EarthSense partnership maps clean air cycle routes in Britain's cities

Posted by ap507 at Oct 20, 2017 11:50 AM |
New project by joint venture between aerial mapping company Bluesky and our University

A project combining Ordnance Survey (OS) geospatial data with real-time air quality data from EarthSense Systems is set to highlight clean cycle routes in Britain’s cities.

EarthSense Systems is a joint venture between aerial mapping company Bluesky and our University.

Using a network of fixed and static air pollution sensors, EarthSense is producing city-wide visualisations of air quality. Combined with OS’s open dataset of greenspaces, the EarthSense air quality models highlight areas of higher air pollution, often along busy roads, and allow users to identify cleaner air routes, such as through parks or along canal paths.

“By making it easy for cyclists to see pollution levels before they make their journey, we can help them make better decisions about their route,” commented Professor Roland Leigh, from our Department of Physics and Astronomy and Technical Director of EarthSense.

“This maximises the gain they are getting from the exercise whilst minimising their exposure to harmful pollution.”

Air pollution is the world’s largest single environmental health risk, according to the World Health Organisation, with 80 percent of the world’s population living in cities that exceed its standards for pollution. Air pollution in the UK has been described as a ‘public health emergency’ and levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), emitted mostly by diesel vehicles, have been above legal limits in almost 90% of urban areas since 2010.

Cycling to work has been promoted as a way to beat train fare rises, while the 2016 Central Statistics Office Commuting in Ireland report showed an increase of 43 percent of people using their bikes to get to work. Using data from a city wide network of sensors, including the EarthSense state-of-the-art Zephyr sensor, EarthSense captures real time air quality measurements.