“Georgians spend a major chunk of change on inspections and repairs, so you want to make sure the inspections program is working,” said Michael Rodgers, associate director of the Georgia Tech Research Institute's (GTRI) Aerospace, Transportation and Advanced Systems Laboratory and group leader of air quality research. “We've found that it is indeed reducing vehicle emissions in the region. The state is investing less than 1 percent of the cost of the program to monitor it. So that's a cost-effective solution.”
The numbers tell the story: about 420,000 vehicles assessed for emissions each year at more than 60 monitoring sites, data gathered for at least 100 days a year in the field. Fifteen years of systematic data collection along the roadside, now with a fourth generation of equipment.
It's all to see if the $80 million to $100 million a year Georgians pay for vehicle emissions inspections and repairs is well spent.
These numbers describe the scope and impact of a long-term research study on vehicle emissions and air quality in 21 metro Atlanta counties, plus four more in Macon and Augusta, Ga. The study is meeting the monitoring needs of Georgia's state government and offering significant insights that help direct both research and policy, Rodgers notes.
Rodgers and his team began monitoring vehicle emissions in 1991 with a pilot program that began in the Georgia Tech School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. With funding from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, he and his staff designed the Continuous Atlanta Fleet Evaluation (CAFÉ) study and have systematically collected this data using remote sensing technology since the spring of 1993.
CAFÉ is noted among environmental monitoring programs for the length and depth of the study, Rodgers says. “When you gather systematic data over a long period of time, you can better understand how things change,” he explained. “Over time, you can gradually see how the vehicle fleet changes, how its operation changes and how emissions change.”
The vehicle emissions database has revealed some interesting trends, Rodgers notes. Highlights include:
• In comparison with the late 1970s, total emissions have declined in the 20-county metro area CAFÉ tracks. This measure peaked in the early 1980s and has declined since then, despite a doubling of the Atlanta fleet size. “Whether we can continue this trend indefinitely is a different question as Atlanta continues to grow,” Rodgers said.
• Newer, cleaner-burning fuels have had a very positive effect — comparable to the inspections program — in reducing vehicle emissions.
• Also, only 1 percent of vehicles in the Atlanta fleet now run on carburetor-based systems. The second generation of fuel injection vehicles has helped reduce emissions.
• As vehicles became more durable in the early 1990s, Atlantans kept their automobiles longer. But a new-car-buying trend began in Atlanta by the end of the 1990s and lasted for several years. Even though more vehicles are on the road now, per vehicle emissions has declined by about half. “It's an open question as to what we'll see between 2009 and 2012 when these vehicles are much older,” Rodgers said.
• Researchers monitored the rise of the minivan and the sport utility vehicle (SUV). When they began monitoring, the Atlanta fleet was composed mostly of passenger vehicles and trucks. Minivans became popular in the early 1990s and then SUVs by the mid-1990s. Now, large SUVs, minivans and pick-up trucks dominate the fleet. These vehicle types also have demonstrated a comparable reduction in emissions.
“We've been able to monitor these changes as they have occurred, so it's been enormously enlightening,” Rodgers said. “We're not speculating on whether what we think is true is true; we can actually look at the data.”
Rodgers also conducts research on vehicle emissions modeling under his joint appointment in the Georgia Tech School of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
The Mobile Emission Assessment System for Urban and Regional Evaluation (MEASURE) model he helped develop estimates vehicle production of carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds and oxides of nitrogen in space and time. MEASURE differs from previous models in that it estimates vehicle emissions as a function of vehicle operating modes — such as cruise and idle — rather than average vehicle speeds. Because it is a modal model, researchers believe MEASURE more accurately reflects on-road emissions.
John Toon | EurekAlert!
When corals eat plastics
24.05.2018 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel
The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.
Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
25.05.2018 | Event News
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering
25.05.2018 | Life Sciences