For greener driving, try ‘eco-routing’
When you ask your GPS navigation device for driving directions, it’ll probably suggest the quickest route to your destination. But you could make your trip slightly greener by using a process called “eco-routing” instead — choosing a path that requires less fuel and reduces emissions.
In a study published in Transportation Research Part D, researchers analyzed the costs and benefits of eco-routing. They ran simulations of traffic in downtown Cleveland and Columbus, which include highways, arterials, and smaller local roads. Both are busy urban areas; during rush hour, for example, about 65,000 cars drive through downtown Cleveland per hour.
The team compared two scenarios: one in which all cars take the shortest route and another in which cars take the most eco-friendly route. When eco-routing was used, fuel consumption dropped by 4 to 6 percent and emissions by 3 to 18 percent. The green drivers took longer to reach their destinations though — on average, travel times were about 3 to 5 percent higher.
The results were more variable when the researchers tested specific origins and destinations. In some cases, the eco-route was almost the same as the most time-efficient route, so drivers didn’t save much gas. In another case, the eco-route cut fuel use by 18 percent but took 44 percent longer. The team also found that fuel savings were particularly high when streets were congested.
Overall, eco-routing resulted in about 3 to 9 percent lower fuel consumption compared to traditional navigation, the authors conclude. And the system worked better in Columbus, where downtown streets are laid out in a grid, than in Cleveland’s freeway corridor network. — Roberta Kwok | 29 October 2013
Source: Ahn, K. and H.A. Rakha. 2013. Network-wide impacts of eco-routing strategies: A large-scale case study. Transportation Research Part D doi: 10.1016/j.trd.2013.009.006.
Image © Kladej | Shutterstock
Faced with bad weather, female seabirds keep fishingAugust 28th, 2015
Wildflowers help control crop pestsAugust 27th, 2015
Spying on terrestrial politics from spaceAugust 26th, 2015
Return of devil could aid small mammals in AustraliaAugust 25th, 2015
What made humans into global super predators?August 21st, 2015