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467203-1 Report Abstract

A Conceptual Examination of the Impact of Traffic Control Strategies on Vehicle Emission and Fuel Consumption

Lenin Williams and Lei Yu, Texas Southern University, September 2001, 72 pp. (467203-1)

The federal government has charged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with the responsibility of controlling and/or reducing the adverse levels of vehicle emissions, which result in unacceptable amounts of environmental pollution nationwide. In order to achieve this goal, the EPA, in turn, has mandated the installation of control technology in newer vehicles and more environmentally friendly new fuels. Theoretically, though, additional success could be achieved through the use of more emission sensitive traffic control strategies. The feasibility of this assumption can be tested by studying the real impacts of today’s advanced technology applications in transportation management on environmental factors. These impacts, in fact, are the basis for the design and implementation of a new generation of traffic management strategies.

However, the fact is that traditional traffic control strategies and/or traffic modeling programs, designed to comply with EPA requirements, have focused on travel time as their basis for reduction objectives. It should be understood, however, that these travel time minimization strategies, in general, do not simultaneously minimize fuel emissions or fuel consumption and hence, may not meet the environmental goals sought by EPA.

Specifically, different traffic management operational strategies can have different effects on a vehicle’s speed profile, which includes acceleration, deceleration, cruise and idle events. Further, it is these speed changes that affect the levels of the vehicle’s tailpipe emissions, which are made up of the potentially harmful pollutants of Hydrocarbons (HC), Carbon Monoxide (CO), and Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx), and fuel consumption. These emissions therefore, are sensitive to the traffic control strategies, such as signal timing settings, ramp metering, incident management, HOV lanes and toll collection utilized in real networks.

The objective of this research is to investigate some of the specific relationships between traffic signal settings and the resultant effects on vehicle fuel consumption, emissions levels and travel times as a means of identifying a basis for deriving optimal, environmentally sensitive traffic control strategies.

Keywords: Traffic Simulation, Traffic Modeling, ITS, Network Evaluation

ENTIRE REPORT (Adobe Acrobat File – 247KBytes)