Ricardo’s emissions database reaches 250,000 vehicles

Following an extensive programme of on-road vehicle emissions measurement, environmental consultancy Ricardo has announced that it has measured its 250,000th vehicle.

Ricardo launched its vehicle emission measurement service in April 2017. The system uses absorption spectroscopy to monitor and record emissions such as NOx and NO2 from a vehicle’s exhaust as it passes by a road-side sensor. It then matches these data to vehicle characteristics such as engine type and age.

Ricardo has characterised emissions from over 250,000 vehicles since the launch of its vehicle emission measurement service in April 2017

Measurements have been 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, technologies, driving conditions, vehicle age and environmental effects that include ambient temperature and road gradient.

The Ricardo database is the largest UK resource of its type, offering an insight into real-world vehicle emissions, the consultancy claims.


Ricardo is 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 information necessary to the development of effective and proportionate air quality management strategies, such as Clean Air Zones. Automotive manufacturers 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, Ricardo says.

Commenting on the quarter-of-a-million vehicle milestone, Dr David Carslaw, Ricardo’s air quality knowledge leader, said: “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

“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.”

Dr Carslaw has offered a number of technical insights and analyses from Ricardo’s emissions research, to date, including 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.

Ricardo offers all three major methods of monitoring vehicle exhaust emissions: rolling road, PEMS and remote-sensing of vehicle emissions as well as providing support on all aspects of air quality management —air pollution measurement, modelling and emissions assessments and strategy development and air quality management plans at local, regional and national scales.

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