Air quality and pollutant emissions from transport

Air quality and pollutant emissions from transport - Ifsttar - Air quality and pollutant emissions from transport_img

Left to right: J-B Kovarik, - K-E Kemper - B. Buchmann - E. Sanchez Triana - S. Khardi

IFSTTAR and the World Bank signed an agreement - Press release November 16th, 2017

On 15 November 2017, Ifsttar, France’s primary public institution for transportation, sustainable citiesand civil engineering, and the World Bank signed an agreement in Zürich that aims to pool their scientificresources in the field of pollutant emissions from transportation activities.

Every city suffers from the density of motor vehicle traffic and air pollution. Increased concentrations of atmosphericpollutants is a recognised factor that contributes to health, environmental and climate risks.

Air pollution, in particular small particles, has been blamed for almost 400,000 [1] premature deaths amongst Europe’sadult population. In all cities, air pollution is one of the major issues with regard to public health and environmentaldamage. Large metropolises have very high levels of particulate pollution, above the WHO’srecommended limits. The health and environmental impacts in emerging and developing countries are eithercatastrophic, or not assessed.

Road transport is a non exclusive but still major source of these particulate emissions. They are produced bycombustion, abrasion and the resuspension of particles on the road surface. Highway particulate emissionsundoubtedly contribute to the increase in respiratory and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, transporting avariety of toxic, carcinogenic or mutagenic substances.

While tailpipe emissions are the subject of a considerable amount of study, the same does not apply to nontailpipeemissions. They nevertheless could play a significant role in the impairment of urban air quality. Thus,in the area immediately around traffic signals, abrasion and resuspension emissions are higher than tailpipeemissions. Air pollution measurements in Europe indicate that they are responsible for as many PM10 particles as chimneys. In Europe, non-tailpipe emissions are expected to rise in the coming years.

For a number of years, Ifsttar has conducted a large amount of research into pollution due to tailpipe and nontailpipetransport emissions, in the laboratory, on test tracks and roadsides with a view to characterising thephysical properties of the particles emitted by vehicles. This research [2] is supported by the public authorities,for example the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME) and the French NationalAgency for Research (ANR).

In this framework, Ifsttar and the World Bank signed an agreement in Zurich whose primary goal was to carryout a detailed analysis of un-regulated pollutants emitted from transport and the various technologies that areproposed to cut them, air quality, and the impact of public policies. Comparisons will be made between European,emerging and developing countries without regulations in this area, and recommendations will be drafted.In this way, World Bank, experts and Ifsttar researchers will join together to gain a comprehensive understandingof the air pollution due to transport, in particular with a view to monitoring real vehicle emissions. Via the WorldBank, expertise will be made available to states wishing to acquire regulations similar to those of EuropeanUnion members and the United States, or simply put in place air quality monitoring systems that enable themto a produce an objective appraisal based on scientific data and knowledge. Specific studies will be carried outof the spatial, socio-economic, public policy aspects of sustainable, decarbonised, cities. The work will be performedfrom the perspective of developing new scientific knowledge, traffic management, intelligent transportsystems, legislation, economic and health impacts, the perception of air quality or the impact of teleworkingand green mobility...

The agreement that has been signed between Ifsttar and the World Bank thus enriches the research and appraisallandscape in a number of areas:

  • Atmospheric pollution in cities,
  • Sustainable cities and the contribution of scientific knowledge that is integrated with technological systems(contribution to social debates, economics and employment),
  • The behaviour of citizens with regard to the impacts of pollutants on health, the environment and the climate,
  • Technologies for monitoring and mitigating pollutant emissions,
  • Integrated green transport,
  • Transport policies, socio-economic forecasts and challenges.

Download the press release - November 16th, 2017 [.pdf]

[1] 2017 figure provided by the European Environmental Agency (EEA)


Photo: Left to right: Jean-Bernard Kovarik, deputy Director, Ifsttar - Karen Erika Kemper, Senior Director, Environment and naturel Ressources Global Pratice, World Bank - Brigitte Buchmann, Member of Board Directors EMPA, Head of Department Mobility, Energy and Environment - Ernesto Sanchez Triana, Director of programs; responsible for international environmental actions, World Bank - Salah Khardi, Research Director, Transport and Environment Laboratory (LTE), Ifsttar