Road transport contributes greatly to the inventory of atmospheric greenhouse gas and air pollution emissions. In general, it is responsible for around 60% of NOx emissions. In regional terms, considering only road transport emissions, traffic on the regional section of the A22 highway causes 41% of NOx emissions.
The EUâs ambient Air Quality Directive provided for the development of plans to limit NOx emissions by 2015. Sustainable mobility foresees the implementation of different components that are essential for meeting air quality standards, such as the creation of low emission zones (LEZs). New concepts of high-impact LEZ represent not only a concrete answer to local air quality issues, but can also contribute to climate change mitigation.
Two specific sets of measures (i.e. the dynamic road capacity and integrated traffic management measures) address the optimisation of traffic flow on the highway, and even on other neighbouring road networks, with the goal of minimising associated energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The objective is to reach a new overall equilibrium within a road transportation system that is able to ensure the same levels of mobility freedom, but with a significantly lower carbon footprint.
The long-term objective of the LIFE BrennerLEC project is the application of the holistic concept of a âlow emission corridorâ (LEC) for the A22 highway. The project aims to implement and validate a set of measures to provide clear environmental benefits, in terms of the abatement of air pollution emissions to help implement the Air Quality Directive, the abatement of noise pollution, and the abatement of greenhouse gas emissions within the context of the Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area - Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system.
The project will carry out extensive monitoring to consolidate a knowledge base (with particular attention to certain environmental indicators, such as black carbon), and the development of environmental policy and legislation in highway environments. After the creation of the pilot-scale Brenner LEC, the project team will determine speed limits in the area based on the use of a proactive approach, with reduced speed limits based on forecasts of pollutant concentrations and traffic flows.
Forecasts of pollutant concentrations will be carried out using an innovative meteorological and pollutant dispersion model, while forecasts of traffic flows will be done with transport flux models. The objective is to obtain the best compromise in terms of environmental benefits, quality of service (including road safety), and user acceptance by means of proactive approaches.
Specific aims are to implement:
Dynamic speed limits management, to be applied to light vehicles as a function of the current and predicted air quality conditions;
Dynamic road capacity management, with a temporarily third lane available during highly-saturated traffic conditions; and
Dynamic integrated traffic management, based on current and predicted conditions.
The LIFE BrennerLEC project will produce concrete recommendations for extending the Low Emission Corridor (LEC approach, for example, to the alpine corridor of the A22 highway (Affi â Brenner) and from there to the whole alpine corridor transiting through the Brenner Pass from Affi to Kufstein (the Alpine BLEC), in cooperation with the Austrian highway operator ASFINAG.
The main expected results of the project are:
Adoption of dynamic speed limits management measures: reduction of NOx emissions by about 20%, reduction of CO2 emissions by about 10%; average reduction of NO2 concentrations of about 5%; reduction of noise levels by about 1-2 dB; and improvement in the state-of-art efficiency of existing measures;
Adoption of dynamic road capacity management measures: reduction of air pollutant emissions and greenhouse gases by up to 40% for light vehicles and 60% for heavy vehicles;
Adoption of dynamic integrated traffic management measures: if jointly evaluated with the balance of the city, emissions reductions expected to be of the same order of magnitude as foreseen for dynamic road capacity management measures;
The development of a LEC system that can be scaled up to the whole Alpine BLEC, capable of (i) computing on a real-time basis the current and predicted traffic and air pollution conditions, (ii) properly managing all raw data and elaborated information developed during the project, and (iii) providing a user-friendly interface to highway operators that can support them in the operational application of specific measures;
The definition of an executive exploitation plan that can indicate how the verified measures can be replicated to the whole Alpine LEC; and
At least 70% of the highwayâs users understanding and respecting the measures.
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