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EarthSense Provides Detailed Air Pollution Data in Near Real Time for Bicester.

Updated: Jun 27, 2019

The Urban Healthy Living project, funded by the UK Space Agency’s ‘Space for Smarter Government Programme’, aims to demonstrate the benefits of integrating space-enabled technologies with other public-sector initiatives in healthcare and urban air quality management.

Providing a combination of EarthSense Zephyr air pollution sensors and near real time air quality modelling, EarthSense will help to identify air pollution hot spots and exposure levels.

Roland and Angela with the Zephyr® air quality sensor
Roland Leigh (EarthSense) and Angela Smith (Cherwell District Council)

Named an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA), Bicester is a rapidly growing town experiencing large volumes of traffic and associated air quality issues.

The Urban Healthy Living project sees Cherwell District Council proactively looking to manage traffic flow, encourage active travel and raise awareness of air pollution in Bicester to reduce the local impact on the environment and improve the health of the population.

EarthSense Zephyr monitors are being used in a three-week demonstration providing accurate

information on the concentrations of harmful air pollutants like nitrogen dioxide (NO2), particle matter (PM2.5) and ozone (O3) in the area.

The portable Zephyr air quality sensors were used to undertake mobile monitoring of pollutants over the course of a demonstration day in Bicester on the 25th of September 2018.

Air pollution data was captured by the Zephyr along key routes in Bicester according to mode of transport: in-car, walking and cycling. A mobile Zephyr deployed in a hybrid Toyota Yaris, provided by Inchcape Toyota in Bicester, measured real time levels of NO2 during peak times throughout the day.

Working with partners Geospatial Insight and Redshift Associates, the project aims to map levels of NO2 across Bicester, presenting an overall picture of air quality. The data will be integrated into EarthSense’s air quality mapping tool, MappAir™, enabling an ongoing source of reference on air pollution exposure in different conditions (e.g. changing weather and traffic profiles).

Satellite, traffic and meteorological data will supplement Zephyr measurements, giving near real-time air pollution modelling with hourly mapping of NO2 concentrations overlaid onto street mapping.

Bicester is part of the “Healthy New Towns” programme, funded by NHS England and led by Cherwell District Council, which encourages residents to lead healthy and sustainable lifestyles.

Public displays of the changing patterns of air quality will be on show in Bicester’s Public Library and Leisure Centre for the duration of the trial, enabling local people to choose cleaner air routes. Members of the public will be able to view the data and focus on any area or time of day in Bicester via the web-based desktop dashboard or at one of the community engagement events.

EarthSense Managing Director Tom Hall says: “The Bicester air quality demonstration, undertaken as part of the Urban Healthy Living project, has huge potential for enhanced policy delivery in key areas like healthcare and urban air quality management.

Understanding air pollution with robust monitoring and modelling capabilities is the first step to planning healthy, safe and sustainable future cities. We are excited to be part of this journey.”

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