Skip to main content

Driving toward sustainable cities: reducing vehicle emissions by shaping community behavior

This is the fifth blogpost in an ongoing series highlighting our commitment to the spirit of sustainable cities – those communities, companies and leaders developing new processes and technologies to address environmental impacts, social equity, public safety and transportation demands around the world. 

In the United Kingdom, vehicle emissions have a profound impact on both human health and the natural environment. The effects of these emissions, which consist primarily of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, and volatile organic compounds, are far-reaching and well-documented.

Vehicle emissions contribute significantly to air pollution. According to the National Grid ESO, transport is the largest emitting sector of greenhouse gas emissions, producing 24% of the UK’s total emissions in 2020. The European Environmental Agency has linked air pollution from vehicle emissions to nearly 400,000 premature deaths in Europe annually.

Cleaner transportation solutions and policies are not just a matter of compliance, but a path to safeguarding public health and protecting our natural environment. Continued investment in cleaner technologies, incentives for sustainable transportation choices, and collaborations between government, industry, and communities are pivotal to driving improvements.

Image capture goes beyond enforcement 

As with cashless tolling and dynamic parking policies, camera-based and advanced analytics can be applied to shape peoples’ behaviours to reduce emissions while keeping travel, commutes, and businesses moving.  

Conduent Transportation, for example, is working in partnership with Oxfordshire County Council on its Zero Emissions Zone (ZEZ) pilot program to reduce emissions by shaping driver behaviour without major impacts to the lives of its citizens. Our technology, which relies on an advanced image capture system and data analytics, helps government officials encourage drivers to make smart decisions about when — and what — they drive. 

Our solution collects vehicle registration mark (VRM) data via automatic numberplate recognition (ANPR) cameras belonging to vehicles entering the ZEZ and checking the vehicles' emissions output against databases. The number plate data gathered by the ANPR cameras is used for enforcement and provides supporting evidence for a penalty charge notice when appropriate. The system uses vehicle CO2 (g/km) data, fuel type and the emissions standards in determining the appropriate ZEZ charge for the driver. 

Oxford’s ZEZ is free for electric vehicles but imposes a daily charge on petrol and diesel vehicles unless they have an exemption. This model supports the transition of zero emission transport, improving walking and cycling facilities and incentivizes public transport in Oxfordshire.

Impact analysis has revealed the Conduent Transportation’s solutions have helped reduce harmful vehicle emissions by 24% in Oxfordshire’s Zero Emissions Zone.

Improving vehicle emissions in the UK is crucial to the pursuit of cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable cities. As public officials and their corporate partners navigate the challenges posed by climate change and air pollution, addressing the environmental and health impacts of emissions has become an urgent priority. While current efforts have yielded commendable progress, much work remains to be done.

Ultimately, our collective responsibility extends beyond mere regulation – it involves a commitment to conscious choices in our daily lives. Whether it's choosing electric vehicles, supporting public transportation, or adopting eco-friendly driving habits, every individual has a role to play in curbing vehicle emissions.

Ready to learn how Conduent Transportation can help you reduce congestion and harmful emissions while creating safer journeys for travelers? Learn more at

Discover more from our Driving Toward Sustainable Cities series:

Driving Toward Sustainable Cities: The real, life-saving impacts of automated traffic enforcement

Driving Toward Sustainable Cities: Enhancing accessibility and optimizing passenger flows

Driving Toward Sustainable Cities: Reducing greenhouse gas emissions with cashless tolling

Driving Toward Sustainable Cities: Curbing emissions and improving sustainability through dynamic parking policies

About the Author

Dean Fennell-Connell leads business strategy for Conduent Transportation’s U.K. parking, kerbside management and camera enforcement services. With over 13 years of parking industry experience, he supports clients and technology suppliers by identifying and integrating solutions that enhance operations and each customer’s experience. Dean recently won the British Ex-Forces in Business ‘Young Leader of the Year’ award and leads on the UK team supporting the Armed Forces Covenant commitments and is the chair of the Conduent Employee Engagement Group for military affiliates.

Profile Photo of Dean Fennell-Connell