Impact of horizontal geometric design of two-lane rural roads on vehicle CO₂ emissions

In 2014, highway vehicles accounted for 72.8% of all Greenhouse Gases emissions from transportation in Europe. In the United States (US), emissions follow a similar trend. Although many initiatives try to mitigate emissions by focusing on traffic operations, little is known about the relationship between emissions and road design. It is feasible that some designs may increase average flow speed and reduce accelerations, consequently minimizing emissions. This study aims to evaluate the impact of road horizontal alignment on CO₂ emissions produced by passenger cars using a new methodology based on naturalistic data collection. Individual continuous speed profiles were collected from actual drivers along eleven two-lane rural road sections that were divided into 29 homogeneous road segments. The CO₂ emission rate for each homogeneous road segment was estimated as the average of CO₂ emission rates of all vehicles driving, estimated by applying the VT-Micro model. The analysis concluded that CO₂ emission rates increase with the Curvature Change Rate. Smooth road segments normally allowed drivers to reach higher speeds and maintain them with fewer accelerations. Additionally, smother segments required less time to cover the same distance, so emissions per length were lower. It was also observed that low mean speeds produce high CO₂ emission rates and they increase even more on roads with high speed dispersions. Based on this data, several regression models were calibrated for different vehicle types to estimate CO₂ emissions on a specific road segment. These results could be used to incorporate sustainability principles to highway geometric design.

Language

  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01665822
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Feb 26 2018 2:46PM