The Traffic and CO2 is Back Worse than Before Pandemic

The transport industry is the fastest growing source of global emissions: Today, it generates around 28% of total emissions with 59% coming from passenger vehicles and light trucks. While many other sectors already reduce their emissions year after year – transport is going the other way threatening to undermine Paris Agreement targets. The Mobility Report 2021 by Kapsch TrafficCom illustrates the current transport challenges and shows how to deal with them.

Although vehicle miles traveled (VMT) dramatically declined during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has rebounded to pre-pandemic levels. In addition, many people are less willing to use public transport than previously due to the infection risk – putting even greater demand on road networks and increasing VMT. As dependence on private vehicles continues to grow worldwide, no city or highways authority can be complacent about the growing emissions challenge. The average gas-powered car emits 8887g of CO2 per gallon of gas and a total of 4.6 metric tons of CO2 every year.

“Shortterm solutions are urgently needed to curb emissions from millions of vehicles on the world’s road networks,” says Alfredo Escriba, CTO of Kapsch TrafficCom. “Urban traffic and congestion management provide an immediate impact helping to reduce CO2 emissions. Reducing stop-and-go-traffic by communicating traffic signal information to drivers alone has been shown to reduce fuel consumption and therefore emissions according to a recent study from Canada. More advanced methods, involving vehicle connectivity and AI-based data processing, can further reduce emissions caused by congestion and inefficient traffic.”

Limited impact of traditional traffic management.

For decades, authorities in many countries have been implementing intelligent transport systems – from signalling solutions to congestion charging schemes. However, legacy approaches tend to focus on stand-alone and siloed solutions that use only a small subset of the traffic data nowadays available. Traditional approaches therefore only can provide limited emissions and air quality benefits.

New Traffic Management in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The City of Buenos Aires developed a strategic plan in 2017, shifting from reactive to proactive-collaborative Traffic Management. The new Integrated Mobility Management System (SGIM Sistema de Gestión Integral de la Movilidad) allows the city to manage data from multiple sources to generate and spread high-quality information. The SGIM software that was deployed in the center with Kapsch’s EcoTrafiXTM platform works as an umbrella platform that can interface and sit on top of the current structure for a more unified platform – including Google Maps and Waze information, Tolling Operators, and other third party systems. Today, Buenos Aires operates with a global supervision of city mobility: monitoring events and incidents and allow people to use a multi-modal transport system with efficient congestion management that is orchestrated by a state-of-the-art integrated control center.

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