Explore the world of the MODALES project with this interview featuring ERTICO. In their role of project coordinators, Andrew Winder and Jean-Charles Pandazis take us through the project’s vision and future activities that will improve drivers’ behaviour and lower emissions.

As project coordinator, how is ERTICO pushing forward the work of MODALES?
‘We contribute to project management, but also coordinate the communication and dissemination activities. We also assisted in defining low-emission factors and developing the Evaluation Plan for the project, which will be used to guide a series of on-road trials during 2021. These trials, for which ERTICO will lead the ramp-up activity, will feature short training on low-emission driving and a smartphone app developed by MODALES partners to assist in low-emission driving in real time. Drivers in eight city-regions in Europe and one in China will drive without this training and app for several months for their normal everyday trips, and then for some months with the training and app. Driving behavioural elements, which affect emissions will be monitored using an OBD (On-Board Diagnostics) dongle before and after the training and app use.”

ERTICO is known to work also on clean mobility projects and strategies. How does MODALES fit into ERTICO priorities?
‘ERTICO’s activities in ITS innovation (including projects and platforms) cover four broad focus areas: Connected and Automated Driving, Transport and Logistics, Urban Mobility, and Clean Mobility. MODALES contributes to the latter theme. Clean Mobility activities include on the one hand the contribution of ITS to electro-mobility in the road sector (for example reducing barriers to charging electric vehicles, ensuring interoperability of services, raising awareness of light EV s and micro-mobility), and on the other hand using ITS to reduce emissions from conventional Internal Combustion Engine vehicles, improving air quality.
MODALES follows on from the successful EU-funded projects eCoMove (coordinated by ERTICO) and ecoDriver (coordinated by the University of Leeds), which ended in 2015 and 2016 respectively. One of ERTICO’s key interests in the area of ITS for clean mobility is to generate reliable evidence of the effects, benefits, costs and success conditions of different solutions, whether aimed at vehicle performance or user behaviour. To this effect, a common methodology framework to assess the effects of different applications and technologies is desirable, to allow comparisons to be made between project results and products, as well as to ascertain the most effective solutions for a given circumstance (city or region, network type, vehicle type or user type). The Evaluation work-package of MODALES contributes towards this goal and builds on successful evaluation and impact assessment work in other projects.’

What impact do certain driving behaviours have on the environment?
‘Behavioural aspects like quick change of acceleration, speed (average and variation in speed), unappropriated braking, gear use and cornering affect emissions from the exhaust of ICE vehicles, as well as particle emissions from the brakes and tyres of all types of vehicles. Two other aspects, often overlooked, are good maintenance of vehicles (for example particle filters of diesel vehicles); and measures to discourage, detect and penalise illegal tampering of vehicle emission control systems. MODALES has produced three comprehensive reports on behavioural aspects, which are available in the Library section of the MODALES website. Anyone who is interested in knowing more is welcomed to visit this section.’

What makes MODALES special?
‘Several projects in the past have worked on the topic of eco-driving, and different commercial applications are also available, from eco-driving assistance integrated into vehicles to after-market and smartphone app-based tools. These generally focus on saving fuel and reducing CO2 emissions, while MODALES takes such developments a step further, focusing on air quality and aiming to reduce pollutant emissions such as NOx and particle matter. The low-emission driving app that is being developed by MODALES partner LIST (Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology) will be a local application, and not one that is based on online services, which are rarely adapted to real-time assistance. Importantly, MODALES does not only deal with powertrain emissions but also those from brakes and tyres. So even with a growth of electric vehicles, brake and tyre emissions will remain an issue. MODALES covers both cars and heavy vehicles (vans, trucks, buses and mechanical equipment (Non-Road Mobile Machinery – NRMM) and is the first project to take into account all these types of emissions and sources.’

For further information, please explore MODALES.