Reducing the Environment Impact of Traffic Pollution

Congestion and traffic-related pollution are typically the largest contributors to air pollution in cities. Rapid urbanization in developing countries has caused large-scale proliferation in motor vehicle use making cities increasingly congested and, subsequently, polluted. 


In emerging and developing economies, the rapid convergence of people on cities supplies human resources which contribute to potential economic growth but also intensifies the strain on already vulnerable resources such as land, water, housing and other infrastructure such as transport. The impacts of motorized transport in cities can be seen in congestion, accidents, community severance and pollution. Transport is the greatest contributor to urban air pollution with highest levels of exposure and pollution at roadside locations.

The unsustainability of continued dependence on fossil fuel based transport has been recognized and there have been several infrastructure, policy and alternative interventions tested to lessen the impacts of environmental pollution associated with mobility, while maintaining and/or improving accessibility.

Proposed Solutions

A combination of infrastructure, policy, regulatory and softer measures may provide the most effective way to address traffic congestion and, thus, traffic pollution. 

Reducing air pollution due to traffic and congestion can be categorized within an A-S-I strategy:

  • A = Avoid travel by reducing the need to travel longer distances. 
  • S = Shift transport demand, when possible, from cars to public transport, walking and cycling, and shift freight from trucks to rail and water.
  • I = Improve vehicles that use fossil fuels to make them cleaner and more fuel-efficient. 
The first point of reducing air pollution traffic and congestion, can be done by better management of  trips. Efficient management based upon nearest routes, and resources allocation resulted in less distance traveled in turn reduce the emission and cost of fuel. This management need to be applied in large scale, hence will significantly reduce the pollution and congestion with the benefit of cost reduction.

In order to successfully applied the smart trips management, it is crucial to collect all data of trips and  transportation resources. This insight would be needed to implement the necessary policy that enforce smart trips management; therefore, reducing the emitted carbon footprint due to traffic and congestion

There are some simple examples that can be adopted to contribute in reducing carbon footprint due to traffic and congestion. The following are the examples of how we can achieve better and less polluted environment.

  • Voluntary Corporate Mobility programs are company-led efforts to reduce the commuting footprint of employees.
  • Reducing use of single-occupancy vehicles reduces pollution and carbon emissions, improves traffic flow, and creates energy savings.
  • Commute during non-peak hours
  • Use non-motorized modes of transport such as bicycles