Last night at the Fleet Vision International awards, hosted by City of London at the Guildhall, the award for Best Air Quality Strategy was awarded to Iknaia’s Airscan and Eastleigh Borough Council.
Iknaia worked with Eastleigh Borough Council to deploy its Airscan Air Quality and Journey time monitors as part of a low-cost DEFRA funded sensor project. The devices were installed during November 2020 through to June 2020 and extended until October 2022. Data collected includes vehicle direction and speed, concentrations of NO2, PM (2.5&10), O3, SO2 and CO. One Airscan unit was co-located with a continuous monitoring station allowing the accuracy of NO2 data to be investigated and to improve this by developing an algorithm to apply to the sensor data. The project aimed to make some conclusions on the best practice use of low-cost units and develop a tool which would be affordable to local authorities across the country.
Data collected on traffic movements is information which was not previously available to the Council. The differences between the daily patterns in two study locations highlight how important the local layout of roads is and the importance of targeting actions to individual areas.
The specific knowledge of how vehicles are moving in different sections of the road network such as the variation in congestion found along Providence Hill and Bridge Road and the difference seen in direction of travel, is helpful for the Council’s LAQM work as road traffic is the most significant source of pollution. The information allows Eastleigh to target air quality actions so they can be as effective as possible. The ability to link the traffic data directly to air quality could provide evidence for these actions and a way of measuring their effectiveness.
The project has successfully developed a tool which simultaneously measures air quality and traffic movements. This means the system now allows the Council to collect air quality data at a higher time resolution in many more locations than was possible previously and have access to traffic data which was not previously possible. Following this work the Council have some confidence to use the data to showing general patterns in NO2 to assess the impacts of vehicle flows on air quality.
This project has shown some of the possibilities available with use of this type of low-cost monitoring. The solution is low cost when compared to set-up and running of a continuous monitoring station. The flexibility of the equipment to be moved to new locations was also a key factor.