The 2021 World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems and Services took place in Hamburg from 11 to 15 October, with over 13,000 participants, a major achievement in view of Covid concerns, travel restrictions and following the required health measures in Germany. MODALES was part of the action with a special session entitled “Intelligent systems to help drivers and road authorities reduce pollutant emissions: Beyond eco-driving” on 12 October as well as a project booth within the ERTICO stand.
In the special session, MODALES teamed up with sister EU-funded projects uCARe and CARES, as well as the company HERE. The session, moderated by ERTICO’s Jean-Charles Pandazis, focused on complementary approaches showing how ITS can be used in a practical way to influence drivers and assist authorities in order to improve air quality.
The uCARe project (“You Can Always Reduce Emissions”) was presented by project coordinator Norbert Ligterink from TNO. This EU project was awarded within the same call and topic as MODALES and its overall ambition to reduce overall pollutant emissions of the existing vehicle fleet is the same. Its approach however focuses more on providing vehicle users with simple, insightful, and effective tools to decrease their individual emissions. The project also supports stakeholders with an interest in local air quality in selecting feasible intervention strategies that lead to the desired user behaviour. The challenge is that around 80% of pollutant emissions are caused by only 20% of the vehicles (driving behaviour or maintenance state). After determining pollutant emissions data for specific vehicles and the potential for reduction by different car users, the project went on to provide simple instructions and low-cost tools to achieve reductions, including 6 simple tests on cars that people can perform themselves. Pilots are now being carried out to obtain feedback and to assess achieved emission reductions and overall impact.
For MODALES, Andrew Winder (MODALES Project Coordinator from ERTICO) explained the project background, the low-emission driving app, online training and the trials of the app and training in city-regions across Europe and in China. Haibo Chen (from the Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds), then described the MODALES approach to the monitoring and modelling of emissions from the powertrain (exhaust emissions), brakes and tyres, as well as driving behaviour factors. He also outlined MODALES’ work on retrofits for NOx reduction from diesel engines. His conclusions were that the correlation of driving behaviour variability with emissions from powertrain, brakes and tyres can be quantified with high accuracy; inspection and auto-tampering measures as well as maintenance are important but difficult to quantify; and NOx after-treatment systems or retrofits are highly effective when exhaust temperature is high.
Åke Sjödin from IVL – the Swedish Environmental Research Institute – presented the CARES project (City Air Remote Emission Sensing). This project from the same EU Call as MODALES and uCARe, but covering a slightly different topic, is working on reducing the hurdles for practical applications of Remote Emission Sensing (RES) and to make it a widespread means of both monitoring and enforcing improvements in road vehicle emissions. Existing detection systems only provide a snapshot of the situation. Therefore CARES is working on hardware development (plume chasing and point sampling); software and data platform development; demonstrations in three polluted cities (Krakow, Prague and Milan); and user toolboxes and guidance. The latter includes the openCARES software package, a user guidance document for RES measurements and data analysis and interpretation; and characterisation of high-emitting vehicles and their impact on emissions and air quality in polluted cities.
The final presentation was from Matthias Mann who outlined the Air Quality Solutions for environmentally-sensitive traffic management from HERE Technologies and Bosch. This is based mainly on input from vehicle probe data and can provide detailed insights into NOx, PM (tailpipe) and CO2 emissions and features a modular approach using certified Air Quality measurement boxes and dispersion calculation. In particular, the HERE/Bosch system enables emission hotspot identification and permits before and after analysis to evaluate the impact of traffic measures. It can therefore support traffic management aimed at smoothening traffic flow and demand distribution.
These three projects as well as the HERE/Bosch solution offer complementary solutions to emission reduction and focus on solutions which are workable in real-life situations. A challenge is to effectively reach out to drivers, many of whom may have a low level of understanding or interest in pollutant emissions or who may have little incentive or motivation to change their driving style. The uCARe project in particular looks at the psychological challenge of engaging with vehicle users, developing engaging and effective campaigns. MODALES is testing a simple and user-friendly app in several countries. Nevertheless, different approaches are needed for different segments: drivers of different types and ages of vehicle, drivers with different styles and levels of experience and of motivation. One size cannot fit all. On the public authority level, engagements with cities, regions and governments is important so that low-emission practices and solutions to improve detection can be integrated into clean air and urban mobility strategies.
Further dialogue will take place between MODALES, uCARe and CARES in the months to come, sharing experiences, results and good practice for the mutual benefit of all the project teams and for a cleaner environment.
In addition to the above session, MODALES was present on the ERITICO stand in the central exhibition hall of the Congress, with project information, leaflets/postcards and our new teaser video, also available here.