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More Roundabouts and Reduced Vehicle Emissions?

2012, Environmental Science & Tecnology - número/volum 46 - Pàgines 6448-6448 - DOI

Autors de l'ICTA:
P. Graham Mortyn

Tots els autors:
P. Graham Mortyn

As a native Californian with approximately 10 years of European living and driving experience, I write on that personal favorite of British inventionsthe roundaboutand what it might do for reduced vehicle emissions (e.g., CO2 and other greenhouse gases). While the merits of installing roundabouts at intersections dominated by stop signs and traffic lights might be clear in terms of traffic flow efficiency, it is also worth highlighting from the more global perspective of potential emissions reductions. We are all aware of the benefits of reduced vehicle emissions, from the standpoint of either lowering the impacts or extending the lifespan of available fossil fuel resources, or both, but how many consider potential gains by simple traffic engineering adjustments with proven merit?
Several European cities are increasing roundabout installations presumably with reduced congestion as the main motive, which is justified considering the growing and increasingly urbanized population. I would like to see this addressed in terms of global emissions as well, however. With no data, I aim to prompt a comparative and quantitative investigation on whether simple traffic-engineering adjustments might reduce emissions on the large-scale. I suspect the results may be encouraging and actually move policymakers (e.g., urban planners and traffic engineers) to act faster to install more roundabouts where they are needed most.
While I have long pondered this, my recent California return and earning of a citation for not stopping at a stop-signed intersection has prompted renewed thought. Many intersections in California (and the U.S.) are dominated by stop signs, and under circumstances I suspect unwarranted by virtue of safety or traffic flow.
I encourage the investigation of increased roundabouts, and whether fuel consumption and emissions decreases might both occur while also reducing congestion. Perhaps the results would quicken progressive change on a major modern issue.

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