THE GOVERNMENT'S AIR POLLUTION PLAN & THE FUTURE OF URBAN MOBILITY
In light of the Government’s air pollution plan, Finlay Clark, UK Head of Waze offers solutions to combat congestion and pollution. He says:
“It is disappointing to see how poor the air quality is in the UK and the Government’s new air pollution plan is positive step in addressing the rising pollution levels. However, we need to be focusing on the bigger picture of congestion and the future of urban mobility as there are clearly too many cars on too few roads. This is causing slow moving, stop-start traffic, and increased congestion resulting in poor air quality.
“This is supported by research from Waze, the real-time, crowd-sourced navigation app which reveals that average speeds in London during 2016 decreased by 12% to just 17.4mph. In comparison, Birmingham has an average speed of 33mph. Furthermore, the number of traffic jams that have been reported around the capital was up by 56% last year. Overall, average speeds around the UK are decreasing as more cars take to the already congested road network.
“Professor Begg, former chairman of the Government’s Commission for Integrated Transport states that the main cause of the extra pollution was worsening gridlock which had caused bus fuel efficiency to drop by more than a third since the millennium. He said: “Stop-start conditions caused by congestion are a key factor (and) lower operating speeds are bad for pollution. Under heavily congested conditions tailpipe emissions can be increased by a factor of three or four times.”
“Understanding congestion in real-time is key to tackling the problem and Waze are working with city planners to improve the situation. Waze shares live data with over 175 global municipal partners in it’s Connected Citizen Program, including Transport for London and Oxfordshire Country Council in the UK. They are also piloting carpooling in Israel and the US with the aim of helping take cars off the road, which in turn helps lower journey times and improve air quality.”
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