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article imageMath proves urban emissions can be cut by two-thirds

By Tim Sandle     Jun 2, 2017 in Environment
A mathematician has developed a model that shows the optimal conditions for achieving sustainable urban distribution and cut emissions.
Wouter van Heeswijk from the University of Twente has come up with a mathematical model that calculates the optimal conditions to reduce logistical pressure in cities and make goods transport more sustainable. The mathematician thinks that it may be possible to reduce emissions in cities by up to seventy percent.
Air pollution happens when harmful substances, such as particulates and biological molecules, are introduced into the atmosphere. The presence of pollutants may cause diseases, allergies or even death. Emissions become particularly problematic in the built environment, such as the urban setting. The primary cause of emissions is human activity.
The key problem according to van Heeswijk is the relentless ongoing urbanization, combined with fragmented goods flows and increasingly shortening delivery times. The outcome, Phys.org indicates, is that cities throughout the world need to cope with a higher volume of freight traffic. Because of inefficient urban transport this leads to atmospheric pollution, greater congestion and also noise nuisance.
To address this dilemma, van Heeswijk has produced a mathematical model to indicate the ideal combination of factors needed to ensure efficient and sustainable urban distribution. The model requires various variables like subsidy arrangements, the types of local regulations and urban transport schedules. Once these inputs are entered, different solutions can be attempted.
Van Heeswijk's preferred solution is an expanded use of 'consolidation centers'. These are locations where goods vehicles are unloaded and consignments sorted for further distribution.. This approach enables goods to be distributed in more efficient ways. For this to happen, the researcher notes, needs government intervention.
Here the Dutch mathematician states in a research note: "if you make it financially unattractive for transport operators to enter the city with a half-laden vehicle while also subsidizing the use of the consolidation centres, it becomes possible to achieve the aims. In some cases, emissions can be cut by seventy percent." This approach, he believes, will deliver the desire results.
More about Emissions, urban emissions, Pollution, Global warming
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