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Roads could be covered with 'tunnels' to absorb pollution

Major roads could be turned into tunnels covered with pollution-absorbing material in an effort to cut emission fumes and improve air quality. Highways Agency officials are studying a Dutch scheme in which cantilevered canopies are constructed over the most polluted sections of road to prevent local residents breathing in noxious car fumes.

The tunnel plans are outlined in an air improvement strategy plan to help reduce pollution. Officials say they are investing millions of pounds in new technology to improve air quality around roads in the next five years. The Department of Transport predicts traffic volumes are expected to increase by 55% between 2010 and 2040.

Highways officials said they have also trialled two different types of barriers. The first, featuring wood panels 4 metres and 6 metres high, were fitted to the M62 near junction 18 in Manchester.

A second trial, which is ongoing, features a 3 metre high fence coated in a mineral polymer material capable of absorbing nitrogen dioxide.

“The best solution to accommodating the extra traffic on our roads, without negatively impacting on air quality, is cleaner low-emission vehicles. In the meantime, we are investing £100m to test new ideas including less-polluting fuels and road barriers which can absorb harmful emissions,” said an agency spokesman.

Source: The Guardian


Poland cutting roads budget for 2018

The Polish Government intends to lower its road development budget for 2018. The country intends to spend close to €875 million on upgrades to the national road network, a drop of €110.83 million from 2017. This budget reduction marks a notable change as the Polish Government has (until now) been steadily increasing spending on road development over successive years from 2010. The Ministry of Infrastructure and Development is requesting that the Ministry of Finance should increase the budget however.

Source: WorldHighways


The world’s most dangerous roads: WHO report

A new report from the World Health Organisation (WHO) identifies the most dangerous countries in the world to travel by road. According to the report, Venezuela now has the highest level of road fatalities, with 45.1 deaths/million of population. Libya previously held the top slot for the world’s most dangerous roads, but has seen major improvements in road safety now moving it down in terms of risk to 49th place. Thailand however has seen no such improvement and retains its slot as the country with the second highest level of road fatalities in the world at 35 deaths/million of population. Malawi is in third place and has 33.7 road deaths/million of population while Liberia is in fourth place and has 33.2 road deaths/million of population. Of note is that of the 20 countries in the world with the most dangerous roads, 16 are in Africa (this includes Madagascar in 18th place).

Meanwhile Monaco has the lowest rate of road fatalities, with no deaths at all recorded in the WHO survey, followed by Micronesia in second place, with just 1.9 road deaths/million of population. Sweden is in third place and has just 2.8 road deaths/million of population, followed by Kiribati and the UK, in equal fourth place and each with 2.9 road deaths/million of population. Of the 20 countries in the world with the safest roads, 16 are in Europe.

 Source: WorldHighways


Calabria to invest in ambitious Magna Grecia cycle path

Italy’s Calabria region has estimated it will need around €150 million to create one of Europe’s longest paved cycle paths, the Magna Grecia.

The 1,000km route would also need involvement from the neigbouring regions of Basilicata - also known as Lucania – to the north and the island of Sicily to the south.

Calabria, which occupies the so-called toe of the country’s boot-shaped peninsula, is one of Italy’s sunniest and hottest regions. Geography ranges from rugged mountains to dramatic coastlines along the Tyrrhenian Sea and Ionian Sea.

 Source: WorldHighways