The initial phase of a long-term project with national implications for the improvement of transportation and air quality is described. The overall objective of the research is to develop and verify a computer model that accurately estimates the impacts of a vehicle's operating mode on emissions. This model improves on current emission models by allowing for the prediction of how traffic changes affect vehicle emissions. Results are presented that address the following points: vehicle recruitment, preliminary estimates of reproducibility, preliminary estimates of air conditioner effects, and preliminary estimates of changes in emissions relative to speed. As part of the development of a comprehensive modal emission model for light-duty vehicles, 28 distinct vehicle/technology categories have been identified based on vehicle class, emission control technology, fuel system, emission standard level, power-to-weight ratio, and emitter level (i.e., normal versus high emitter). These categories and the sampling proportions in a large-scale emissions testing program (over 300 vehicles to be tested) have been chosen in part based on emissions contribution. As part of the initial model development, a specific modal emissions testing protocol has been developed that reflects both real-world and specific modal events associated with different levels of emissions. This testing protocol has thus far been applied to an initial fleet of 30 vehicles, where at least 1 vehicle falls into each defined vehicle/technology category. The different vehicle/technology categories, the emissions testing protocol, and preliminary analysis that has been performed on the initial vehicle fleet are described.