Technical Documentation

Quick overview

For a quick overview of HBEFA, its contents, its applications, its institutional and methodical background, and an overview of columns in the emission factor query output, click the orange button below.

Ordering and downloading HBEFA from September 2023 onwards

This document briefly explains the order and download process for the HBEFA application as of the launch of the new website on September 14, 2023

System requirements and installation

HBEFA is a Microsoft Access application. It runs on all Windows versions that support Microsoft Access (from Version 2016 upward, as well as Office 365). As of Version 4.1, HBEFA can also be run with 64-bit versions of MS Office.

The installer will install a “runtime” version of MS Access if no compatible version of Access is pre-installed on the target machine. Please note that HBEFA 4.2 cannot be installed in parallel with HBEFA 4.1. Detailed installation instructions can be found by clicking the orange button "Installation instructions" below.

Please note that HBEFA 4.2 cannot be installed in parallel to HBEFA 4.1 using the installer.

MS Access memory limit

HBEFA may sometimes reach the limits of memory available to MS Access. Already in previous versions of HBEFA, “out of memory” errors sometimes occurred. With increasing data amounts contained in the application, such errors occur more frequently in newer versions of HBEFA. It is planned to release the next major update (HBEFA 5.1) on a new software platform to solve this problem.

The following measures may serve as a work-around if “out of memory” errors occur in HBEFA:

  • Close other MS Office applications while running HBEFA;
  • Close and reopen HBEFA when an out-of-memory error occurs;
  • Close and reopen HBEFA frequently to free up memory blocked from opening forms, tables etc.
  • Run HBEFA and its back-end (System, User, Library) databases on a local drive (C:), not on network drives.
  • Optimize/defragmenting the hard drive on which HBEFA (via Windows 10 settings or Control Panel in older Windows versions) is stored.

Windows 10 start menu

The Windows 10 start menu sometimes does not show certain shortcuts, even though they are available. The HBEFA shortcuts (to start the application or to optimize the System or User databases) can also be affected. In this case, a simple workaround is to access the shortcuts in Windows Explorer via the following path:
C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

Security warnings

The standard MS Access installation produces regularly security warnings. There are different ways to disable these security warnings. This document explains two ways. However, INFRAS is not responsible for any impacts which might occur if these security warnings are disabled by the user.

Version Documentation

Every documentation as a PDF for every Version.

The Handbook of Emission Factors for Road Transport (HBEFA) was originally developed on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agencies of Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Today, further countries (Sweden, Norway, France) as well as the JRC (European Research Center of the European Commission) support HBEFA.



"Light" update

HBEFA 4.2 dates from January 2022 and is a selective update of HBEFA 4.1. Updates include new hot emissions factors for Euro VI HDV, adapted NO2/NOx ratios, additional software updates of Diesel PC, and more. For further info, see the Documentation.



Major update

HBEFA 4.1 dates from August 2019. The focus of the new features is on alternative drivetrains, besides a general update of almost all inputs.



"Light" update

Was released in April 2017. It is a selective update of HBEFA 3.2 containing new emission factors for NOx for diesel passenger cars only (from EURO-4 onwards). All other elements of HBEFA remain as in version 3.2.



"Light" update

HBEFA 3.2 dates from July 2014 and provides (apart from generic emission factors) also average emission factors for Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway and France.



"Major" update

With Version 3.1 (January 2010), the traffic situation definition still used today (differentiation by area type, functional road type, speed limit and level of service) was introduced. Furthermore, Sweden and Norway were made available as new countries.



"Major" update

Version HBEFA 2.1 was released in February 2004.



"Light" update

HBEFA 1.2 was developed and released in 1999.



HBEFA Version (1.1) was published in 1995. It provided data for Germany and Switzerland (and in 1998 Version "1.1A" included data for Austria as well).

Online version

The current online version works best on larger screens (1024 pixel onwards)

The online version of the HBEFA is intended for occasional users with interest for aggregate emission factors only. The full program version (available here) provides emission factors on a more differentiated level (e.g. by different Euro-concepts, size classes, traffic situations etc.) and offers additional querying options.


License conditions

Two main license types for the Handbook of Emission Factors can be obtained:

  • A simple use license is required for own (internal) use. It can be purchased using the order form.
  • Commercial use: A commercial license for the Handbook of Emission Factors” awards the right to reproduce contents of the Handbook and to integrate them inthird-party products (software tools). For further information, please check the license conditions (link below). To obtain a commercial license, please contact INFRAS directly.


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