Green solutions have made lofty claims in the last few decades but they have been optimistic hope more than reality. Simulations from the University at Buffalo may change that; they say it's possible for drivers to cut their tailpipe emissions without significantly slowing travel time.
In computer models of traffic in Upstate New York's Buffalo Niagara region, they found that green routing could reduce overall emissions of carbon monoxide by 27 percent for area drivers, though they did it by increasing the length of trips an average of 11 percent.
Still, simple changes can yield great gains. Funneling cars along surface streets instead of freeways helped to limit fuel consumption and intelligently targeting travelers - rerouting one fifth of drivers who would benefit most from a new path - reduced regional emissions by about 20 percent.
Green routing is appealing is because it's a strategy that consumers and transportation agencies could start using today. You just have to be someone who doesn't mind traveling longer. But instead of being more heavy-handed rules that only apply to non-government workers, GPS navigation systems and online maps could promote green routing by giving drivers the option to choose an environmentally friendly route instead of the shortest route.
"We're not talking about replacing all vehicles with hybrid cars or transforming to a hydrogen-fuel economy -- that would take time to implement," said Adel Sadek , an associate professor of civil, structural and environmental engineering at the University at Buffalo. "But this idea, green routing, we could implement it now."
The researchers tied together two computer models, the Motor Vehicle Emission Simulator (MOVES), created by the Environmental Protection Agency, which estimates emissions, and the Transportation Analysis and Simulation System (TRANSIMS), which simulates traffic in great detail, taking into account information including the location and pattern of signals, the grade of the road and the trips people take at different times of day.
After incorporating Buffalo-specific data into TRANSIMS, they ran a number of simulations, rerouting travelers in new ways each time. After running the models numerous times, the researchers reached a "green-user equilibrium", a traffic pattern where all drivers are traveling along optimal routes. With the system in equilibrium, moving a commuter from one path to another would increase a user's overall emissions by creating more congestion or sparking another problem.
The simulations were part of a broader study Sadek is conducting on evaluating the likely environmental benefits of green routing in the region. His project is one of seven that the U.S. Department of Transportation has funded through a Broad Agency Announcement that aims to leverage intelligent transportation systems to reduce the environmental impact of transportation.
Sadek and Liya Guo, a PhD candidate, presented their research on green routing at the 18th World Congress on Intelligent Transportation Systems in October.
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Outsourcing: 3 Ways To Stop Medical Research Brain Drain
- Collectivism Ruins Creativity
- Adult Stem Cells Used To Grow New Hair
- Cometary Globule CG4 - From God's Hand To The Mouth Of The Beast
- We're Playing Classical Music All Wrong
- Reviews In Physics - A New Journal
- Easter Island Mystery: What Really Happened To Rapa Nui Society?
- "Hello rork! I have read the article by Dr Zuleyka Zevallos, and I would certainly not dismiss it..."
- "25.64% of the world's population live in countries that BAN a woman from having an abortion. Here..."
- "Here in Blighty it seems one can get away with blue murder as long as one is an entertainer. ..."
- "Rita Joseph and Hank, May I, ever so gently, take you two and bang your heads together? Firstly..."
- "Well yes, probably I would not write we favor young writers in the site, but that is a rather fuzzy..."
- Conspiracy theorists are right? Analysis says oil is often the reason for interfering in another country's war
- What do medical journalists think about cancer research?
- Teen girls: Sugary drinks linked to earlier onset of menstrual periods
- Abnormal: Violent psychopaths can't understand punishment
- Respiratory chain: Protein complex structure revealed