Increasing traffic congestion in the city has not only turned into a nightmare for motorists but has also proved to be detrimental for the environment. The higher the traffic congestion, the higher is the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the air, finds a study ‘Impact of congestion on greenhouse gas emissions for road transport in Mumbai Metropolitan Region’.
The research paper, jointly published by the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay, University of Illinois at Chicago and DAV Institute of Engineering & Technology, Jalandhar, highlights the role of traffic congestion in increased fuel use and emission levels.
The researchers found carbon dioxide emissions recorded in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) could be directly linked to the traffic congestions. The survey took into consideration four major roads of Mumbai — Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road (JVLR), Saki-Vihar Road, Western Expressway and Lal Bahadur Shastri Marg.
“During congestion, vehicles spend more time on the road, idling or crawling, and undergoing numerous acceleration and deceleration events and may possibly lead to an increase in emissions.
The spectacular growth in traffic and the resulting congestion not only causes reduced mobility, but can also increase the emissions of pollutants like carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, volatile organic compounds or hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, and other pollutants associated with vehicles,” the researchers explained.
The study has also quantified the delay caused by vehicular congestion on roads.
Based on the survey of the four roads, the researchers found that vehicles inMMR take approximately 51 per cent more time to complete a trip under congested conditions as compared to free-flow conditions. “It indicated that the around 51 per cent more travel time under congested conditions could be significantly responsible towards the 53 per cent more carbon dioxide emissions from the fuel consumption method, as vehicles consumed more fuel under the congested conditions without any significant addition in Vehicle Kilometre Travelled,” said the researchers.
“The relationship obtained in this study between congestion and increase in greenhouse gas emissions may be of significance to the policymakers and urban planners to roughly arrive at an estimate of the contribution of congestion to the increase in greenhouse gas emissions,” the research says.