Mobility Analytics Blog

StreetLight Data Blog

The latest news about Big Data and mobility analytics.

Allison DenBleyker, John Koupal, and Laura Schewel

Blog Feature

Big Data  |  Performance Measurement  |  Smart Cities  |  Transportation

Big Data and Air Quality: Understanding Vehicle Emissions

This year, the Eastern Research Group (ERG), Coordinating Research Council (CRC), and StreetLight Data teamed up to validate one of the big as yet unmet promises for Big Data – the ability to better model and thus manage criteria pollutant air emissions from vehicles.

The results of our work show that using Big Data to model emissions at the county level is more accurate than industry-standard practices today. Of three different counties we analyzed, we found that:

  • Two counties would have overestimated their emissions if they used the industry-standard approach, and
  • One would have underestimated emissions by as much as 14% for a typical day and up to 110% in an individual hour.

Modeling emissions accurately matters: It allows air quality models to better predict concentrations of the regulated air pollutants ground-level ozone and particulate matter in different counties, which informs air quality planning and control strategies at the local level. In this blog post, we will walk you through the new methodology and some of our key findings.

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