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Quantitying the effects of traffic calming on emissions using on-road measurement

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Margaret Carol Bell CBE


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The objective of this work was to determine the effect of one form of traffic calming on emissions. Traffic calming is aimed at reducing average vehicle speeds, especially in residential neighborhoods, often using physical road obstructions such as speed bumps, but it also results in a higher number of acceleration/deceleration events which in turn yield higher emissions. Testing was undertaken by driving a warmed-up Euro-1 spark ignition passenger car over a set of speed bumps on a level road, and then comparing the emissions output to a non-calmed level road negotiated smoothly at a similar average speed. For the emissions measurements, a novel method was utilized, whereby the vehicle was fitted with a portable Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectrometer, capable of measuring up to 51 different components in real-time on the road. The results showed that increases in emissions were much greater than was previously reported by other researchers using different techniques. When traffic-calmed results were compared to a smooth non-calmed road, there were substantial increases in CO\d2 (90%), CO (117%), NO\dx (195%) and THC (148%). These results form the basis for a good argument against traffic calming using speed bumps, especially for aggressive drivers. Slowing traffic down with speed restrictions enforced by speed cameras is a more environmentally friendly option.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Daham BK, Andrews GE, Li H, Partridge M, Bell MC, Tate JE

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: SAE World Congress and Exhibition

Year of Conference: 2005

Pages: 155-164


Notes: SAE Book SP-1944 Paper No. 2005-01-1620

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

Series Title: SAE Technical Paper Series

ISBN: 0768015898