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Drive-By Emissions Tests


Drive-By Emissions Tests

The Auckland Regional Council’s Big Clean Up campaign calls on Aucklanders to tune your vehicle every six months. Smoky vehicles produce far more pollution than well-tuned vehicles.

Air pollution is the silent road killer. An estimated 399 New Zealanders (including 253 Aucklanders) die prematurely every year due to the tiny particulates emitted from motor vehicles. Many more people suffer health problems due to air pollution.

Children and old people, pregnant women, foetuses and people with diabetes and heart disease are particularly at risk of health problems from air pollution.

ARC, in partnership with the National Institute of Water and Atsmospheric Science, (NIWA) is running a drive-by emissions test campaign for most of April.

The drive-by emissions tests are performed by a remote sensor, which has been brought to New Zealand for this project by the University of Denver. Emissions are measured automatically as a vehicle drives past the remote sensor. The emissions are rated as ‘good’, ‘fair’ or ‘poor’. The rating is displayed on a sign about 50m ahead of the remote sensor.

The remote sensor is designed to test vehicles under normal drving conditions so drivers do not need to slow down. The test will not work if you drive too slowly.

Poor means that your vehicle is producing high levels of air pollutants and is in need of repair. This vehicle is operating inefficently and is costing you money.

Fair means that your vehicle may be in need of repair. A well tuned older vehicle may be rated as fair.

Good means that your car is properly tuned. Keep up the good work!

The ARC and NIWA have scheduled drive-by emissions tests all around the Auckland region. The dates and locations for drive by emissions tests will be dependent on weather (the remote sensor does not work in rain).

Questions and Answers

Why is this programme being run?

Vehicles emit pollutants as a result of the fuel that is burned in their engines. These pollutants can cause harm to our environment. Knowing what the vehicle fleet is emitting in to the air has become a vital question for many people and organisations.

This programme is being run to measure the exhaust emissions on a large number of vehicles.

A positive spin-off of the programme is that the driver of every single vehicle that is measured will get a message as to whether their vehicle has ‘good’, ‘fair’ or ‘poor’ emissions. The message will notify the driver of a badly tuned, and in-efficiently run vehicle, which will be costing the motorist money.

How are the measurements being taken?

This project measures vehicle emissions using remote sensing. This involves shining a beam of light across the road on which a vehicle has passed. The pollutants discharged from the vehicle’s exhaust absorb some of the light beam. After the beam of light has passed through the vehicle’s exhaust plume it hits a detector. The detector measures how much light has been absorbed. The difference between the amount of light emitted from the source and that received by the detector allows the amount of pollutants discharged by the car to be determined.

This method has been used extensively in the USA and Europe, but this programme is a first for New Zealand and Australia.

For further technical information on how the instrument operates visit: http:// http://www.esp-global.com

What will the information be used for?

Systems such as this can measure many thousands of vehicles an hour, and provide excellent information on the overall emissions statistics for the vehicle fleet.

The information may be used by:

Scientists and Engineers to assess the localised impacts of vehicles on air quality Ministry of Transport to assess vehicle emissions profiles Ministry for the Environment as an Environmental Performance Indicator of Transport Regional Councils and Territorial Authorises for transport and air quality planning The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority to help achieve Government energy strategies

Will I be dobbed in as a Smoky Vehicle? or Can I be fined?

NO. The specific information collected on your vehicle’s emissions will NOT be used by any government authorities. The information collected will be anonymous and will only be used to contribute to the database on vehicle emissions.

What will the information be used for?

Systems such as this can measure many thousands of vehicles an hour, and provide excellent information on the overall emissions statistics for the vehicle fleet.

The information may be used by: Scientists and Engineers to assess the localised impacts of vehicles on air quality Ministry of Transport to assess vehicle emissions profiles Ministry for the Environment as an Environmental Performance Indicator of Transport Regional Councils and Territorial Authorises for transport and air quality planning The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority to help achieve Government energy strategies

Who is running the Programme?

The Auckland Regional Council has initiated this programme as part of its ‘Big Clean Up’ campaign. The work is being carried out by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) Limited with a funding contribution from the Foundation Research Science and Technology, and assistance from the University of Denver, USA.

The light sources used will not harm your eyes in any way.


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