China has allocated low-carbon targets into all regions and trades, and road traffic also has its own emission reduction targets. Congestion may increase carbon emissions from road traffic. It is worthwhile to study whether it is possible to achieve the goal of road traffic reduction by controlling congestion; that is, to achieve the equilibrium between traffic congestion and a low-carbon economy. The innovation of this paper is mainly reflected in the innovative topic selection, the introduction of a traffic index, and the establishment of the first traffic congestion and low-carbon economic equilibrium model. First, the relevant calculation method of the traffic index is introduced, and the traffic index is used to quantify the traffic congestion degree. Using the traffic index, GDP, and road passenger traffic volume, a nonlinear regression model of road traffic carbon emissions is constructed. Then, the calculation method of the carbon emission intensity of road traffic in the region is proposed. The equilibrium model of traffic congestion and a low-carbon economy is constructed to look for the degree of road traffic congestion that may occur under the permitted carbon emission intensity. Taking Beijing, where electric vehicles account for less than 3% of the total vehicles, as an example, it is difficult to achieve the equilibrium target between road traffic congestion and a low-carbon economy by alleviating traffic congestion in 2020. If the target of traffic carbon emission reduction in 2020 is adjusted from 40%–45% to 19.7% based on 2005, the equilibrium will be achieved. A negative correlation between road traffic carbon emissions and the reciprocal of the traffic index (1/TI) is found after eliminating the effects of GDP and PTV (road passenger traffic volume). As the traffic index decreases by units, the carbon emission reduction accelerates. The results show that carbon reduction targets cannot be simply allocated to various industries. The results of the research on the degree of the impact of traffic congestion on carbon emissions can be used as a basis for carbon reduction decisions of the traffic sector. The research method of this paper can provide a reference for the study of the equilibrium of traffic congestion and a low-carbon economy in other regions.


  • Being low carbon has become a common concern of the whole world

  • This paper aims to find a balance between traffic congestion and a low-carbon economy by establishing an equilibrium model to provide guidance on carbon emission reduction of road traffic in Beijing and other regions

  • In the case of known Gross Domestic Product (GDP), passenger traffic volume (PTV), and Traffic index (TI), a traffic congestion and low-carbon economic equilibrium model was established to achieve a balance between a low-carbon economy and traffic congestion

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Being low carbon has become a common concern of the whole world. China has put low carbon into the hard constraints of economic development. In China, some urban traffic congestion problems represented by Beijing are becoming more and more prominent, which brings great resistance to carbon emission reduction in road traffic. Beijing is the capital of China, with a permanent resident population of 21.707 million at the end of 2017 It has 22,242 km of road mileage, 6360 km of urban road, 450.117 million road passenger traffic volume, 193.737 million tons of road freight traffic volume, and 5.638 million civil vehicles [1]. Since 2017, an average of 725,000 traffic permits for vehicles to Beijing per week have been processed [2]. These vehicles bring serious traffic congestion, and emit a lot of air pollutants. Road traffic congestion has occurred in advance, resulting in slow dissipation of road network vehicles during the morning and evening peak hours and prolonging the time of congestion [4,5]


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