Almost two thirds of UK citizens would be willing to limit car journeys at certain times in order to improve urban air quality, according to a survey by Kapsch TrafficCom.
The survey was conducted during the lockdown in March this year and quizzed 1,000 people from the UK as part of the population-representative Kapsch TrafficCom Index 2020 survey.
The vast majority (81%) were in favour of reducing traffic-related emissions by means of environment-friendly transport solutions.
Steve Parsons, Kapsch TrafficCom head of UK sales, said: “Councils in at least 40 cities across the country have reacted swiftly during the pandemic and created more space for cyclists and pedestrians.
“Cycle lanes have been widened and even new cycle routes have been set up in order to maintain social distancing.
“This has been a real success story, but it is only a question of time before the numbers of cars on the road increase again.
“And many people will continue to avoid public transport whenever they can because of the current COVID-19 situation.”
Parsons said transport planners and councils should “grasp the opportunity to get thing on the right track”.
Smart city Madrid shows how this can work
Parsons used the work done by Kapsch in Madrid as an example of how to introduce smart city changes to reduce traffic jams and airborne pollutants.
He said: “A system of adaptive traffic light management which automatically adjusts to reflect the current traffic situation is an important component of this solution.
“With the use of anonymized vehicle data which are integrated into the traffic management network, we can have an even more free-flowing and therefore economically efficient traffic management.”
This enabled jams to be reduced by approximately 20% and emissions by around 10%.
The Madrid authorities obtain an overview of the current traffic situation based on mobility data captured about pedestrians, cyclists, motorbike riders and car drivers.
These measurements are supplemented with data from other sources, such as local public transport providers and the police, before being integrated into and analysed by Kapsch’s EcoTrafix software platform.
Parsons added: “Not only can municipal authorities respond immediately to accidents and traffic jams; These data also allow the city to manage traffic flows and to continuously optimize urban mobility, including all modes of transport. This is beneficial to both people and the environment.”