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PM, NOx and CO2 emission reductions from speed management policies in Europe


  • Int Panis, L.
  • Beckx, C.
  • Broekx, S.
  • De Vlieger, I.
  • Schrooten, L.
  • Degraeuwe, B.
  • Pelkmans, L.


Speed reduction measures rank among the most common schemes to improve traffic safety. Recently many urban streets or entire districts were converted into 30 kph zones and in many European countries the maximum permissible speed of trucks on motorways is under discussion. However, besides contributing to traffic safety, reducing the maximum speed is also seen as beneficial to the environment due to the associated reduced fuel consumption and lower emissions. These claims however are often unsubstantiated. To gain greater insight into the impact of speed management policies on emissions, this paper examines the impact on different traffic types (urban versus highway traffic) with different modelling approaches (microscopic versus macroscopic). Emissions were calculated for specific types of vehicles with the microscopic VeTESS-tool using real-world driving cycles and compared with the results obtained using generalized Copert-like macroscopic methodologies. We analyzed the relative change in pollutants emitted before and after the implementation of a speed reduction measure for passenger cars on local roads (50-30 kph) and trucks on motorways (90-80 kph). Results indicate that emissions of most classic pollutants for the research undertaken do not rise or fall dramatically. For the passenger cars both methods indicate only minor changes to the emissions of NOx and CO2. For PM, the macroscopic approach predicts a moderate increase in emissions whereas microscopic results indicate a significant decrease. The effects of specific speed reduction schemes on PM emissions from trucks are ambiguous but lower maximums speed for trucks consistently result in lower emissions of CO2 and lower fuel consumption. These results illustrate the scientific uncertainties that policy makers face when considering the implementation of speed management policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Int Panis, L. & Beckx, C. & Broekx, S. & De Vlieger, I. & Schrooten, L. & Degraeuwe, B. & Pelkmans, L., 2011. "PM, NOx and CO2 emission reductions from speed management policies in Europe," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 32-37, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:trapol:v:18:y:2011:i:1:p:32-37

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Carolien Beckx & Theo Arentze & Luc Int Panis & Davy Janssens & Jean Vankerkom & Geert Wets, 2009. "An integrated activity-based modelling framework to assess vehicle emissions: approach and application," Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 36(6), pages 1086-1102, November.
    2. Carolien Beckx & Luc Int Panis & Jean Vankerkom & Davy Janssens & Geert Wets & Theo Arentze, 2009. "An Integrated Activity-Based Modelling Framework to Assess Vehicle Emissions: Approach and Application," Environment and Planning B, , vol. 36(6), pages 1086-1102, December.
    3. Andrew Kelly, J. & Ryan, Lisa & Casey, Edward & O'Riordan, Niall, 2009. "Profiling road transport activity: Emissions from 2000 to 2005 in Ireland using national car test data," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 183-192, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nitzsche, Eric & Tscharaktschiew, Stefan, 2013. "Efficiency of speed limits in cities: A spatial computable general equilibrium assessment," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 23-48.
    2. Marco Guerrieri & Ferdinando Corriere & Gianfranco Rizzo & Barbara Lo Casto & Gianluca Scaccianoce, 2015. "Improving the Sustainability of Transportation: Environmental and Functional Benefits of Right Turn By-Pass Lanes at Roundabouts," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(5), pages 1-19, May.
    3. repec:gam:jeners:v:10:y:2017:i:6:p:791-:d:101015 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Natalia Sobrino & Andres Monzon & Sara Hernandez, 2016. "Reduced Carbon and Energy Footprint in Highway Operations: The Highway Energy Assessment (HERA) Methodology," Networks and Spatial Economics, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 395-414, March.
    5. Fang Wang & Yaoyao Peng & Chunyan Jiang, 2017. "Influence of Road Patterns on PM 2.5 Concentrations and the Available Solutions: The Case of Beijing City, China," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(2), pages 1-17, February.


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