Wolverhampton project aims to reduce transport-sourced air pollution


Leicester-based air quality monitoring systems and services developer EarthSense is working with the City of Wolverhampton Council on an air quality project that is focused on the management of both pollution emissions and exposure.

The LiVETAP (Live Visualization of Emissions – Towards Informed Avoidance of Pollution Hotspots) project sees EarthSense and Wolverhampton Council working together to deliver an air quality service for the general public. The 18-month project will create novel air quality apps and a web portal for the council and the general public. These services will provide air quality forecasts to guide decisions on traffic management and routing in polluted environments. The project is funded by Innovate UK, the country’s innovation agency. The collaboration between Wolverhampton Council and EarthSense will find innovative ways of empowering the public to make informed decisions about transport to reduce air pollution and improve public health.

The service will be developed using EarthSense’s leading air quality datasets which take into account traffic pollution sources, weather conditions, and government pollution monitoring sites, where they exist. It will also use real-time data from air quality sensors including EarthSense’s Zephyr units installed around Wolverhampton, which will record levels of pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and ozone (O3). There are six sensors already installed around the city. Phase two of the project will see a further 11 installed at specific hotspots including busy junctions and schools. For the first time, the services will enable users in Wolverhampton to see both live and forecast pollution data for city center streets and school-run routes. Following the trial in Wolverhampton, future plans include making the app and online portal available for all local authorities across England.

“We’re delighted to be working with the City of Wolverhampton Council on this important project. Collaborating with partners such as local authorities helps us to use our technologies to have a positive impact on air pollution and to make the key data available to the public,” said EarthSense’s managing director, Tom Hall. “Using the information from the app, users can choose to avoid certain high pollution areas, reducing the amount of emissions inhaled, and hopefully divert traffic away from those areas, thereby reducing the levels of pollution; a positive result for everyone.”

Wolverhampton Council’s cabinet member for city environment, Steve Evans, said, “We need to protect our environment and improve public health the best we can, and to empower people to make better choices about travel and transport. By working with EarthSense, we will be able to gather important data, identify pollution levels in specific areas and implement measures to improve air quality.”

Jasbir Jaspal, Wolverhampton Council’s cabinet member for public health and wellbeing, added, “The negative impact of air pollution on the health and wellbeing of our residents cannot be underestimated, particularly for those who have existing respiratory conditions. This project therefore has the potential to really help some of our most vulnerable residents; for example, the routes used by public transport could be adjusted to avoid pollution hotspots and lessen people’s exposure to harmful pollutants.”

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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.