Paris authorities are implementing two measures to quieten vehicle noise in the city and curb traffic levels to create a calmer city centre.
The city has switched on its first noise radars in recent weeks, setting up an automated system to identify excessively loud vehicles, such as “roaring motorcycles or cars”, and issue a fine to the drivers.
Each radar has the ability to monitor noise levels from passing traffic, then record the licence plate of offending vehicles.
The system will be trialled during the next few months and will need to be officially approved by officials at the end of the year.
The Paris government has announced it plans to start issuing fines from early 2023 and radars are being deployed in other French cities.
Existing legislation enables authorities to sanction owners of noisy vehicles, but police need to have the necessary equipment and resources to enforce the rules.
Paris Deputy Mayor David Belliard tweeted that the new radars sought to protect Parisians’ health and quality of life.
“Too much noise makes people sick,” he says.
A Money.co.uk study last December, using European Environment Agency data, showed Paris was one of Europe’s noisiest cities, with more than 5.5 million people exposed to road traffic noise at 55 decibels or higher, compared to 2.6 million people in London and 1.7 million people in Vienna and Rome.
Delayed Ban on Traffic Through Heart of Paris
Authorities had also announced plans to limit vehicle use in the city centre – specifically a 14 square kilometre area that incorporates a large portion of the historic section along the Seine – to create a “calm zone”.
The restriction targets traffic passing through this area, by establishing random police checks on vehicles leaving the zone and a camera monitoring system able to read number plates.
However, the Paris municipality declared last month it was postponing the new restrictions until 2024, in time for the Paris Olympics.
The delay came after French police issued a statement declaring they did not support the immediate introduction of the new controls.
The municipality says journeys across the city represented about half of the total traffic in the city centre, contributing significantly to congestion and emissions in an area that totals 350,000 to 500,000 journeys daily.
Exemptions from the new restrictions would be provided for delivery drivers, taxis, buses, people with disability, and car sharing.
Spanish city Madrid already has a zone with similar restrictions on through traffic and within hours of Paris declaring its intentions, Belgian city Brussels announced a similar ban on through-traffic within the confines of ‘the Pentagon’ in its historic heart of the city.
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