Pilot: Using Remote Sensing to Reduce Vehicle Emissions in California
Particulate matter (PM) air pollution presents a substantial threat to human health, disproportionately impacting low-income populations. The transportation sector – heavy-duty trucks in particular - is a major PM contributor. However, enforcing vehicle emissions regulations has proven prohibitively costly worldwide. We propose utilizing novel remote sensing technology to detect high emitters at substantially reduced cost. We will leverage these new data in a randomized trial to determine the impact of remote monitoring on regulatory compliance. In the proposed pilot, we will test the technology, build institutional capacity, generate data, and field-test the proposed randomized intervention. In the full-scale experiment, we plan to identify high-emitting trucks in California, then randomly assign half to receive letters that (1) inform fleet owners their vehicle is likely in violation of California’s emissions standards, and (2) specify a compliance deadline with an explicit penalty for failing to comply. We will measure impacts using remote-sensed emissions readings and administrative compliance data.