From Iceland — Winter Tires Have Huge Impact On Air Pollution

Winter Tires Have Huge Impact On Air Pollution

Published November 30, 2020

Photo by
Art Bicnick

A recent study has shown that studded tires have the greatest effect on the formation of particulate matter caused by traffic in the capital area, Kjarninn reports.

The use of studded tires must be significantly reduced if the Icelandic government are to achieve their goal that by 2029 there will be no day when particulate matter caused by traffic exceeds defined health protection limits in the capital area.

It is also suggested that the number of cars on the road must be reduced by 15% and that the use of a harder mineral in road surfaces would also be beneficial.

In addition to these long-term measures, short-term measures could also be taken, such as banning the use of half the cars on the road during days when air quality is poor, or wetting streets and reducing traffic speeds.

Results of the study also show that the type of road surface, traffic volume, traffic speeds and the salting or rinsing of roads play a part in the amount of particulates formed. Studded winter tires, however, are the greatest factor.

Assuming that traffic continues to be as high as it is today, the maximum usage of studded tires in winter needs to be cut from 46% to 15%. The lowest average percentage of studded tire use in recent years was in 2011-2012 when it fell to 23%.

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