Tantalum big data – Bristol

Councils need to better understand the impacts of their own vehicles and how they can contribute towards reduced emissions.


Date: April 2018
Local authority: Bristol

The challenge:

Local Government specialist vehicles are mostly diesel powered, there are few alternatives to diesel powered vehicles currently available. Diesel road vehicles are major contributors to nitrous dioxide levels at the roadside which in some areas of the authority have reached illegal levels. Councils need to better understand the impacts of their own vehicles and how they can contribute towards reduced emissions.

The solution:

Bristol Waste Company, which operates Bristol City Council’s waste collection service, and the University of Oxford have signed up to take part in Tantalum’s trial with Imperial College London to road test its unique Air.Car technology.

A range of vehicles, from waste trucks to minibuses, vans to heavy goods vehicles, will be connected to the technology.  Through a device connected to the on-board computer of any vehicle, Air.Car can accurately estimate real time, second-by-second, toxic Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx) and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions. 

Tantalum has received, along with its academic partner, Imperial College London, a £1.1 million grant from Innovate UK and the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles to develop Air.Car.  A vital part of the research and development is a 1,000 vehicle trial, where units will be installed in diesel vehicles to estimate real-time NOx emissions. The project will help Bristol Waste Company to make informed choices around vehicle choice, routing and operating times to minimise environmental impact. The project’s outputs will also allow the University of Oxford to measure, manage and mitigate NOx emissions from its vehicles.

The impact:

The Government’s Air Quality Plan expects a number of charging Clean Air Zones by 2020, where older more polluting vehicles will have to pay to enter. Air.Car will be able to enforce such Clean Air Zones in a smarter, fairer and cheaper way through incentivising better driving and so reducing toxic emissions. NOx emissions can be halved through a more ecological driving style and co-benefits captured, such as fewer accidents along with lower maintenance and cheaper insurance. 

How is the new approach being sustained?:

New emissions models will also be developed to inform city authorities about what the air pollution impacts are from traffic lights and speed bumps so that congestion and its impact on air quality can be better managed.

Links to relevant documents: