York in driving seat with high-tech traffic pollution monitoring

The city will be the first in the UK to use ‘intelligent data hubs’, providing real-time information on street-level conditions to help make pro-active decisions. 

York is set to claim the title of Britain’s most advanced local authority in terms of traffic air pollution monitoring. 

City of York gate decor

Alchera’s Alpha system comprises a high-tech network of sensors which analyse the movement of vehicles, and are linked to a centralised Data Hub, with ‘dashboards’ giving staff faster, simple insights into exactly what is happening on the streets. 

Part of the council’s Smart Travel Evolution Programme (STEP), which benefited from close to £3m in government funding awarded in 2018, the devices will be in use by the end of this year, and are the latest phase of the project. They replace old approaches to monitoring congestion like CCTV and social media. 

The idea is to makes it far easier to ascertain where flashpoints are, with the Data Hub also capable of making predictions as to how flow is likely to change in the immediate future. As a result, those charged with observing will be better armed to make quick changes over the prioritisation of the road network, optimising this to match what is actually happening, as it happens. With traffic jams linked to spikes in air pollution, the impact on air quality should not be underestimated. 

In May, York Railway Station was earmarked to participate in the ongoing Stations Air Quality Monitoring Network, which looks at air pollution in busy rail hubs across the UK. Earlier this year, air pollution levels in Yorkshire hit Index 10, the highest possible rating, with the public issued specific advice, including not to exercise outdoors. 

Image: Sarah


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