Induced travel and emissions from traffic flow improvement projects

Fotis G. Stathopoulos, Robert B. Noland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Two scenarios for improving traffic flow are simulated and analyzed using the VISSIM microsimulation model and the Comprehensive Modal Emissions Model. Short-run and long-run emissions of CO, HC, NOx and CO2 and fuel consumption are estimated. In the short run, with traffic volumes held constant, results demonstrate that the smoothing of traffic flow will result in reduced emissions. Long-run emissions are simulated by synthetically generating new trips into the simulated networks to represent potential induced travel. This is done until a "break-even" level of emissions for each pollutant and fuel consumption is reached that is equivalent to the base level before the traffic flow improvement was added. By also calculating short-run changes in travel time from the improvement, the travel time elasticity equivalents for each pollutant are calculated. These values are compared with travel time elasticities in the literature to evaluate whether long-run emissions benefits are likely to endure. Simulations are conducted using different assumptions of vehicle soak time to simulate cold-start and hot-stabilized operating modes. Results indicate that, in most cases, long-run emissions reductions are unlikely to be achieved under the two scenarios evaluated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-63
Number of pages7
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number1842
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering

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