What is being done to improve Motorway Air Quality
Air quality is a major cause for concern in the UK, especially when it comes to motorways and the surrounding areas.
Vehicle emissions cause air pollution, including the release of NO2 into the atmosphere which can pose a threat to both health and the environment.
The shift to EVs is a long-term solution, but what is being done to address the situation in the short term?
Encouraging the Switch to EVs
EVs are viewed as a long-term solution to the air pollution problem in the UK but can also be a short-term solution with more and more people switching. The government is encouraging motorists to make the switch to vehicles like the Vauxhall Corsa-e, which produce zero emissions.
This is through the use of grants and free testing opportunities, plus the 2030 ban on the sale of petrol and diesel.
Additionally, the introduction of clean air zones is seeing more motorists make the switch.
Another way that air quality is being improved around motorways is by managing the speed of drivers.
Traffic and air quality monitoring show that NO2 production is reduced when traffic speed is reduced by 10%, which has resulted in the introduction of 60mph speed limits on short sections of the motorway on a trial basis.
These limits will stay in place until there is a greater uptake of EVs to improve the air quality.
Traffic management is also key so that vehicles are spending less time on the motorways. There are many traffic management measures, including diversions, signal timing, installing new traffic lights, adding speed cameras, and improving bus and cycle lanes to reduce local traffic.
All of these measures can help to reduce air pollution while also making motorway driving a smoother experience for motorists.
Air Quality Barriers
An interesting solution that has been developed by researchers at Imperial is a curved barrier that can deflect air pollution away from pedestrians. Air pollution health concerns are more significant among lower-income communities, who are more likely to live by motorways and heavy traffic areas. These barriers could play an important role in improving air quality in these communities and protecting the health and well-being of those living there, especially children.
These are a few of the measures that are being taken to improve air quality around motorways and improve public health. Air pollution is a major problem in the UK and there needs to be both short and long-term solutions to protect public health and the environment. The gradual switch to EVs is a primary method, but other measures are having to be implemented now, given the vast majority of vehicles on the road are still operating on fuel that contributes to air pollution.