Why do we need continuous monitoring?
It is our belief that you cannot properly manage what you do not sufficiently measure
You can’t manage what you don’t measure, and today…
Monitoring is either sparse & expensive (only 300 official stations in the UK), or temporally poor (historic averages only) resulting in spatial & temporal variability not being captured (e.g. ‘hot spots’). Therefore parameters (e.g. personal pollution exposure) are unreliable or inaccurate.
So what we need is better monitoring, featuring…
1. Granularity – thousands of monitors – because air quality varies greatly over short distances – even across a road
2. Continuous operation – because air quality also varies greatly from one minute to the next, driven mostly by weight of traffic
3. Real-time – if data isn’t valid right now, you can’t take appropriate action
But how does better measurement actually help?
It’s the first step, without which you can’t take the vital next steps:
– Avoidance – Reducing the impact on public health, by helping people avoid it – e.g. low-pollution route planning apps
– Mitigation – the data will show how and where to apply new technology, rules or policy
Why isn’t the government doing it?
Lack of political pressure; air quality is where smoking was in the 60s – the public hasn’t been aware. But that’s changing:
– Campaigns – the Evening Standard and Sunday Times campaigns have informed people, and the demand for data grows
– Dieselgate – the VW scandal has focused attention clearly on air pollution
What can you do with better monitoring?
– Localised alerts to protect everyone, especially vulnerable groups through apps & text messages
– Pollution avoidance route planning for pedestrians and cyclists through apps
– Using data to control air conditioning unit filters, to save energy
– Pollution hot spot reduction through traffic light phasing
– Using data to switch hybrid buses to electric operation when in pollution hot spots