An Examination of Congestion in Road Traffic Emission Models and Their Application to Urban Road Networks
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The level of air pollution in urban areas, which is largely affected by road traffic, is an issue of high political relevance. Congestion is most prevalent in urban areas and a common and increasingly present phenomenon worldwide. The first four chapters of this study have investigated how and to what extent models, which are used to predict emissions on road links in urban road networks, include the effects of congestion on emissions. In order to make this assessment, traffic engineering literature and empirical studies have been examined and used as a basis to review (current) emission models that exist or have been used around the world. Congestion causes changes in driving patterns of individual vehicles in a traffic stream, and these changes are subsequently reflected in changes in congestion indicators and changes in emission levels. This consideration and a literature review has led to a proposed 'congestion typology' of emission models, which reflects the different ways in which and the extent to which congestion has been incorporated in these models. The typology clarifies that six of in total ten families of emission models that were investigated in this thesis explicitly consider congestion in the modelling process (i.e. model variables are related to congestion), although this is done in different ways. For the remaining four families of emission models it was not possible to determine the extent to which congestion has been incorporated on the basis of literature review alone. Two families fell beyond the scope of this work since they cannot be used to predict emission on road links. For the other two families it became clear in the course of the thesis that the extent can be determined through analysis of driving pattern data (and other information with respect to e.g. data collection) that were used in the model development. A new methodology is presented in this thesis to perform this analysis and to assess the mean level of congestion in driving patterns (driving cycles). The analysis has been carried out for one important family of emission models, the so-called travel speed models ('average speed models'), which are used extensively in urban network modelling. For four current models (COPERT III, MOBILE 6, QGEPA 2002, EMFAC 2000), it is concluded that these models implicitly (i.e. congestion is inherently considered) take varying levels of congestion into account, but that this conclusion is subject to a number of limitations. It became clear in the course of this study that prediction of (the effects of) congestion in both traffic models and emission models is generally restricted to certain modelling dimensions. As a consequence, the effects of congestion are only partially predicted in current air emission modelling. Chapter 5 has attempted to address the question whether congestion is actually an important issue in urban network emission modelling or not. It also addressed the question if different types of emission models actually predict different results. On the basis of a number of selection criteria, two types of models were compared, i.e. one explicit model (TEE-KCF 2002) and two implicit models (COPERT III, QGEPA 2002). The research objectives have been addressed by applying these emission models to a case-study urban network in Australia (Brisbane) for which various model input attributes were collected from different sources (both modelled and field data). The findings are limited by the fact that they follow from one urban network with particular characteristics (fleet composition, signal settings, speed limits) and application of only a few particular emission models. The results therefore indicate that: 1. Changes in traffic activity (i.e. distribution of vehicle kilometres travelled on network links) over the day appear to have the largest effect on predicted traffic emissions. 2. Congestion is an important issue in the modelling of CO and HC emissions. This appears not to be the case for NOx emissions, where basic traffic composition is generally a more important factor. For the most congested parts in the urban network that have been investigated, congestion can more than double predicted emissions of CO and HC. 3. Different types of emission models can produce substantially different results when absolute (arithmetic) differences are considered, but can produce similar results when relative differences (ratio or percent difference) are considered.
Thesis (PhD Doctorate)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
School of Environmental Planning
Item Access Status
urban network modelling