Remote sensing of on-road vehicle emissions: Mechanism, applications and a case study from Hong Kong

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Atmospheric Environment, 2018, 182 pp. 58 - 74
Issue Date:
2018-06-01
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© 2018 Elsevier Ltd Vehicle emissions are a major contributor to air pollution in cities and have serious health impacts to their inhabitants. On-road remote sensing is an effective and economic tool to monitor and control vehicle emissions. In this review, the mechanism, accuracy, advantages and limitations of remote sensing were introduced. Then the applications and major findings of remote sensing were critically reviewed. It was revealed that the emission distribution of on-road vehicles was highly skewed so that the dirtiest 10% vehicles accounted for over half of the total fleet emissions. Such findings highlighted the importance and effectiveness of using remote sensing for in situ identification of high-emitting vehicles for further inspection and maintenance programs. However, the accuracy and number of vehicles affected by screening programs were greatly dependent on the screening criteria. Remote sensing studies showed that the emissions of gasoline and diesel vehicles were significantly reduced in recent years, with the exception of NOxemissions of diesel vehicles in spite of greatly tightened automotive emission regulations. Thirdly, the experience and issues of using remote sensing for identifying high-emitting vehicles in Hong Kong (where remote sensing is a legislative instrument for enforcement purposes) were reported. That was followed by the first time ever identification and discussion of the issue of frequent false detection of diesel high-emitters using remote sensing. Finally, the challenges and future research directions of on-road remote sensing were elaborated.
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