Granular air quality data could provide the public with real-time insights

Technology and air quality experts have teamed up to develop a new system that could provide citizens with granular street-level air quality information.

Members of the PASS consortium plan to pool together data from air quality sensors, road traffic, weather, geographical and spatial (GIS), and apply Artificial Intelligence to deliver live and predictive data at a granular level.

This information could be made available via a mobile app and website to enable the public to plan their routes to avoid air pollution. The researchers also say that a citywide dashboard could also be created to help local authorities to analyse and plan spatial strategies for cleaner cities.

Dr. Mohammad Nazir OBE, Managing Director of Nazir Associate Ltd and heads the PASS Consortium said, ‘Localised granularity of data, such as postcode unit level, is necessary to help citizens better understand the impacts of air quality to their health and to facilitate them in the implementation and evaluation of effective mitigation measures.

‘There have been positive steps taken at national government and at local council level, such as implementation DEFRA Air Quality monitoring and CAZ schemes managed by local councils but currently, the infrastructure for air quality sensors is quite limited. Current air quality data available offers limited information from sparsely located reference-grade air quality monitors.

‘This means there are literally thousands of postcodes or localized areas that do not have accurate air pollution data information accessible for sufferers or health-conscious individuals to enable them to avoid such areas. Equipped with street-level air quality information sufferers or health-conscious individuals could strive to avoid or “dodge” heavily polluted areas, travel routes, or indeed places where they live.’

man wearing blue pants walking on street

Dr. James Levine added: ‘In reducing people’s exposure to pollution from nearby vehicles, strategic planting can be a valuable complement to essential emission reductions. But, if indiscriminate, it’s just as likely to have a negative impact.

‘The greatest benefits come from diverting the flow and mixing of polluted air away from people: a function of many factors, including local wind conditions and local urban form.’

The PASS project is partly funded by private sector businesses and by Innovate UK. Innovate UK is a government organisation responsible for supporting UK businesses, Universities, and R & D companies to innovate and develop new technologies to grow the UK’s economy.


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