A Danish newspaper published a piece (in Danish) on their webpage today, detailing how the local council in the Danish capital city, Copenhagen, want to limit the amount of “green time” at intersections leading into the city, on days when there’s a lot of smog. The stated intent is to reduce particle and CO2 pollution, simply by measuring their air pollution and turning the lights red for longer when it reaches a certain limit.
Of course, the person in political charge of the project put a lot of emphasis on the supposed CO2 benefit, making it completely apparent that he hasn’t grasped thing one about CO2 emissions. Driving 10 miles with no traffic jam lets out far less CO2 than driving 10 miles with half an hour of queuing in the middle. People could turn off their engines, sure, but they’re not going to – the queue is likely to be moving ever so slightly once a minute, so turning off the engine would be a waste.
Sure, the particle situation in the inner city might improve. A little. But it’d get a lot worse for the people who’ve chosen to live out of town to get better air, and unless people’s habits change, and they start using public transport – yeah right – it’ll worsen the effect of the cars on the environment, not make anything better.
If you really want to make people use public transportation, improve that, and make it more reliable, instead of just trying to make the potential users’ lives miserable. If public transportation isn’t worth switching to from your car – then that’s because it simply isn’t good enough!