University of Oulu

Mira Hulkkonen, Tero Mielonen, Nønne L. Prisle, The atmospheric impacts of initiatives advancing shifts towards low-emission mobility: A scoping review, Science of The Total Environment, Volume 713, 2020, 136133, ISSN 0048-9697,

The atmospheric impacts of initiatives advancing shifts towards low-emission mobility : a scoping review

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Author: Hulkkonen, Mira1; Mielonen, Tero2; Prisle, Nønne L.1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, P.O. Box 8000, FI-90014 Oulu, Finland
2Kuopio Unit, Finnish Meteorological Institute, P.O. Box 1627, Kuopio FI-70211, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 5.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2020
Publish Date: 2021-12-26


In an urban environment, people’s daily traffic choices are reflected in emissions and the resulting local air composition, or air quality. Traffic contributes to the emissions of both carbon dioxide (CO₂), affecting climate, and particulate matter (PM), affecting atmospheric chemistry and human health. While the development of city infrastructure is not in the hands of individuals, it is their transport mode choices that constitute traffic. In this scoping review we analyse 108 initiatives from around the world potentially influencing individual travel behaviour and producing changes in the shares of different transport modes (modal shifts). The targets, types and techniques of initiatives are identified. Examples of economic, regulative, structural and persuasive initiatives are included. Special focus is on whether the impacts on CO₂ emissions, PM emissions and/or PM concentrations have been quantitatively evaluated, and on the quality and results of the evaluations. We observe that a variety of targets can motivate actions that lead to modal shifts and emission reductions. The results indicate that the level of atmospheric evaluations is low: absolute or relative changes in emissions and/or concentrations had been evaluated for only 31% (N = 34) of the reviewed initiatives, with substantial heterogeneity in quality. Sanctions, such as congestion charge and restrictions, have more likely been evaluated in peer reviewed analyses than incentives. Scientific evaluations of impacts on ambient PM concentrations are especially scarce (N = 4), although Air Quality is the primary target of 13% of actions and secondary target for at least 12%. We discuss the determinants of success and failure, when it comes to different types of initiatives, emission reductions and evaluations. A high-quality evaluation of atmospheric impacts captures the following: correct data about the modal shift (rate and direction), exclusion of external factors affecting the shift and emissions, and possible indirect impacts of the shift.

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Series: Science of the total environment
ISSN: 0048-9697
ISSN-E: 1879-1026
ISSN-L: 0048-9697
Volume: 713
Article number: 136133
DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.136133
Type of Publication: A2 Review article in a scientific journal
Field of Science: 114 Physical sciences
Funding: M. Hulkkonen and N.L. Prisle gratefully acknowledge funding from the Academy of Finland programme Novel Applications of Artificial Intelligence in Physical Sciences and Engineering (AIPSE), Grant No. 316743. This research has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme, Project SURFACE (Grant Agreement No. 717022). T. Mielonen would like to acknowledge funding from the Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in Atmospheric Science (272041).
EU Grant Number: (717022) SURFACE - The unexplored world of aerosol surfaces and their impacts.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 316743
Detailed Information: 316743 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2019. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license