The objective of this study is to calculate the reduction in hydrocarbon emissions from the changes in travel behavior of traveler information system users. Research indicates that a certain percentage of motorists who use a traveler information system prior to initiating their travel are willing to change their travel behavior; either by changing their route, time or mode of travel. As a result of these changes in individual travel behavior, positive environmental benefits are created through a decrease in hydrocarbon emissions.
The project integrated more than 300 NYSDOT-operated traffic cameras in several urban areas across the state (Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Corning/Elmira, Hudson Valley, and Long Island) to collect information on commuting patterns. The imagery from these traffic cameras was integrated into a single statewide network to support improved traveler information to the public.Travelers were able to access this information via multiple sources including: TV broadcast, radio traffic reports and the Internet, including the 511NY and a live traffic video website. Based on usage of the 511NY website and phone service and the live traffic video website on a "typical day" in July 2010, an estimate of the number of users likely to change their travel behavior was calculated (study assumed 30 percent of users of the information system will change their time, route or mode of travel based on the information they receive).
Using region-specific data on typical commute times and distances, vehicle-miles-traveled (VMT) were developed for each region. The VMT data then allowed for the calculation of the reduction in VOC, NOx and CO emissions for each mile traveled using the EPA's Mobile Emissions 5A model.
- Based on the data used in this study, it was estimated that the changes in travel behavior from the use of traveler information systems prior to travel can generate a one-day net reduction of 71 kg/day of VOC, 4 kg/day of NOx and 767 kg/day of CO.
- These changes in travel behavior also would have a positive impact on energy consumption through reduced idling in congestion and increased transit ridership.
- The project produced a host of other benefits, including: improved quality of traffic information; improved quantity of traffic information; improved accessibility to traffic information; improved highway safety benefits through reduction in congestion; and improved traffic operations through better access to information by NYSDOT operational units.
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