas, as a major environmental justice concern for the city. As a result of these findings, the TRUE Initiative suggested several policy levers to improve air quality in New York City, particularly in these targeted neighbourhoods. These policy recommendations included reducing the number of older, high-polluting diesel trucks on the roads, accelerating the shift to zero-emission vehicles, and adopting emissions-based access restrictions such as low- or zero-emission zones.

The TRUE Initiative findings and recommendations were cited within PlaNYC and it is evident the city looked to vehicle emission reduction policies in other global cities, like London, which has previously partnered with the TRUE Initiative to conduct emissions testing, to support their proposals.

“We are pleased to see the work of the TRUE Initiative directly influencing policy outcomes in cities across the world. These proposed low-emission zones will greatly improve public health and quality of life for the residents of New York City”, said Sheila Watson, Deputy Director of the FIA Foundation.

Read more about PlaNYC here.