Capturing the variability in instantaneous vehicle emissions based on field test data

Zhiqiang Zhai, Ran Tu, Junshi Xu, An Wang, Marianne Hatzopoulou

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Emission models are important tools for traffic emission and air quality estimates. Existing instantaneous emission models employ the steady-state "engine emissions map" to estimate emissions for individual vehicles. However, vehicle emissions vary significantly, even under the same driving conditions. Variability in the emissions at a specific driving condition depends on various influencing factors. It is important to gain insight into the effects of these factors, to enable detailed modeling of individual vehicle emissions. This study employs a portable emissions measurement system (PEMS), to collect vehicle emissions including the corresponding parameters of engine condition, vehicle activity, catalyst temperature, geography, and meteorology, to analyze the variability in emission rates as a function of those factors, across different vehicle specific power (VSP) categories. We observe that carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and particle number emissions are strongly correlated with engine parameters (engine speed, torque, load, and air-fuel ratio) and vehicle activity parameters (vehicle speed and acceleration). In the same VSP bin, emissions per second on highways and ramps are higher than those on arterial roads, and the emissions when the vehicle is traveling downhill tend to be higher than the emissions during uphill traveling, because of higher observed speeds and accelerations. Morning emissions are higher than afternoon emissions, due to lower temperatures.

Original languageEnglish
Article number765
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Emission rate
  • Emission variability
  • Instantaneous emissions
  • PEMS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)


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