Investment in road infrastructure will be critical in developing a low-carbon transport network, according to a report from the Institute of Civil Engineers.
The ICE response to the Building a Sustainable Future report from the government’s chief construction adviser, Paul Morrell, also proposed the introduction of a booking system for motorists wanting to use congested roads.
But the meat of the proposals suggests ways of alleviating “carbon pinch points” where cars are forced to wastefully stop and start.
Chair of the report working group Tim Chapman said: “We really need to challenge current thinking if we are to reduce emissions from infrastructure on the scale needed.”
The report advocates the introduction of measures which will improve traffic flow, such as bridges and relief roads to help traffic join busy thoroughfares.
My Chapman said: “Roundabouts, traffic lights, steep gradients and other features that require vehicle engines to work harder all exacerbate carbon emissions.
“It’s time we looked at addressing these ‘carbon pinch points’ on major routes where a combination of relatively small, targeted interventions could make significant long-term carbon savings and improve the performance both socially and economically of vital infrastructure assets.”
The report added that traffic reduction methods would also be required.
It said: “Reducing the number of users and the associated congestion at peak times will be crucial to manage increasing demand. We need to explore if and how peoples’ road usage could be better managed - perhaps by introducing a range of tariffs for different times of the day with higher fares for peak time journeys or even considering a system similar to rail travel where passengers are required to ‘book’ their car travel using emerging new technologies.
“User tariffs have been unpopular, partially because they have been seen as a new tax but also because the benefits haven’t been explained – most people would like their journeys to be more reliable and these new technologies can make that happen.”