Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Lessons learned from vehicle emissions monitoring trials

- To reduce the impact of traffic on the environment.
- To reduce the number of poorly maintained vehicles in Winchester city centre, thereby reducing the level of emissions and pollution.

Before MIRACLES the Winchester Movement and Access Plan successfully developed the Clear Zones initiative, to reduce emissions in the city centre.
In September 2003, Winchester City Council (WCC) made a statutory declaration of an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) for the city centre, due to unacceptable levels of air pollution. An Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) was developed to address these issues. MIRACLES contributed significantly to the development of the AQAP, which incorporates many of the MIRACLES measures
The Emissions Monitoring measure enabled gross-polluters to be directly targeted and strategies aimed at achieving emissions reductions developed.

Description of the implementation
Innovative equipment, originally developed under the EU REVEAL project, was procured from Golden River Traffic Limited and modified to include the monitoring of vehicle speed and acceleration and improve portability. This was interfaced with an automatic number plate recognition system and a mobile variable message sign to be used at the roadside, in order to identify and then inform individual polluters of their emissions,.

Specific test sites were identified, according to best practice in the field of remote sensing. Vehicles were monitored as they entered Winchester along main arterial routes. Measurements were then compared with the United Kingdom s Vehicle Inspectorate MOT test standards to define a cut off point for gross polluters .
A four stage enforcement strategy was designed to encourage voluntary maintenance of high polluting vehicles or to restrict them from the city centre AQMA:
i) use of a mobile VMS at the roadside to inform drivers of the levels of their emissions, whether GOOD, FAIR or POOR;
ii) use of a website based database to list emission readings from individual vehicles;
iii) provide a subsidised emissions check and repair service to high polluting vehicles, and
iv) instruct high polluting vehicles to use Park and Ride instead of travelling into the city centre.
A final stage involving mandatory roadside emissions tests and the issuing of fixed penalty notices to owners of vehicles that failed, was also considered. This would use powers obtained by WCC under Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) (Fixed Penalty) (England) Regulations.
A database of vehicle information was built up from the readings and used to assess the likely impacts of the various enforcement strategies.

Key findings
The percentage of vehicles measured that could be classed as high polluters was very low (approximately 0.1% for CO, 0.4% for HC and 0.01% for NOx). With fewer high polluters than originally anticipated the intended practical evaluation of the feedback strategies was replaced with a detailed, stated preference survey and MIRACLES questionnaires.
Results indicate that regular feedback to vehicle owners on their emissions would be welcomed: 80% agreed with the monitoring of vehicles to reduce pollution; 73% wished to be informed of the vehicle s emissions; 80% would have their vehicle s engine checked if VMS indicated the vehicle s emissions were POOR; 76% would be interested in a subsidy if their vehicle was suspected of having an emissions fault; 72% agreed that suspected high polluters should be encouraged to use Park and Ride; 13%-23% indicated that they would divert to Park and Ride if VMS indicated their vehicle s emissions were POOR, and; 60% would make use of a web-based emissions checking service once a month or less
Links to vehicle records held by regional or national agencies would allow enrichment of the captured records with fuel type, age and emissions standard. This would enable a more targeted approach, allowing the owners of the identified high polluting vehicles to be contacted.

Reported by

Highways and Transport Policy
SO23 8UD Winchester
United Kingdom
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