Electronic Toll Collection Can Reduce Black Carbon Emissions by up to 50 Percent Compared to Manual Toll Collection.

Study Analyzed Emissions Reduction Benefits from Electronic Toll Collection in Shanghai, China.

Date Posted

Spatio-temporal variability in black carbon concentrations at highway toll plaza: Comparison between manual and electronic toll lanes

Summary Information

Electronic toll collection involves collecting road tolls using radio transponders, license plate cameras, or other electronic means. This means drivers do not have to use cash to pay tolls. This is in contrast to manual toll collection where the driver must stop and pay a toll booth attendant. Electronic toll collection has many proven benefits including reducing idle time at toll booths, smoothing traffic flows, and reducing travel time.

To further study the benefits of electronic toll collection versus conventional manual toll collection a research team collected detailed air quality measurements at a toll plaza outside Shanghai. The toll plaza studied contained a mix of manual toll booths and electronic toll booths. At each toll booth the team setup air quality monitoring equipment. Specifically the team measured the amount of black carbon (a form of fine particulate pollution) at each toll plaza. The team also collected detailed weather information when monitoring was happening. Finally, the team conducted statistical analysis on these data to understand the difference between manual and electronic toll booths.

From the study, the team found:

  • Electronic toll booths had roughly 50 percent lower black carbon emissions present compared to manual toll booths.
  • If all toll plazas in China switched to electronic toll collection black carbon emissions could be reduced by an estimated 1789 tons per year.
Results Type