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18 Feb 2021

How location and electric vehicles are helping the government reduce emissions

With the ownership of electric vehicles growing rapidly, its expected many charging points will need to be located on the properties of EV owners.

The Office for Zero Emission Vehicles with the Environment Statistics team at the Department for Transport (DfT) are currently planning the future provision across the UK of electric vehicle (EV) charge points, as part of the commitment by the government to reduce emissions by 2050.

Given EV charging can take longer than refuelling a combustion engine, it's expected the majority of EV charging should take place at night, outside peak hours of electricity consumption. Therefore many charge points will be located on, or near the homes of EV owners. 

Since there is no existing definitive dataset for residential parking availability in the UK, DfT, in conjunction with the University of Exeter, undertook a study to estimate the proportion of properties in a test area that can accommodate private EV charge points powered via the household electricity supply. 

UK suburb
Address data gives intelligence about an address with an extensive range of data points at the individual property level.

DfT used AddressBase Plus to identify the location for every residential address and linked this to a Topography Area building Topographic Identifier. The Land Registry Inspire Polygons provided additional information to describe the full property extent and link residential addresses to their gardens. Aerial imagery was overlaid and a vegetation index calculated, segmenting gardens into vegetation and manmade surfaces. When combining these datasets the team developed an algorithm to classify residential dwellings in the test area as ‘parking possible’ or as ‘no parking’.

The project demonstrated it is possible to identify off-street parking on residential sites using vector polygons, raster images, geospatial analysis, remote sensing and image processing, and that it's possible to scale this method to a national level.

At a national level, this vital information would support UK electric vehicle infrastructure planning by indicating;

  • potential location and demand for private charge points 
  • by comparison location and demand for public charge points (mixed power ratings)
  • informing improvements to electricity substations

Learn more about how addressing data gives insights into property life cycles with an extensive range of data points at an individual property level.