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Greenhouse gas mitigation, Air -- Pollution -- Prevention, Traffic congestion -- Environmental aspects, Air quality management, Transportation -- Management -- Environmental aspects


Capacity, demand, and vehicle based emissions reduction strategies are compared for several pollutants employing aggregate US congestion and vehicle fleet condition data. We find that congestion mitigation does not inevitably lead to reduced emissions; the net effect of mitigation depends on the balance of induced travel demand and increased vehicle efficiency that in turn depend on the pollutant, congestion level, and fleet composition. In the long run, capacity-based congestion improvements within certain speed intervals can reasonably be expected to increase emissions of CO2e, CO, and NOx through increased vehicle travel volume. Better opportunities for emissions reductions exist for HC and PM2.5 emissions, and on more heavily congested arterials. Advanced-efficiency vehicles with emissions rates that are less sensitive to congestion than conventional vehicles generate less emissions co-benefits from congestion mitigation.


This is the final report, OTREC-RR-11-12B, from the NITC program of TREC at Portland State University, and can be found online at:

The project brief can be found here:

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