MOT motoring and vehicle ownership trends in the UK

Project details

Funding body: EPSRC


  • University of Aberdeen
  • University of Southampton
  • Transport Research Laboratory (TRL)
  • Department for Transport (DfT)
  • Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC)

Dates: 2012–2015

Project summary

Efforts to reduce the emissions from car travel have so far been hampered by a lack of specific information on car ownership and use. The Motoring and vehicle Ownership Trends (MOT) in the UK project seeks to address this by bringing together new sources of data to give a spatially and disaggregated diagnosis of car ownership and use in Great Britain and the associated emissions and energy demands.

Data from annual car roadworthiness tests in the UK (MOTs), made available by the Department for Transport, together with additional details of all vehicles registered from the UK Driver Vehicle Licencing Agency (DVLA) is used as a platform upon which to undertake a set of inter-linked modelling and analysis tasks using multiple sources of vehicle-specific and area-based data.

The project has developed the capability to understand spatial differences in car ownership and use, the determinants of those differences, and how levels may change over time and in response to various policy measures. The relationship between fuel use and emissions, and the demographic, economic, infrastructural and socio-cultural factors influencing these, has been tested.

AQMRC led the work theme on Emissions, Energy and Environment and explored the impacts of car use on air quality and carbon emissions as well as on energy demand. The end-use energy demand from vehicle use was linked to data from DECC on household electricity and gas usage to get a more holistic picture of patterns of energy demand in relation to geography and socio-economic factors.

Consequently, the MOT project has the potential to transform the way in which energy and emissions related to car use are quantified, understood and monitored to help refine future research and policy agendas and to inform transport and energy infrastructure planning.

The original EPSRC project (EP/K000438/1) has now been completed (March 2017). The project team are working on securing funding for follow-on work.

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