The city of Salamanca, Spain, is trialling an automated traffic management system which aims to cut down on pollution without causing traffic congestion for commuters.
The project which began in October 2011, will see a network of air-quality sensors put up throughout the city, capable of capturing pollution data in real time over a wide geographical area. Each sensor is built to measure concentrations of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide and particulate matter as well as noise, temperature and humidity.
Traffic and pollution data gathered by the air-quality sensors will then be fed into a pollution prediction model, which can then be used to forecast pollution trends and adjust traffic control measures accordingly. This model is intended to cut down on episodes of high pollution from traffic while disturbing the flow of traffic as little as possible.
The project is being overseen by the Pervasive Air-quality Sensors Network for an Environmental Friendly Urban Traffic Management (RESCATAME) an EU body whose main objective is to oversee the sustainable management of traffic and air quality in urban areas.
The project will enable traffic and pollution data to be collected in a cost-effective way with the aim of producing pollution predictions in real time, calculating the effects of various traffic regulation scenarios and comparing their impact at pollution “hotspots”.
Because the system works in real time, it is thought that more reliable traffic-control measures can be generated when pollution conditions quickly change, as traffic can be directed away from pollution hotspots through coordination of traffic signalling and improved traveller information systems.
It is thought that road traffic is responsible for 25% of all emissions throughout Europe, totalling around 31% of emissions in Spain alone. The European Union has tightened legislation to reduce car emissions by 20% by 2020.