Services

I/M Support Services

Sierra Research offers a full range of motor vehicle emissions inspection and maintenance (I/M) program support services for both public and private sector clients.  Sierra has provided I/M-related assistance to government agencies and private contractors in nearly 20 North American and international I/M programs, as well as functioning as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency primary I/M technical support contractor for many years and working with the California Air Resources Board to evaluate and improve the California Smog Check program.  Specific areas of expertise include the following:

  • Assisting oversight agencies in designing new vehicle inspection programs; writing Requests For Proposals (RFPs); reviewing construction plans, specifications and other bid documents; developing detailed equipment specifications and inspection procedures; evaluating vendor proposals; and negotiating contract terms with selected vendors.
  • Assisting to I/M agencies in overseeing program implementation efforts and contractor performance; conducting detailed acceptance and audit testing of both centralized and decentralized test equipment as well as vehicle information database (VID) operations; reviewing contractor deliverables; and developing recommendations for VID and other I/M program reporting systems.
  • Assisting I/M contractors in obtaining California BAR and other equipment certification; reviewing and improving centralized lane test procedures; and evaluating and improving test equipment performance.
  • Developing, evaluating and using vehicle emissions estimation models such as MOBILE/MOVES and EMFAC; modifying these models to allow evaluation of scenarios that were unanticipated when the models were developed and to test the underlying assumptions of the models.
  • Developing and using a patented portable dynamometer tester that allows for easy and quick acceptance or audit testing of both I/M and certification grade vehicle chassis dynamometers.
  • Developing overt and covert audit plans; preparing detailed equipment, inspector, and station audit procedures; training oversight staff in how to audit test equipment; developing and implementing electronic "trigger" audit protocols (analysis methodologies); evaluating program and contractor performance relative to U.S. EPA regulatory requirements; and conducting performance audits of entire statewide programs as well as individual contractor operations.
  • Preparing I/M program evaluation procedures; developing alternative test procedures, including the Acceleration Simulation Mode (ASM) and IM147 tests; designing and performing correlation studies of IM240 versus alternate test procedures; and evaluating the relative emissions benefits of both centralized and decentralized I/M programs.
  • Preparing summary reports of all U.S. and Canadian I/M programs, including detailed descriptions of each program and its emissions standards, summary tables that list key features of all the programs, and an introductory section that discusses trends in the U.S. I/M industry.
  • Developing electronic I/M and OBD lookup tables that are used by most I/M programs to ensure the proper selection of test parameters and other information during vehicle emissions testing.
  • Assisting to programs and contractors in investigating a wide range of technical issues such as test equipment hardware and software testing and debugging, feasibility of alternative test equipment components (e.g., NOx analyzers), testability of so-called problem OBD vehicle, projected benefits of more stringent emissions standards (I/M cutpoints), alternate OBD delivery models (e.g., OBDIII); and developing and using of models to estimate the cost of alternative centralized and decentralized program designs.

The following I/M related publications were authored by and are available from Sierra Research.

Number Report Title
N/A U.S. EPA Equipment Audit Guidelines and Audit Forms
SR94-04-01 Analysis of Invalid Emission Testing in the California Smog Check Program, prepared for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA, 1994)
SR94-05-05 Analysis of the Effectiveness and Cost-Effectiveness of Remote Sensing Devices, prepared for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA, 1994)
SR94-09-01 An Analysis of Evidence Relating to the Effectiveness of Inspection and Maintenance Programs, prepared for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA, 1994)
SR94-09-05 Investigation and Compilation of Pressure and Purge Test Status, prepared for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA, 1994)
SR95-06-01 Analysis of Data from the California Enhanced I/M Pilot Program, prepared for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA, 1995)
SR95-10-06 Resolution of Ambiguous Pressure and Purge Testability Status on Individual Vehicle Models, prepared for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA, 1995)
SR96-09-03 Development of a Data Protocol for I/M Evaluation Under the Federal Highway Act, prepared for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA, 1996)
SR97-10-01 VIN-Based Lookup Table, prepared for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA, 1997)
SR97-11-02 Development of a Proposed Procedure for Determining the Equivalency of Alternative Inspection and Maintenance Programs, prepared for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA, 1997)
SR98-02-01 Additional Study of Preconditioning Effects and Other IM240 Testing Issues, prepared for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA, 1998)
SR98-03-02 Analysis of ASM Data for Preconditioning, Driving Tolerances, and Fast Pass Strategies, prepared for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA, 1998)
SR98-10-02 Summary of Test Results from Wisconsin EPA OBD Project, prepared for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA, 1998)
SR98-11-01 VIN-Based Lookup Table Pilot Study, prepared for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA, 1998)
SR99-10-02 Determination of Emissions Credit and Average Test Times for IM147 Testing, prepared for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA, 1999)
SR00-01-03 Incorporation of Wireless Communications into Vehicle On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) Systems, prepared for California Air Resources Board (CARB, 2000)
SR00-03-01 Failure Rate Analyses and Development of Fast-Pass, Retest, and CPP Algorithms for IM147 Max CO Cutpoints, prepared for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA, 2000)
SR00-07-01 Excess Emissions Identification Using the IM147 Test Procedures with "Revision 2 Max CO" Standards, prepared for Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ, 2000)
SR01-10-02 QA/QC Procedures Based on Program Data and Statistical Process Control for I/M Programs, prepared for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA, 2001)
SR01-11-01 Status of Vehicle Inspection Programs for Light-Duty Diesel Vehicles and Heavy-Duty Gasoline and Diesel Vehicles, prepared for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA, 2001)
SR01-12-01 Technical Evaluation of IM Program Dynamometer Specifications and Guidance, prepared for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA, 2001)
SR02-02-02 Hands-On Audit Training for Mass- and Concentration-Based IM Programs, prepared for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA, 2002)
SR02-03-02 Estimating the Cost of I/M Programs, prepared for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA, 2002)
SR02-09-01 2002 Alaska I/M Program Audit, prepared for Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC, 2002)