What Are the Different Measures of Mobility Telling Us About Surface Transportation CO2 Emissions During the COVID-19 Pandemic?
- Journal Article
The COVID-19 pandemic led to widespread reductions in mobility and induced observable changes in atmospheric emissions. Recent work has employed novel mobility data sets as a proxy for trace gas emissions from traffic by scaling CO2 emissions linearly with those near-real-time mobility data. Yet, there has been little work evaluating these emission numbers. Here, we systematically compare these mobility data sets to traffic data from local governments in seven diverse urban and national/state regions to characterize the magnitude of errors that result from using the mobility data. We observe differences in excess of 60% between these mobility data sets and local traffic data. We could not find a general functional relationship between the mobility data and traffic flow over all the regions and observe higher deviations from using such general relationships than the original data. Finally, we give an overview of the potential errors that come from estimating CO2 emissions using (mobility or traffic) activity data. Future work should be cautious while using these mobility metrics for emission estimates. Show more
Journal / seriesJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Pages / Article No.
PublisherAmerican Geophysical Union
Organisational unit03648 - Buchmann, Nina / Buchmann, Nina
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