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Modales - Tackling vehicle emissions holistically


Tackling vehicle emissions holistically

Numerous steps have been taken to reduce the emissions of road vehicles in recent times, such as Euro 6 norms, fuel efficient motors and particulate filters. However, one significant element has often been overlooked: the role of the professional driver. 

The EU-funded MODALES project addresses that point and gains a greater understanding of the impact of driving behaviour on the emissions of road vehicles. Instead of solely looking at exhaust pipe gases, a closer look was taken at various other related emissions from brakes, tyres, powertrains and other parts. The MODALES project takes the entire vehicle‘s wear and tear rate into consideration.

Over a period of three years, the MODALES project monitored the driving behaviours of several test drivers and analysed typical driving patterns and their influence on vehicle emissions. Project members identified methods to reduce any avoidable emissions. These methods were compiled into training courses for drivers to encourage low-emission driving.  

Once drivers start to apply these low-emission driving techniques, improvements in wear and tear and vehicle emissions should be seen. Transport operators will consequently be able to cut expenses since low-emission driving will enhance the lifespan of certain vehicle parts. 

IRU produced the below MODALES low-emission training video for heavy-duty vehicles in cooperation with its member DB SCHENKER. As Stefaan Bertels, DB SCHENKER’s Business Support Manager BeNeLux, explains, “Whether it is fleet electrification or exploring alternative fuels, it is equally important to be able to use these assets in the best possible way. That is exactly why we decided to support IRU on the MODALES low-emission driving campaign, as it is not only about making your fleet more sustainable, but also about using it in a sustainable way, looking at improving road safety or reducing wear and tear through intelligent driving.”

IRU's role

IRU will set up courses to test the training materials, focusing on the development of guidelines for low-emission driving. Following the courses, IRU will facilitate the dissemination of the results and training opportunities to a wider audience throughout the road transport industry and will contribute to the evaluation of the project-related guidelines and tools.

Following its participation in the EcoEffect Project, which mainly focused on fuel consumption reductions and exhaust pipe gases, IRU continues to lead the efforts on the sustainability and efficiency of the road transport sector. 

Thanks to our previous experience of developing training programmes, we, as IRU, have seen that raising awareness of efficient driving techniques can have a significant impact on the environment and economic viability of road transport operators. We are therefore glad that the MODALES project will adopt a more comprehensive approach and will take into account emissions from other sources. By training their drivers in low-emission driving techniques, transport operators could save additional costs as their vehicles’ wear and tear rate reduces.

Project results

A summary of MODALES results, including two factsheets on driving behaviour as well as on-board devices, inspections and retrofits, can be found here.

The objective of MODALES was to create materials promoting low-emission driving for any type of driver and road transport company aiming to reduce the daily wear and tear of breaks and tyres and decrease emissions as well as costs for operators. 

This EU-funded project is part of the European Commission’s wider plan to create a global platform to share and exchange innovative solutions and best practices for low-emission driving habits. Extensive research for MODALES across nine trial sites suggests that there is significant potential for reducing emissions in the transport sector through a combination of anti-tampering measures, retrofit campaigns, and behaviour-related changes. The combined use of just MODALES training and the app reduced emissions for individual drivers by up to

  • 60% for carbon monoxide (CO) 
  • 30% for nitrogen oxides (NOx)
  • 7% for carbon dioxide (CO₂)

The project produced multi-language:

The MODALES training course manuals for low-emission driving provide useful training material and a plan for MODALES training sessions on driving behaviour and the MODALES app. The project produced a series of deliverables in seven work packages. The results highlighted here present practical and affordable measures that are immediately applicable at all stages of vehicle operations. Trainings include a general introduction and common methodologies for all types of vehicles with subsections for pre-trip, trip and maintenance aspects. In addition, tailor-made training courses are available for various road vehicle users, types and configurations of vehicles, ranging from private cars to light-duty (including taxis) and heavy-duty vehicles. The awareness campaign summarises and reinforces key messages of the training content in a format that is especially well-suited for distribution via social media. [Refer to the gallery above]

MODALES informs IRU’s development of methodologies and indicators to help monitor progress and identify opportunities for more efficient ways to reduce emissions. These efforts include the IRU RoadMasters certification programme as well as the IRU Academy Eco-driving course, which teach drivers fuel efficiency techniques while emphasising road safety, economy and the environment. Eco-driving can reduce fuel consumption – and thus CO2 emissions - by up to 15%.

IRU encourages its members and stakeholders to use and share the full range of MODALES resources for low-emissions driving. 

Start date:
End date:

Partners: 15 partners from 9 countries

Project Coordinator: ERTICO

Visit the Project Website

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 815189