How Much Does Idling at Red Lights Contribute to Urban Air Pollution?


Characterisation of nanoparticle emissions and exposure at traffic intersections through fast–response mobile and sequential measurements (17 page pdf, Anju Goela, Prashant Kumar, Atmospheric Environment, Feb. 3, 2015)

Also discussed here: Stopping at red lights exposes drivers to high levels of air pollution (ScienceDaily, Feb.12, 2015)

And here: Red Lights Are Air Pollution Hotspots (Jenna Iacurci, Nature World News, Feb. 21, 2015)

Today we review research into the role that traffic lights play in adding to the exposure of drivers, pedestrians and the nearby environment to toxic vehicle emissions. Results indicate that the 2% of time on the road spent idling at traffic lights contributes 25% to the exposure to particulate matter from emissions. The tendency for cars to be close together while waiting at red lights adds to the concentration of the pollution emitted and the development of urban “hot spots”. Adding to the pollution is frequent acceleration and braking that takes place along a road with signalized lights. Not directly mentioned are the benefits of using modern roundabouts to avoid these periods of pollution while idling.

traffic intersection hot spots

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE

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