EarthSense and CMS SupaTrak to monitor air quality with refuse trucks


A partnership between air quality monitoring systems and services developer EarthSense and CMS SupaTrak, a telematics and connected fleet technology provider, aims to expand the use of refuse collection vehicles as mobile air quality monitoring platforms.

A joint venture between aerial mapping company Bluesky and the University of Leicester, EarthSense has announced that CMS SupaTrak will be a new distributor of its Zephyr air quality sensor, and will be introducing the technology into the waste logistics sector across the UK, France, Germany and other parts of mainland Europe. Mounting the Zephyr sensors on waste disposal trucks, which access virtually every street on at least a fortnightly basis, will allow EarthSense to capture levels of pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM2.5) on an unprecedented scale.

CMS SupaTrak will provide manufacturers of precision-made refuse disposal trucks including Dennis Eagle, with Zephyr sensors to collect real-time, hyperlocal air quality data. The data will be used to produce heat maps of local air pollutants along the waste-collection routes, accessible via a bespoke data platform. The project will allow local and central government personnel to understand how air pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide behave in constantly evolving urban environments, providing a valuable evidence-base of live air quality data for planning purposes.

Headquartered in Swindon (UK), CMS SupaTrak was instrumental in setting up and running the Optimized Waste & Logistics Partnership (OWL), which together to bring to market integrated products and services. In 2019, OWL launched the Clean Air Project to promote the use of existing refuse collection vehicle fleets to gather live and accurate air quality data.

EarthSense enables policy makers, planners and those responsible for delivering results to access real-world information to support decision making. With a mix of hardware (air quality sensors), software (bespoke modelling), and data (derived and complementary), the company has already undertaken a range of air quality monitoring projects, including: trials of an airborne air quality mapper, air pollution monitoring equipment on a rocket, and mobile mapping with air quality sensors mounted in electric cars, as well as deploying its Zephyr sensors across the UK and overseas. The company’s plans include the establishment of a nationwide network of Zephyr sensors, feeding live data for up to the minute air quality predictions.

“Collaborating with CMS SupaTrak will explore the deployment of sensors on to waste disposal trucks that take well-established routes collecting continuous, real-time air pollution monitoring, street by street, including remote neighborhoods. This data will be used to significantly enhance our global air quality model,” explained EarthSense’s managing director, Tom Hall. “We are excited to welcome CMS SupaTrak as our second Zephyr distributor this year, and are confident the partnership will set an important standard in the world of transport and logistics.”

CMS SupaTrak’s managing director, Jason Airey, commented, “We are very excited to be working with EarthSense for our waste sector customers, enabling us to help monitor air quality across the UK and Europe. Working with other partners we hope to develop a number of interventions to reduce pollution.”

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Adam joined the company in 1994, and has been News Editor of TTT since 2009. In his other role as Circulation Manager, he helped create the original Traffic Technology International distribution list 23 years ago, and has been working on it ever since. Outside of work, he is a keen fisherman, runs a drumming band, and plays an ancient version of cricket.