Variable congestion charges may yield more stable air quality and improved health

Dec 19, 2012

Higher congestion charges in the morning and in the spring would even out the negative health effects caused by air pollution from cars in large cities.

This is concluded in a study by researchers from the School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and the Faculty of Science at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

CO2 emissions from cars are contributing to the global warming due to the so-called . The purpose of congestion charges in large cities is to reduce both congestion and CO2 emissions from cars.

However, researchers at the University of Gothenburg show that if the congestion charges are set right, they will also contribute to a more consistent air quality by evening out the emissions of nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter and , implying positive health effects.

The researchers base their conclusion on observations of the levels of , and carbon monoxide in Stockholm, London and Santiago. These cities are very different in many ways, but still show the same pattern.

'Our analysis indicates that despite traffic flows being larger in the afternoon, NOx and NO2 pollution in the morning peak is larger than in the peak in the afternoon,' says environmental economist Jessica Coria.

Similar patterns are found in the cities of Bogota, Los Angeles and Beijing, which have also been studied by the researchers.

The purpose of the study is to show at what times the congestion charges should be the highest in order to harmonise with nature's ability to cleanse itself and dilute the emissions from cars. If the congestion charges are allowed to vary with the capacity of nature to handle pollution, then they may reduce not only global warming but also the dangerous health effects of urban air pollutants.

'If people would choose to drive at different times than today, the levels of pollution would be evened out, which in turn would have effects,' says Jessica Coria.

The study is still in progress and the researchers expect to be able to present precise figures regarding charges, times of day and seasonal recommendations in 2013.

Explore further: Pilot plant for the removal of extreme gas charges from deep waters installed

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

For some, it's comfort vs. global warming

Jul 05, 2007

Swedish drivers have a dilemma: Drive Volvos and Saabs built in their own backyard or combat global warming by driving something more environmentally friendly.

Study says Chinese air quality standards not yet met

May 13, 2008

With the Olympic Games in sight, the Chinese Government is committed to improving the air quality in Beijing, and has had measures in place since 1998 which have already made a difference. However, there is still some way ...

Recommended for you

UN sends team to clean up Bangladesh oil spill

32 minutes ago

The United Nations said Thursday it has sent a team of international experts to Bangladesh to help clean up the world's largest mangrove forest, more than a week after it was hit by a huge oil spill.

How will climate change transform agriculture?

48 minutes ago

Climate change impacts will require major but very uncertain transformations of global agriculture systems by mid-century, according to new research from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.

Report: Radiation leak at nuclear dump was small

53 minutes ago

A final report by independent researchers shows the radiation leak from the federal government's underground nuclear waste repository in southern New Mexico was small and localized.

Confucian thought and China's environmental dilemmas

5 hours ago

Conventional wisdom holds that China - the world's most populous country - is an inveterate polluter, that it puts economic goals above conservation in every instance. So China's recent moves toward an apparent ...

Deforestation threatens species richness in streams

5 hours ago

With a population of 1.3 billion, China is under immense pressure to convert suitable areas into arable land in order to ensure a continued food supply for its people. Accordingly, China is among the top ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.