Following an extensive programme of on-road vehicle emissions measurement, Ricardo can today announce that it has measured its 250,000th vehicle – making the Ricardo database the largest UK resource of its type, and providing an unrivalled insight into real-world driving emissions.
Over a period of 12 months, Ricardo’s vehicle emissions teams have deployed the latest remote sensing technology to measure the emissions from passing vehicles over a wide range of weather and road conditions. These measurements have been carefully matched with vehicle information sources to provide an unprecedented level of insight on real-world driving emissions from across the UK fleet.
The database provides insights into the true nature of vehicle emissions, taking into account differences between fuels, powertrain technologies, driving conditions, vehicle age and environmental effects that include ambient temperature and road gradient.
Ricardo is now supporting local authorities and the automotive industry to better understand their own sources of road transport emissions, using these data to inform evidence-based air quality plans. For local authorities the data provides essential information necessary to the development of effective and proportionate air quality management strategies, such as Clean Air Zones. Automotive manufactures are using the data to evaluate the contribution of their vehicles to urban emissions under real driving conditions, providing a granularity of information at manufacturer and model level never previously available.
“It is fantastic to have reached the 250,000 vehicle milestone, which we have achieved thanks to the hard work of our vehicle emissions remote sensing teams and the support of our partners and clients throughout local government and industry”, said Dr David Carslaw, Ricardo’s air quality knowledge leader who is spearheading the remote sensing work. “We have only started to scrape the surface of the insight these data will provide and the opportunities they offer to support improvements in air quality across the UK.”
Over the past 12 months, Dr Carslaw has published several short technical insights and analyses from Ricardo’s emissions research. These include thoughts on how vehicle age and mileage impact emissions, how colder winters affect ambient concentrations of NOx, and exploring what the data tell us about removal of diesel particulate filters within the UK’s vehicle fleet. These insights and more can be accessed for free at
Ricardo is a leading authority in air quality, emissions measurement and modelling. The company is one of the only organisations in the world to offer all three major methods of monitoring vehicle exhaust emissions: chassis dynamometer (rolling road), PEMS and remote-sensing of vehicle emissions. Ricardo provides support on all aspects of air quality management – from building an evidence base through air pollution measurements, modelling and emissions assessments to the development of evidence-based policy, strategy and air quality management plans at local, regional and national scales.
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