Better air for the Capital - what is being done?
The central task of the air quality plan is to assess and to develop measures to reduce the air pollution in order to meet the air quality limit values as quickly as possible everywhere in Berlin.
The action planning has been focusing on reducing nitrogen dioxide pollution, because the limit value for the annual average could not be safely met in 2020 in 117 polluted street sections (around 15 kilometers). Hence, we clearly need to consider further measures.
As our source analysis has shown, around three quarters of the nitrogen dioxide pollution stems from motorized road traffic, i.e. from the combustion engines in cars and trucks. The reduction of pollutant emissions from road traffic has therefore been a priority of the air quality plan.
The planning of measures was carried out in an integrated way taking into account existing thematic plans. This was true especially for road transport, based on Berlin’s new Mobility Act and the emerging planning processes, resulting in an update of the urban development plan for mobility and traffic and the local public transport plan. The urban development plans for centers, for trade and industry and for climate, the Berlin energy and climate protection program and the noise action plan were taken into account as well.
The measures of the second update of the air quality plan can be divided into three groups:
- 1. City-wide measures
- 2. Local measures for particularly trafficked roads Map: 30 km/h speed limits to mitigate the air pollution
- 3. Local intervention in hot spots street sections, in particular Transit restrictions for certain Diesel vehicles
The following schematic illustrates the cascade of measures in the new Air Quality Plan
1. City-wide measures
A large number of measures aimed to reduce pollutant emissions across the city.
First and foremost, this requires clean vehicles:
- By retrofitting and modernizing the fleet of buses and municipal vehicles, Berlin is playing a model role in reducing emissions of its own municipal vehicle stock.
- However, commercial transport will also be supported in its conversation to clean vehicles by prolonging the existing funding scheme for electric vehicles.
- Furthermore, the retrofitting of commercial vehicles with after-treatment systems to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions is promoted, referring to available filter systems approved by the Federal Road Transport Authority.
However, clean vehicles alone are not enough, not least because fleet renewal takes time. Less motorized traffic is also improving the air quality.
- The planned expansion of parking space management will not only reduce the traffic in search for a scarce parking space, it will also provide an additional incentive for people to switch from cars to local public transport, cycling or walking. Less car traffic means fewer emissions, so that a reduction in NO2 pollution can be achieved in the entire city centre.
- At the same time, the promotion of public transport, cycling and walking is being pushed. In this particular way the air quality plan supports the goals of Berlin’s sustainable transport and climate protection policies.
The studies on the effect of the city-wide measures to promote clean and sustainable transport modes have shown that the air quality limit value can be met in around a third of the critical non-compliant roads.
In addition, the air quality plan includes measures in the areas of mobility management and logistics, passenger shipping, non-road mobile and stationary machines, heat supply as well as spatial and urban planning.
2. Local measures for particularly trafficked roads
The city-wide measures are insufficient for some roads with busy traffic load. Here, the annual limit value for NO2 can only be met with additional local measures. These are essentially:
For 33 road sections with a total length of 20.6 kilometers, 30 km/h speed limits were enforced aiming to smooth traffic flows and to avoid acceleration resulting in higher pollutant emissions. Experience in Berlin, for example with yearlong speed limits on Schildhornstrasse and Beusselstrasse has shown that NO2 reductions of up to 5 µg/m3 can be achieved because cars need to accelerate much less as they drive slower.
The following map shows the location of the main road sections with 30 km/h limit due to bad air quality:
End of map.
List of all 30 km/h routes
Route with 30 km/h between
Robert-Lück-Straße to Neue Filandastraße
Behmstraße to Exerzierstraße
Breite Strasse / Schönholzer Strasse
Grabbeallee to Mühlenstraße
Schönhauser Allee to Schliemannstraße
Ebersstrasse to Hauptstrasse
Kleistpark – Innsbrucker Platz
Wilhelmstrasse to Friedrich-Ebert-Platz
Treptower Park to Karl-Kunger-Straße
Karl-Marx-Straße to Sonnenallee
Mariendorfer Weg to Silbersteinstrasse (next to passage ban from Silbersteinstrasse to Emser Strasse, including 30 km/h speed limit)
Alexanderufer to Scharnhorststrasse
Hardenbergplatz to Kurfürstendamm
Kantstrasse to Otto-Suhr-Allee
Amtsgerichtsplatz to Savignyplatz
Brunsbüttler Damm to Pichelsdorfer Straße
Markgrafenstrasse to Potsdamer Platz
Bernkastlerstrasse to Kaiser-Wilhelm Strasse
Genter Strasse to Müllerstrasse
Westphalweg to Eisenacher Strasse
Lietzenburger Strasse to Motzstrasse
Yorckstrasse to Bergmannstrasse
Seestrasse to Antonstrasse
Roedernallee to Wilhelmsruher Damm
Moritzplatz to Oranienplatz
Potsdamer Platz to Kleistpark
Amende Straße to Lindauer Allee
Rheinstrasse to the motorway bridge
Kapweg to Afrikanische Strasse
Wollankstrasse to Parkstrasse
Thiemannstrasse to Reuterstrasse
Klausener Platz to Königin-Elisabeth-Strasse
Ordensmeisterstraße to Alt-Tempelhof
Prenzlauer Allee to Chausseestrasse
Sonnenallee to Weserstrasse
Karl-Marx-Straße to Sonnenallee
*Pilot routes of the 30 km/h trial
3. Local interventions in hot spots street sections, in particular tansit bans for diesel vehicles up to and including Euro 5/V
Transit bans for diesel vehicles up to and including Euronorm 5/V are unavoidable for eight most polluted streets, because none of the other measures are sufficient to meet the limit values by 2020. The State of Berlin was forced by Order of the Administrative Court of Berlin on October 9, 2018 to enforce such driving bans.
In order to avoid undue hardship for residents along the routes and for commercial traffic, residents are exempt from the transit ban. In addition, a speed limit of 30 km/h has also been enforced for all routes with transit bans in order to further reduce air pollution and ensure fast compliance with the NO2 limit value.
Diesel transit bans combined with speed limits of 30 km/h were (initially) imposed for the following routes:
Leipziger Platz (east side) to Charlottenstrasse
Köpenicker Strasse to Holzmarktstrasse
Charitéstrasse to Kapelle-Ufer
Gotzkowskystrasse to Beusselstrasse
Unter den Linden to Dorotheenstrasse
Perleberger Strasse to Turmstrasse
Silbersteinstrasse to Emser Strasse
Hermannstrasse to Karl-Marx-Strasse
*bans lifted in June 2021, because the NO2 – concentrations have dropped below 30 µg/m3 so that the air quality limit value of 40 µg/m3 is now safely met
The Air Quality Plan for Berlin, 2nd update
Environmental Atlas Berlin: Scenario calculations and data underpinning the Air Quality Plan
Effects of selected scenarios on the NO2 air pollution along roads from motor vehicle traffic for the year 2020
The following are the contents of the right sidebar
Senate Department for the Environment, Urban Mobility, Consumer Protection and Climate Action
Senatsverwaltung für Umwelt, Mobilität, Verbraucher- und Klimaschutz