Milan contemplates city centre car ban to improve urban air quality

By Carla Giaume / Updated: 06 Nov 2023

The Italian city of Milan is contemplating banning cars in its central area, potentially emulating the Swedish capital Stockholm. Milan, often recognised as Italy's economic hub, has historically been associated with industry, congestion, dust and pollution. Therefore, the proposal by Mayor Giuseppe Sala to implement a ban on private traffic in the city's central zone in 2024 comes as a surprising, yet commendable initiative.

The swift timeline underscores the local government's earnest commitment to instigate significant changes to improve urban air quality, which currently ranks amongst the worst in European cities. Mayor Sala underlined the significance of this proposal during the Verde e Blu sustainability festival, calling it “a small, yet historic step forward”.

The practical implementation of the ban would involve several preliminary steps and a comprehensive dialogue with all relevant stakeholders, particularly major fashion houses, which form the economic backbone of central Milan. The enforcement of this restriction would be achieved by installing cameras on Corso Venezia, recording the license plates of vehicles and imposing fines on unauthorised ones.

Certain vehicles, such as public transport vehicles, taxis, the cars of residents of the central area, and vehicles accessing underground parking facilities, would be exempted from the ban. Cameras at parking facilities would help waive fines for vehicles legitimately using those spaces. Mayor Sala believes that if enacted, the measure could serve as a pioneering initiative, setting the groundwork for the potential future expansion of pedestrian zones in the city.

Milan already has a clear strategy to reduce urban traffic, congestion and the use of private vehicles within the city, with its Urban Vehicle Access Regulations (UVARs), notably those in Area B and Area C, which already apply to many people and vehicles. Further steps, such as Mayor Sala’s proposal, show Milan’s commitment towards a greener and more sustainable city.

Original article published by on 24 October 2023.

Photo Credit: © kavalenkava - no permission to re-use image(s) without separate licence from Shutterstock.

Southern Europe
Urban Vehicle Access Regulations