Transport is the main cause of noise and air pollution in cities

The harmful effects of transport sector are one of the biggest health and environmental concerns in Europe. If we can measure it, we can also target and reduce it The NEMO initiative tackles both challenges.


Transport produces almost a quarter of Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions and is the main cause of noise and air pollution in cities.Long-term exposure to noise and pollution may cause direct health problems, such as sleep disturbance, stress, asthma, high blood pressure and cardiac diseases. The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified traffic noise, including road, rail and air traffic, as the second most important cause of ill health in Western Europe, behind only air pollution caused by very fine particulate matter. According to EEA, noise is associated with more than 12,000 premature deaths every year, whereas air pollution (PM2.5, NOx and O3) with more than 550,220.

There is therefore a clear need to design and manage transport and mobility in a smarter way.  NEMO’s will work to develop solutions for measuring, monitor and identify all noise and pollutant sources in transport.The introduction of sensors to remotely measure the emissions of each vehicle from the infrastructure becomes a necessity. By individually identifying the emissions of each vehicle, it is possible to prevent the circulation of highly polluting or noisy vehicles or to apply fees to those that moderately exceed the limits.

In order to improve the acoustic and air quality in urban areas and along major infrastructure, NEMO
follows a two-dimension approach to impact on road and rail traffic:

1. The first dimension comprises new and enhanced autonomous RS technologies to determine and identify
noisy and polluting vehicles in existing traffic, making this information available to warning, tolling or
access systems. The developed systems will be fully integrated into the road/rail infrastructure and will
have the tools to communicate with the existing data infrastructure of both vehicle/train operators and
road/rail authorities. A multispectral camera will also be adapted for sea transport environment, testing its
effectiveness in measuring emissions from other transport modes (rail and road).

2. The second dimension develops a holistic solution to mitigate noise and emissions of passing vehicles
(NOx, PM and microplastics, among others). This approach involves road texture optimization, green
barriers, photocatalytic materials and microplastics collection in the asphalt layer pore network.

The combined effect of dimensions 1 and 2 will achieve the targeted 30% improvement in air quality for
road traffic and will exceed the targeted 20% improvement in noise. This can be achieved by identifying and
correcting the High-Emitting vehicles and by installing new pavements and barriers in European roads.

Read more under ‘Solutions’ and ‘Demos’.

Read more about Horizon 2020’s work programmes on Smart, Green and Integrated Transport here.

For more information about NEMO

Project Coordinator
Dr. Dolores Hidalgo, Director of the Circular Economy Area, Fundación CARTIF
Mobile: +34983546504

FACTS ABOUT NEMO (Noise and Emissions MOnitoring and Radical Mitigation)
NEMO is an initiative to monitor emissions and noise from vehicles.

Fundación CARTIF, M+P Raadgevende Ingenieurs Bv, Mueller-BBM GmbH, Mueller-BBM Rail Technologies GmbH, Agenzia Regionale per la Protezione Ambientale della Toscana, Sintef As, Gate 21, Universite Gustave Eiffel, Universidad de Cantabria, Opus RS Europe SL, Comune di Firenze, Transport & Environment (T&E), Ricardo Aea Limited, Opus Technology Solutions Ab, Kapsch Trafficcom Ag, Fundacion de la Comunidad Valenciana para la Investigación, Promoción y Estudios Comerciales de Valenciaport, JRC -Joint Research Centre- European Commission, Audiotec Ingeniería Acústica S.A

€ 6.564.892,50

Time period
May 2020 – Apr 2023