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Is speed the key to slashing emissions?

06 January 2009

Could intelligent speed adaptation, which limits how fast we can drive, help to reduce the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the nation’s cars? According to a recently issued joint report from the Commission for Integrated Transport and the Motorists’ Forum, fewer emissions could be one of the many benefits of adapting such a system.

A report evaluated the entire UK road network and looked at the impact of introducing an Intelligent Speed Adaptation system to reduce deaths, slash fuel consumption and cut CO2 emissions.

The systems use navigation devices that incorporate speed limit as a road attribute to compare the local speed limit to the vehicle speed. The system detects the road on which the vehicle is travelling and its speed without any user intervention.

To help the driver the system takes three forms: an advisory system that features an audible or visual warning when speed limits are surpassed; a voluntary system that controls the maximum speed based on location; and a mandatory system which uses a speed limiting function that the driver cannot override.

Research found that in addition to saving lives and reducing accidents, the system could also cut CO2 emissions. On 70mph roads, there is potential for substantial reduction in the region of 5.8 per cent with a mandatory intelligent speed adaptation system.

Universal introduction of a mandatory intelligent speed adaptation system could eliminate nearly 29 per cent of injury accidents and has the potential to reduce the greatest number of accidents on 30mph roads, according to the report.

What do you think about the idea to introduce an intelligent speed adaptation system? Is it a good idea due to the lives it could save and the environmental benefits? Or is this another example of “Big Brother” style intervention controlling our actions? Leave a comment with your thoughts.

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