AbstractA one-way traffic strategy is widely used in densely populated urban areas to improve traffic efficiency, but its environmental impacts remain largely unclear. This study investigated the effects of a one-way traffic strategy on vehicle emissions along a busy traffic corridor in Xi’an, China. This was done by integrating the traffic flow model calibrated by onsite traffic data and the emission model. The detour distance estimation method was proposed so that the emission trade-offs between increased vehicle miles traveled (VMTs) and improved traffic efficiency on one-way traffic corridors could be uncovered. Empirical results showed that one-way traffic cut down the total CO2 emissions by 11.8%, and reduced the CO, hydrocarbon (HC), and NOx emissions by 4.7%–25.0%. However, such emission reduction capacity gradually weakened and even completely dissipated with the increase of traffic demand on the corridor. When the road volume-to-capacity ratio (V/C > 0.87), one-way traffic was no longer a greener traffic organization. With the promotion of mitigation policies and technologies, one-way traffic is expected to further reduce CO2 emissions by 4.7%–10.9% and CO, HC, and NOx emissions by 8.4%–41.1%. In addition, there was a total of 456 vehicles detours with an overall detour distance of 316.8 km, which resulted in a doubling of the emissions of detour vehicles. Although the implementation of one-way traffic brings environmental benefits, the detour problem should also be taken seriously. This study provides convincing evidence for understanding the emission changes on traffic corridors caused by one-way traffic conversion to support the promotion of eco-friendly traffic organization for realizing the goal of carbon peaking.

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