A Traffic Demand Management Strategy Generator to Improve Air Quality in Urban Areas
BELL M C and TATE J E, University of Leeds, UK
In recent years, traffic congestion has become one of the most challenging environmental problems for developed countries. Social and employment structures have led to the population depending on the private motor car. A large proportion of urban roads op
In recent years, traffic congestion has become one of the most challenging environmental problems for developed countries. Social and employment structures have led to the population depending on the private motor car. A large proportion of urban roads operate at close to saturation during peak periods, and the recent traffic growths have lengthened the duration of peak periods.
Unlike many other social problems, traffic congestion is directly experienced every day by millions of European commuters of all income levels. The adverse effects on air quality and noise pollution effect everyone living or working in urban areas. In the United Kingdom most large urban centers have Urban Traffic Control (UTC) systems to monitor and co-ordinate traffic. Existing UTC systems are being stretched to their limits by the increasing frequency, severity and scale of congestion in many cities and large towns. It is now becoming apparent that the traditional policy of delay minimisation is no longer effective. Alternative policies now seek to suppress the demand for travel, and encourage the use of public transport. Examples of such schemes include road pricing, park and ride, car sharing, car pooling and many other mobility management techniques.
From the viewpoint of people who experience it, traffic congestion is irritating because valuable time is lost waiting in slow moving queues. For society as a whole, traffic congestion is undesirable because it wastes scarce energy resources, and causes economic inefficiency. Congestion also causes urban developments to spread over a wider area, as people and businesses try to reduce travel tames by decentrzti~ing jobs and housing. Such effects arise partly due to the fact that drivers and businesses do not face the true social costs of their decisions regarding where and when to travel. Consequently, the inefficient pricing structure for travel does not trigger efficient economic decisions. For example, individual commuters do not have to pay the costs of the added congestion that they impose on others when they drive onto a saturated urban road in a peak period. In addition, the cost of the frustration and stress imposed on commuters cannot be quantified adequately.
Association for European Transport