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SP: EST goes EAST " Act for the Environmental Friendly Traffic" - Hungary PDF Print E-mail


Road vehicle traffic is the fundamental factor of our life; it is part of our everyday life. At the same time it is the source of serious environmental problems because it pollutes the air, creates noise and blights not only our environment and our natural values, but also our health.

The answer is sustainable development. The transport demands resulting from welfare, social and economic development must be satisfied in a way that does not endanger the environment or causes the least possible harms to it. All of our decisions have to be made considering the aspects of environmental protection.

Road vehicle traffic can not be stopped, goods must be delivered and people must get to their workplaces. In our accelerated world no settlement can be imagined without public transport, and be it work or private life, the car is indispansible for many people.
This publication tries to help and demonstrate how the ordinary man can travel in an environmental friendly way. It shows that we have a choice in almost every area of life - in vehicle traffic too -, we can decide in favour of the environment.

Some interesting topics from the publication


Politics has to be serve the harmonized development of the economy and transport by using the means of the sustainable development, appropriate transport infrastructure improves, while the deficient one impedes the sustainable development of economy.

According to traffic analysis, the three journeys a day average use of motor vehicle, caracteristic for thir mobility has been remaining unchanged for decades.

The environmental effects of the vehicle traffic

Since years, the duration of the everyday trips has been continously increasing whereas the yearly average mileage changes slowly only. This can only exist if the average speed of the vehicles decreases, which is unfortunately, only true int he case of urban traffic.

How can the environmental impact of the rising vehicle traffic be decreased?

By reducing the unnecessary vehicle use (unreasonable usage of the motor vehicles) and choosing ecologically beneficial transportation mode (e.g.: Change from individual to public transport).

It is observable that the architecture, that wants to decrease vehicle traffic demands, is creating a town structure with short roads. This and similar solutions are successful int he longer term only. But what can the owners of the motor vehicles do for the environment in a shorter term?

A lot. The Ministry of Environment and Water with this publication helps to choose the serviceable environmental friendly mode of transportation.


Air pollution is harmful not only if the concentration is high, but also a short period of acute and chronic loading is very damaging. As a result of unfavourable circumstances the small and constant concentrations can also cause environmental and sanitary damage. The short and chronic effects can demage the respiratory system and other organs. At the same time their soil and water polluting effects endangers the
biodiversity of flora and fauna as well as the nature.

The negative effects mechanisms are not fully known till this time. But one thing is sure: their presence increases the risk of cancer and other allergic diseases. Researches show that the last years’ acidic rain and the soil acidifying effects are also caused by the permanent presence of air pollution.

The air pollution caused by vehicular traffic is proportional to fuel consumption; while the fuel consumption is in direct proportion to the CO2 emission. In Hungary about one fifth of the emission derives from the road transport.

The European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA, the members are: BMW, Fiat, European Ford, GM Europe, DaimlerChrysler, Porsche, PSA Peugeot Citroen, Renault, Rolls Royce, Volkswagen and Volvo) voluntary guaranteed to the EU to decrease further the average CO2 emission. ACEA diminishes by degrees the new cars’ average CO2 emission to 140 g/km (5,73 litre/100 km). This means 25% reduction in 1995 compared to the ascertained 187 g/km (7,84 litre/100 km) CO2 emission in the EU countries. (Hungaryís average emission was calculated in 1990 to 9,4 litre/100 km!)

ACEA announced that the average fuel consumption of its new vehicles is planned to decrease to 120 g/km (5,03 litre/100 km) by 2012.

The average fuel consumption of the Hungarian vehicle fleet is expected to decrease more than in the EU. Since the vehicle fleet originates mainly from the EU, the average consumption level which was measured 9,4 litre/100 km will diminish to 5,03 litre/100 km by 2012. It may be considered, that this air pollution restraining ecceft of the decreased fuel consumption ia already in itself considerable.


There are several ways of reaching our destination in the city, they differ concerning the level of the security, the length of time, the level of comfort. These vehicles’ common characteristic is they interaction with the environment, as they use energy for operation, emit harmful substances into the air, make noise and their usage needs space.

Townspeople make 5-15% of their local trips on foot or by bike. Without taking them into consideration we can not have a clear picture of the urban traffic. Their urban use has a great importance regarding due to their connections and their accidental connection.

The comparison is even harder because of the fact that these vehicles’ harmful substance emission is very different. There are Euro 4 level cars and there are vehicles, which were produced before any of the restrictions existed.

The space and its utilisation is an important characteristics of the vehicles engaged in the transportation of several persons. From this point of view in comparison with passenger cars, in the case of trains, trams and busses, the one passenger capacity related constructional emission characteristics are more favourable. Important characteristics of a vehicle, which transports more people, are the number of its seats and the utilisation of the seating capacity. The former of characteristic of the construction capability and the latter is the utilisation of the capability.

The data on passanger kilometers that takes into account the number of actually transported passengers, and characteristic for passenger capacity utilisation may be applied for marking real comparisons, therefore this data will be regarded as criterion in the implementation of the vehicle comparisons.

It is not indifferent that pedestrians cyclists travel without any environmental pollution, so within certain distances they can improve the quality of the urban environment.
It is worth bearing in mind that public transport only because of the waiting time more time than the individual.


A bus has a greater mass than a car, so it uses a lot more energy, but it can transport essentially more passengers. That is why its per capita use of energy and emission of harmful substances is less than of a motor car’s.

In everyday vehicle traffic it rarely happens that passengers occupy all of the buses’ seats. So only with the usage and environmental characteristics related to the actually, transported number of passengers can be obtained a clear picture that is suitable for comparison.

Even so, the utilization of the bus-seats is better than the passenger cars, whose utilization rates are between 21-23 %, and for busses between 35-65 %.depending on the motorization level of the country.


While with motor cars and motorbikes we can travel from door-to-door, the public transport vehicles travel only from station to station. But it is also true that the public-service vehicles have the right of way at certain traffic lights, crossroads and lines. Moreover the metro blocks have separate lines, they are not crossed by other vehicles.

The urban vehicles are local, district and global polluting sources. While the older buses’ output smoke is easy to see, the tram and metro blocks travel without making pollution. But we have to take into consideration the prime utilization of energy, when comparing. Because trams get the network energy for their operation from power plants that pollute the environment more than the vehicles driven by internal-combustion engines.

The urban vehicles pollute the environment from their production until their elimination. Already from the aspects of emissions produced during their manufacturing, the data of passenger cars are disadvantageous. The proportion of this can reach 20 % of the emission during the whole lifetime of the vehicle, while that of buses, which function for a longer term, stays below 5 %.


The fact that urban vehicles operate mainly with fossil fuel needs to be considered because of their huge expenses and there finite stock. Not more than 4% is the proportion of urban vehicles which are supplied with renewable energy even in countries with most favourable situation. When considering the rational use of the energy types only the saving of energy comes about.

In some regions it is possible to utilize natural gas (CNG), which has relatively large reserves. Although it is the cleanest and most environment saving, fossil energy type because of its technical costs it is only economical with large vehicles. Therefore the compressed gas is suitable for driving buses only.

The diesel driven and all the more, the gas driven buses have better energetic and environmental characteristics concerning the number of the transported passengers in the urban public transport.


Because of its environmental friendly operation, low accident risk, huge seat capacity and high occupation rate, the metros at the top from among the vehicles, which the most favourable characteristics from the point of view of vehicle traffic. But to win investment expenditures and to finance the investment requires a long time frame. Its disadvantage is, that it is not possible for other vehicles to run on its special independent, guided rail. Again due to the environmental friendly operation, low accident risk, the huge seat capacity and the high occupation rate, the tram follows the metro in the ranking of the vehicles with the most favourable vehicle characteristics. However it needs a greater area and the investment expenditures are also huge. The disadvantage is that no other vehicle can run on the guiding rail because of security reasons.

The urban busses with more unfavourable harmful emissions than the former two vehicle types have the advantage, which is also their disadvantage that they are not rail bound, consequently, other vehicles may also use their traffic lines, not with standing the fact that they are obstructed in their movement by the passenger cars. The buses have medium seat capacity, the articulated ones have a large seat capacity and the utilization of the seats is average.

From the cars with particle filter and less harmful substance emission and diesels are economically friendly than the petrol. Because of the bad seat utilization and unfavourable vehicular traffic and parking area demand, the petrol engine cars stand at the end of the list.

Within a decade we expect that the two passenger cars’ environmental characteristics will improve through their heavy emission decrease.


Traffic noise in Europe as an integrated part of environmental protection has become a more and more serious problem. Surveys show that most of the population suffers from noise and that noise endangers our health and destroys the acoustical quality of our place of domicile. In daytime about 40 % of the european population are exposed to road traffic noise that exceeds the 55 dBA level, which the case of about 20% is above 65 dBA.
At night the proportion is even worse: the 30 % of the population lives at more than 55 dBA noise, which is proved that already disturbs sleeping.

The judgement of noise is very subjective. The sound of the engine implies speed to the motorcyclist, the pleasure of the speeding, but for the other passengers it is an unpleasant noise source.

Noise effects our life in different ways. Not everybody is disturbed in the same extent, as sensitivity to noise is different. The impact is insidious, because its health damaging effect is not be revealed directly. The noise level of 55-60 dBA prevents the recreation, disturbs work, decreases the concentration ability. The 60-70 dBA noise level already impedes the understanding of the human speech, and if it is permanently around 80-90 dBA or even above, it may cause provisional, and later on, lasting hearing impairment.

More than half of the urban population indicates the road vehicle traffic as primary noise source. In the vicinity of airports the aircraft-noise is dominant, while the noise of the railway is better tolerated.


Basically, there are two possible solutions for reducing the noise annoyances: application of technical devices and administrative means, and if a new facility is implemented, these situations should be combined in the development process of the noise abating methods of construction.

From the technical point of view noise could be decreased at the source or at the source or at the point of dispersion. Decreasing noise is the most effective method against the noise. The possibilities for diminishing the noise caused by the vehicles are the noise screening establishments, embankments, building of walls, the planting of appropriate forest belts between the source of the noise and the protected building to be protected, and orienting the facade to be screened towards a quieter direction or improving its noise screening.
The noise reduction solutions preventing the development of the increasing environmental noise applied in the planning of the areas, buildings and premises to be protected and which are required for the location of the noise sources, are the most efficient devices used against noise annoyance. When the planning and developing of the area and transport is being implemented, care should be taken that noise-sensitive establishments, if possible, have to be separated from each other. The expenditures of the noise walls built next to the entry parts of the motorways can be saved if the alignment of the roads is marked out further from residential districts and if the new residential areas are built further from the arterial road and from the railway line.

Concerning the administrative means of the noise abatement in Hungary there are more measures helping the necessary noise reduction, which can be enforced with legistative obligation.


We create noise often in our surroundings and we are the endurers of such noise, which could be avoided with more care. If we know the source of the noise and we do not forget that others are disturbed by our noise, we will do a lot for noise abatement.

This type of noise abatement does not cost any money, it does not need any technical development and no need to appeal to the authorities, because we only have to take care of each other and not to do things that we do not want to do to us.

We can do a lot also during our individual travels. The motor cyclists should not remove the exhaust and they are supposed to repair problems the diffective, consequently noisy exhausts.

The motorists should not have their auto radio roaring and should not slam their cars’ doors because the door slamming is a potential noise resource.

The drivers could abate the vehicular traffic noise, if they avoid hard braking (because the ear-piercing screech raises stress), do not blow their horn without reason, do not start with excessive gas, and do not exceed the permissible speed limit. That does not only go together with an irritating noise, but also with increased fuel consumption and road traffic risk.


• Do not drive where you can get more easily without a car, travel by public transport vehicles, if possible by bike. Half or one km distance is easier to cover on foot than by car considering the crowded parking areas in the city.

• If you drive for a longer distance you have to plan the route before getting into the car. If unnecessary “roaming about” is avoided, then not only time and fuel are saved, and the stress kept away, but also the environment is protected against the nuisances caused by the harmful emissions of several kilograms.

• According to the German car clubs’ survey, during business hours in large towns 60-75 % of the shopping journeys’ are spent finding free parking places, that could be decreased to one tenth if travelling on public transport, especially by tram. The related here the stop and go vehicle traffic increases traffic jam and it causes more environmental nuisance in the peak hours of business time. The most extreme examples for this phenomenon are the well know big Christmas shopping.

• More than the half of the length of the urban routes is less than 3 kilometres. I does not only take less time to cross them without car, but these exercises are more healthy than short time drivings.


In our age the mobility offered by motorisation seems to be an inherent part of life. Life can be sustained by energy and the economy by vehicle traffic. Our personal decision is that we travel by a vehicle or not. And so it is when to travel or which way to take. Just like choosing the vehicle or the travel mode.

Vehicles are different, not only concerning the services provided, but their use of energy and their environmental pollution also differs. That is why before starting a journey the protection of the environment and the personal interests are jointly considered. If it is not necessary we should not travel with the vehicle, which pollutes the environment most. If our destination could be reached without use of a vehicle, then we should better walk. The traffic with its short trips is not only wasting, but it also pollutes the air with unnecessary harmful emission.

We should learn this kind of behaviour because the total yearly run of vehicles in vehicle traffic increases more than their pollution decreases. So as a result there could be local air quality problems that might be solved by the partial or the total limiting of the motorised vehicle traffic. To implement a solution or at least to have it delayed is our choice, in our decision we should consider that the environment, although we do not pay for it directly, costs money just like consumption.

It is good to travel. But to live in a healthy environment is even better. That is why we should travel in an environmental friendly way.

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