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3.4 Environmental benefits of ITS Print

Planners are becoming increasingly concerned with climate change and ‘greenhouse’ gases.  Transport is a major source of such emissions, and ITS can help reduce them, for example by smoothing traffic flows.  

  • Some Case Studies show instances where smoother traffic flows have reduced emissions, for example Melbourne City Link and Speed-over-distance Enforcement in The Netherlands.  

San Francisco HighwayIn most situations, local analysis and simulation are needed to estimate environmental benefits from a given project. It is difficult to measure air quality impacts on an entire region because of the large number of exogenous variables including weather, contributions from non-mobile sources, and the time-evolving nature of ozone pollution.  

Noise and vibration can be an issue, for example, when traffic control systems relocate traffic queues as part of a queue management strategy.

Visual intrusion can be a problem where overhead gantry signs are required. In all these cases attention to the detail of location and design is required.

In some cases, direct measurement of environmental impact can concentrate on a localised measure such as air quality surrounding a particularly snarled intersection or other points of interest.  Such evaluation results are, however, highly dependent on the local terrain and road geometry, and are thus difficult to generalise.

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UK: Using ITS to reduce environmental impacts