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IMprovement of Urban Environment Quality of Air and Noise Levels by an Integrated, Cost Effective and MUlti-Level Application of Clean Vehicle Technologies (IMMACULATE)
Start date: Sep 1, 2002, End date: Feb 28, 2005 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Background According to the 2001 TERM report (The Transport and Environment Reporting Mechanism which can be found at:, Greece is the fourth most polluted country in the EU in terms of CO2 emissions. With a population of approximately one million, Thessalonica is the metropolitan centre of northern Greece. An economic, transport and tourism centre, it is heavily-populated and congested and consequently, air pollution levels are high, particularly in the centre. It has seen a 76% growth in the number of vehicles from 1990 to 2001. Moreover, there is a shortage of 6,000-7,000 parking spaces in the city-centre. Consequently, air pollution in the city, particularly in the city centre, is high. To deal with this problem one of the three major policies that the city council has adopted is to promote the use of clean vehicles for both buses and private users. Objectives The primary objective of the LIFE project was to improve the quality of air and to reduce the noise levels in Thessalonica. This was to be achieved by combining clean vehicle technologies (electric power-assisted bikes, electric scooters, hybrid passenger cars and a natural gas minibus) with other innovations in urban transport such as enhanced transport information, the use of management systems, smart-card technology and mobility management schemes. Results By combining clean vehicle technologies with other innovations in urban transport schemes, the IMMACULATE project successfully demonstrated ways of improving air quality and of reducing noise levels in Thessalonica, the country’s second largest city. The proposed clean vehicle technologies – with the exception of the natural gas minibus, which was abandoned due to legal and technical problems – were trialled in the city and the environmental effects of these were estimated. By analysing the city’s current transport and air pollution situation, the consortium was able to provide clear benchmarking of related clean vehicle technologies. A hybrid car, electric scooters and electrically-assisted bicycles were tested in the city, under real conditions, using transport telemetry support devices. Driver training schemes for these more eco-friendly vehicles were also developed. On closure, (February 2005) IMMACULATE had met its key objective and provided valuable lessons for other urban areas in the application of clean transport technologies. The project also provided: 1. An assessment of the use of clean vehicles in an urban environment in combination with telemetry support and mobility management schemes. 2. A review of the Greek and European legislative framework regarding clean vehicles. This included an evaluation of relevant mobility management policies (on local, national and European levels) as well as organisational and insurance schemes. 3. Estimates of the cost-benefit ratio of clean vehicles and the cost efficiency of the proposed support measures. For more information, visit the project website
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