Vehicle emissions produce an important share of a city’s air pollution, with a substantial impact on the environment and human health. Traditional emission estimation methods use remote sensing stations, missing the full driving cycle of vehicles, or focus on a few vehicles. We have used GPS traces and a microscopic model to analyse the emissions of four air pollutants from thousands of private vehicles in three European cities. We found that the emissions across the vehicles and roads are well approximated by heavy-tailed distributions and thus discovered the existence of gross polluters, vehicles responsible for the greatest quantity of emissions, and grossly polluted roads, which suffer the greatest amount of emissions. Our simulations show that emissions reduction policies targeting gross polluters are far more effective than those limiting circulation based on an uninformed choice of vehicles. Our study contributes to shaping the discussion on how to measure emissions with digital data.
Gross polluters and vehicle emissions reduction / Bohm, M.; Nanni, M.; Pappalardo, L.. - In: NATURE SUSTAINABILITY. - ISSN 2398-9629. - (2022). [10.1038/s41893-022-00903-x]