Real-driving emissions analysis to create national legislation based on remote sensing

The Spanish GovernmentDGT and CIEMAT, worked with Opus RSE to perform a very important remote sensing project in Madrid. 


The CORETRA project aimed to improve air quality through a significant reduction in road traffic emissions based on direct measurement of road emissions.



The final goal:

To create a national legislation based on remote sensing technology

The initiative, launched by the Centre for Energy, Environmental and Technological Research of Spain (Ciemat), followed the guidelines set out in the Air Plan 2013, which defined the use of remote measurement techniques for the identification of "high emitting" vehicles, with the intention of eliminating them from the current fleet or correcting their emissions.


The project was executed in 4 months around the city of Madrid, covering a total of 28 different locations and analyzing more than 195.000 vehicles.


The study included collecting data at a wide range of speeds and accelerations.

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1.  The gap between the Euro Standard limts and the real-driving emissions is increasing with time. Newer vehicles does not imply lower emissions. Particularly significant is the high NO levels for diesel passenger cars.


2.  Identifying only 6,4% of the most emitting vehicles (HE), a reduction in CO, HC and NO of 39,5%38,3% and 19,1% respectively can be achieved.


3.  Within the HE group (6,4%), 25,6% are Euro 5 diesel passenger cars


4.  Repairing the most emitting vehicles (6,4%) would result, at National level:

  • Reduction of 266.685 tons of CO per year.
  • Reduction of 16.943 tons of HC per year.
  • Reduction of 229.807 tons of NO per year.
  • Emissions savings of 14,8% for CO, 2,8% for HC and 22,7% for NO compared to the “Inventory of Air Emissions in Spain” (MAGRAMA, 2012)”
  • Emissions reduction would result in more than 1.700 M€ savings.

National legislation

The project results showed that the existing regulations regarding technical approvals and inspections of vehicles in Spain are not sufficient to solve the real problem of air pollution, since the circulation of high emitting vehicles cannot be avoided.


Therefore, Opus RSE and Ciemat defined the limits of each pollutant, above which a vehicle will be determined as HE, when measured by an RSD.


After CORETRA project, the Spanish Goverment has created a draft legislation, which includes RSD technology for measuring and identifying high emitters, that has not yet been published definitively:


“Draft Royal Decree regulating the emission of pollutants from the engines of vehicles on public roads”



This decree specifies:


"This royal decree provides for the possibility of emissions control to be carried out not only by traffic authorities, but also by remote sensing equipment. This means that automating the control of pollutant emissions from vehicle engines is possible, something already planned for commercial vehicles circulating on Spanish territory. As a further development of this emission control, this royal decree establishes the maximum emissions values for the detection of highly polluting vehicles, for emission regulations to be complied with by motor vehicles."

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