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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2 years ago

Excellent idea.Just what we need. Far more data collection in all areas, especially those with no AQ monitoring at all at present. High time every town and village had meters and for all the different kinds of air pollution, not just the road fumes. If the public could see the real-time levels, perhaps on a screen, outside local schools,we would know the present state of the air and could adjust our plans for the day accordingly. I would also like to see a daily AQ report and forecast given on TV along with the weather.

Clive Stott
Clive Stott
2 years ago

Actually I would prefer not to have to live my life checking on air quality readings all the time and dodging pollution. This is working on the problems from the wrong end. Granular air data, however, could prove beneficial for authorities to get their house in order and stop pollution in the first place. Regulation with penalties is what is required.

2 years ago

Sounds very promising. Will it measure and report particulates & SO as well as NO2? If it happens will it be available in Scotland, N. Ireland and Wales as well as England? Will it available in rural and coastal towns as well as our cities?

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