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Guide to Calculating Mobility Management Benefits Victoria Transport Policy Institute

Pollution Reduction Motor vehicle use emits various types of air, noise and water pollution. Air pollution causes human illness, disability and death, and various types of ecological damages. Noise pollution causes distraction and stress, and so reduces property values along roads with heavy traffic. Water pollution causes ecological damages.

Pollution Reduction Subcategories

  • Reduced air pollution reduces human illnesses.

  • Aesthetic benefits of cleaner and clearer air.

  • Reduced greenhouse and acid rain impacts.

  • Reduce noise pollution.

  • Reduced water pollution.

Mobility management strategies that reduce vehicle travel tend to reduce pollution emissions. Reductions in short trips and congested vehicle travel provide relatively large emission reductions, freight travel reductions provide large benefits per vehicle-mile, and reductions in urban travel tend to provide relatively large benefits due to high exposure (many people live or work close to roadways). Reductions in vehicle ownership tend to provide extra water pollution reductions, since some vehicles drip fluids when parked. Some strategies, such as smart growth and traffic calming, may increase emissions per vehicle-mile, but by reduce total emissions by reducing total vehicle travel.

Table 10

Pollution Reduction Effectiveness

Most Effective

Moderate Effects

Least Effective

Negative Impacts

Congestion pricing Emission fees Fuel tax increases

Walking & cycling improvements

Marketing programs

Commute trip reduction programs & incentives

School and campus transport management

Smart growth Traffic calming Flextime

Smart growth and traffic calming may increase emission rates per vehicle-mile, but tend to reduce per capita emissions.



Transit & HOV improvements

Distance-based fees

Rideshare programs Traffic speed management Freight transport managem


Carfree planning

Parking management & pricing

This table identifies how various mobility management strategies reduce pollution costs.

Conventional transport planning often considers certain pollution costs when evaluating major projects, but not when evaluating smaller projects. Monetized pollution cost estimates typically range from 1¢ to 10¢ per vehicle-mile (Delucchi 1998; Litman 2009). Many of these estimates only account for a portion of total vehicle pollutants (many estimates overlook urban noise, road dust and climate change emissions) and so tend to undervalue the full emission reduction benefits of reduced vehicle mileage.


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