“Smoothing” traffic slashes bus emissions

Smoothing out traffic flow could dramatically slash emissions from public buses. Buses in Brighton were fitted with emissions monitoring boxes and tested on multiple trips in normal traffic during business […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Smoothing out traffic flow could dramatically slash emissions from public buses.

Buses in Brighton were fitted with emissions monitoring boxes and tested on multiple trips in normal traffic during business and shopping hours.

While passengers weren’t on the buses, they were weighted with ballast and stopped at regular bus stops as if on a normal bus service.

Engineers at Ricardo and the Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company noted poor traffic flow on one of the routes – with “erratic” stop-starts on an uphill stretch demanding multiple cycles of acceleration and braking – is perhaps the “major contributor” to higher NOx emissions in the street.

Ian Davey, Brighton & Hove City Council Deputy Leader and Lead Member on Transport said: “Brighton & Hove, like many cities, suffers severe air quality problems in our densely populated and intensely used urban centres. We know that the main contributor is vehicle emissions yet there is no easy solution.”

Martin Harris, MD of Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company said the research confirms “that we are travelling in the right direction” with investment and in working with partners “to reduce delays and stop start traffic flows for buses that adversely impact on the environmental performance of our fleet”.

Details of the research carried out in collaboration with Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company and HORIBA will be published by Ricardo in technical papers and journals over the coming months.