Capabilities and Limitations of Telematics for Vehicle Emissions Inventories

Eastern Research Group, Inc. evaluated the current state of personal vehicle telematics data with respect to emission inventory development, identifying relative strengths and weaknesses, and how these data could align better with the needs of emission modelers. A market survey of telematics firms provided an overview of available data, and identified several candidate sources for location-based and engine-based telematics data on personal vehicles. Data were then purchased from three different vendors: StreetLight Data, Moonshadow Mobile, and Otonomo. These data were applied in case studies conducted in the Denver metro area, U.S., to assess strengths and weaknesses of telematics for developing emission inventories. Case studies included using telematics to estimate regional vehicle miles traveled (VMT) for annual emission inventories; tracking the VMT impacts of COVID shutdown; generating location- and time-specific vehicle activity inputs for project scale “hot spot” air quality analysis; and estimating the distribution of fuel fill level from real-world data, which is important for evaporative emissions. These case studies confirmed that telematics can serve a growing range of emission inventory use cases, and use of these data may help improve emission inventory accuracy. However, there are also several limitations of the data to consider in preparing emission inventories; for example, it can be difficult to assess the representativeness of telematics data because of a lack of vehicle information. The authors encourage telematics firms to cater data products more directly to the needs of emission inventory modelers, to better harness the enormous potential of these data for refining vehicle emission inventory estimates.

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    • To access study data and results, please contact John Koupal ( © National Academy of Sciences: Transportation Research Board 2021.
  • Authors:
    • Koupal, John W
    • DenBleyker, Allison
    • Manne, Gopi
    • Batista, Maia Hill
    • Schmitt, Thomas
  • Publication Date: 2022-3


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01764032
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: TRBAM-21-03038
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Feb 4 2021 10:57AM