Reducing the speed of traffic in Britain’s towns and cities would increase pollution, a study by a Scottish carbon reduction group has found.
The Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation ECCI has commissioned research by the Transport Research Laboratory TRL that showed that, while reduced traffic speeds encourage walking and cycling and reduce the number of crashes, they are linked to higher levels of toxic emissions.
It said: “Reducing urban speed limits has concomitant health, community and safety benefits, but is likely to raise greenhouse gas emissions..”
The report shows that cutting speeds to below 40mph was likely to increase pollution, such as nitrogen oxides and particulates. Carbon dioxide emissions would also go up.
The reason for the air pollution is the increased amount of acceleration and braking in stop-start driving, although crucially, these could be reduced if a way was found for traffic flow was smoothed see the video below for how this was successfully achieved in the Cheshire town of Poynton. The report said 40mph was the optimum speed for minimising vehicle emissions and pollution.
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