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Environmental factors in future transport

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


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Increased car use has highlighted the problem of congestion, not only because of its threat to economic growth but also as a substantial contributor to poor air quality, noise and global warming. Vehicle technologies and intelligent transport systems can play an important role in addressing environmental problems in urban areas and in developing long-term sustainability of towns and cities. Transport is a major source of air pollution. It also contributes to emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main cause for concern about global warming and climate change. Primary air pollutants include carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide, water vapour and un-burnt fuel, hydrocarbons, including volatile and non-volatile organic compounds, oxides of nitrogen, sulphur dioxide (traces), and particulate matter. Pollutants, such as small particles arise not only from the exhaust but also from the road-tyre interface and from the brakes, engine, bodywork and catalytic converters. Some pollutants, such as CO, are relatively stable; others are less so, including nitrous oxide, which, depending on the meteorological conditions, oxidises to nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and reacts with other pollutants. Nano-particles and NO2 are the major causes of breaches of the recommended air quality limits in towns and cities in the UK. Emissions per vehicle have declined in Europe, thanks to advances in engine design and the introduction of computer controlled engine technology to reduce fuel consumption and consequently decrease emissions.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bell MC

Publication type: Report

Publication status: Published

Series Title: Proceedings of the 40th University Transport Studies Group Conference Southampton

Year: 2008

Pages: 28

Institution: Foresight Intelligent Infrastructure Systems Project