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Forecasting environmental equity: air quality responses to road user charging in Leeds, UK

By G. Mitchell

Abstract

Sustainable development requires that the goals of economic development, environmental protection and social justice are considered collectively when formulating development strategies. In the context of planning sustainable transport systems, trade-offs between the economy and the environment, and between the economy and social justice have received considerable attention. In contrast, much less attention has been paid to environmental equity, the trade-off between environmental and social justice goals, a significant omission given the growing attention to environmental justice by policy makers in the EU and elsewhere. In many countries, considerable effort has been made to develop clean transport systems by using, for example, technical, economic and planning instruments. However, little effort has been made to understand the distributive and environmental justice implications of these measures. This paper investigates the relationship between urban air quality (as NO2) and social deprivation for the city of Leeds, UK. Through application of a series of linked dynamic models of traffic simulation and assignment, vehicle emission, and pollutant dispersion, the environmental equity implications of a series of urban transport strategies, including road user cordon and distance based charging, road network development, and emission control, are assessed. Results indicate a significant degree of environmental inequity exists in Leeds. Analysis of the transport strategies indicates that this inequity will be reduced through natural fleet renewal, and, perhaps contrary to expectations, road user charging is also capable of promoting environmental equity. The environmental equity response is however, sensitive to road pricing scheme design

Publisher: Elsevier Science
Year: 2005
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.whiterose.ac.uk:2538

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