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How does it work?
The environmentally-oriented traffic control system tracks levels of air pollution. If the concentrations of nitrogen dioxide exceed a specified value, then the traffic lights at heavily polluted places are adjusted so that the traffic flows again. At the same time, the vehicles coming into the city can be diverted so that there is less traffic in residential areas.
The air pollution levels in Potsdam are regularly measured and monitored. In many places it has been found that the air quality has improved. However, there are still problem areas such as Behlertstrasse, Grossbeeren Strasse or Zeppelinstrasse where levels of particulates and nitrogen dioxide are often too high.
The goal of the environmentally-oriented traffic managements is to reduce air pollution levels, but road traffic can cause high local pollutions when there are rush-hour tailbacks, or when engines are idling in a traffic jam. In order to keep the air clean, traffic flows must be regulated.
In cooperation with the European Union, Potsdam has been able to establish the technical requirements for the environmentally-oriented traffic management. The existing traffic control centre was expanded, and some 50 measuring stations were upgraded. The management centre now not only measures the traffic density, but also receives meteorological data and measurements of air pollution levels. The control of 30 traffic lights was augmented so that it is now possible to react to traffic problems or critical environmental situations.
Potsdam is legally obliged to lower air pollution levels. The clean air plan for the city, together with a package of measures implemented by the city council, has created the basis for the environmentally-oriented traffic management. Other options were also considered, such as the introduction of lower speed limits throughout the inner city or the introduction of an environmental zone with restricted access. It was decided that environmentally-oriented traffic management would ensure healthy and clean air without restricting the mobility of Potsdam residents.
The datasets for the environmentally-oriented traffic management are permanently monitored and the set-up is adjusted wherever necessary.