Poor air quality is a major issue. Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) is a key contributor to outdoor air pollution. Long-term exposure to high levels of NOx is linked to a range of adverse health outcomes, including respiratory conditions, as well as stroke, ischemic heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and lung cancer. New research by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) estimates that 11,400 early deaths in Europe each year are linked to ‘excess’ diesel NOx emissions – emissions under real-world driving conditions above legal limits.
Vehicles contribute around 50% of urban NOx in major cities such as London and Paris. However, policies to address their contribution are complicated by the huge gaps which exist between the tested and real world values for these emissions. The ‘Dieselgate’ scandal which broke in 2015 provided concrete evidence of the gap between real world vehicle emissions and emissions produced under vehicle compliance tests. This gap had been documented in other ways and at other times, but the deliberate cheat which was inherent in that scandal gave huge prominence to the issue.
Wider concerns about the quality of urban air, its impact on the health of millions of people, and the evidence of early deaths and chronic illnesses caused by vehicle pollutants is the context for urgent action to address this issue.
In 2016 The FIA Foundation – which is working to reduce air pollution from vehicles as part of its safe, clean, fair and green mobility agenda -held an expert seminar to plan a response to the Dieselgate emissions scandal. A key conclusion of the discussion which is contained within the report ‘Can we prevent another Dieselgate?’ was:
“an independent, global, real-world testing initiative is a necessary, important step towards providing improved consumer information regarding emissions.”
The TRUE initiative exists to address this conclusion through collection of real world data on vehicle emissions, research and advocacy. Learn more in our leaflet 'The Real Urban Emissions Initiative - TRUE: Exposing real-world vehicle emissions'.