The MODALES “focus on” interviews with the project partners are back! The EU project call under which MODALES was funded specified international cooperation, with an emphasis on EU-China cooperation. As a result, MODALES includes two self-funded partners in China: Southeast University (SEU) and Nanjing Sample Technology. As we enter the Chinese New Year, we talked to these two partners, together with UK-based SME Dynnoteq which acts as the main liaison with the Chinese partners. Below, they share more about their contribution to MODALES and their collaboration with the other partners to achieve a reduction of vehicle emissions.

What is the interest and motivation for partners in China to be part of MODALES?

“As a top university in research and development in low-emission transport, Southeast University in Nanjing, China plays an important role in greening road transport and has a long history of research in vehicle emission solutions. The MODALES project provides us with a new opportunity to strengthen our international collaboration by working with international experts in various research areas, ranging from driving behaviour to retrofitting technologies, to achieve the goal of reducing emissions from road vehicles.

In addition to focusing on intelligent transportation and intelligent logistics, Nanjing Sample Technology also provides transportation big data services and has launched a networked urban intelligent transportation management system in Nanjing and several other cities, using new technologies such as the Internet of Things. It has built a data processing centre that not only enables large-scale data collection, storage, analysis and visual operation and maintenance of the network, but also provides real-time monitoring, early warning and diagnosis of the integrity and authenticity of traffic vehicle data. These services contribute to improved public safety and transportation, while also helping environmental authorities to make informative decisions. MODALES’ trials in Nanjing include the collection of real driving data to analyse driving behaviour and vehicle emissions under various traffic conditions from a wide range of vehicles, which is not only in line with the company’s mission but will also help to broaden the use of its data services in the future.”

How do you respond to challenges in order to accomplish tasks as efficiently and effectively as possible?

“Achieving our shared goals and aligning our collaboration with other partners is a challenge, such as the deployment of our time and resources, the systems and platforms we use, and regulatory concerns. Thanks to the MODALES consortium for providing the flexibility and detailed guidance, and to Dynnoteq for their extensive involvement in helping us throughout the project.

Working with Dynnoteq, we have collected data on tampering, inspections, and maintenance in Nanjing through qualitative interviews with staff at vehicle repair companies; and investigated the inspection, tampering and maintenance aspects of Non-Road Mobile Machinery (NRMM)in the EU, the US and China, from regulation to technological controls; and produced recommendations based on our findings.

Due to the limitations of accessing and using the MODALES’ mobile app in China, we have looked for alternative methods to be able to collect real driving data. Therefore, we will be able to assess the effectiveness of the low-emissions training materials developed in this project by analysing changes in driver behaviour to thereby induce changes in emissions from different sources before and after the low-emission driver training.”

From your point of view, how do you think this project can contribute to reducing road traffic emissions in Nanjing and eventually elsewhere in China and other countries which are experiencing rapid economic development and traffic growth?

“While experiencing urbanization and industrialization, in recent years, many Chinese cities are addressing the resulting air pollution problems and developing plans and measures to meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for air pollutant concentrations. The Chinese government has enacted a series of environmental regulations, ranging from technical standards and restrictions to pollution taxes and subsidies.

Nanjing is a heavily industrial but also environmentally sensitive city, and the intensive use of vehicles poses the challenge of excessive emissions from urban road traffic. Recently, the Nanjing Ecological Environment Bureau released the City’s “14th Five-Year Air Pollution Prevention and Control Plan”, which aims to continue and strengthen eight pollution control measures, such as strict implementation of the Inspection and Maintenance system, enforcement and inspections, and emission standards for non-road mobile machinery (NRMM).

MODALES encourages the adoption of low-emission driving behaviours through low-emission driving training and recommendations derived from project results, as well as low-emission driving awareness campaigns, to achieve reductions in exhaust, tyre and brake emissions. These solutions are in line with the air pollution prevention and control initiatives in Nanjing. So far, the low- emission driving training materials, including some of the recommendations, have received initial expert evaluations that are positive, and anticipate that recommendations from the training will be applied. By learning from international practices and tailoring them to local issues, together with increased public awareness of low-emission driving after awareness campaigns, we believe these efforts will help reduce road traffic emissions in other fast-growing cities in China, Asia and other countries which are experiencing rapid economic development and traffic growth.”