Imperial College London's Environment Research Group (ERG) has launched a pilot integrating air quality sensors into digital advertising displays in the borough of Barking and Dagenham.
It is working with media and infrastructure company Clear Channel on the initiative as part of the Breathe London programme.
This has been developed by the ERG and funded by the Mayor of London and Bloomberg Philanthropies to provide real time, hyperlocal air quality data to Londoners via the Breathe London website.
Clear Channel’s product development team, working with the ERG, sensor manufacturer Clarity Movement and digital display partner Amscreen, have created a standardised solution for the quick roll out of air quality sensors across its national network of digital advertising displays.
The three pilot displays in Barking and Dagenham have been chosen for their locations with high footfall and where air pollution is most likely to be impacting the public. They are now monitoring levels of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter (PM2.5), known for their negative impact on respiratory health.
Data from the sites is being transmitted to Breathe London, which also collects data from around 300 similar small sensors across London.
Analysis is conducted by the scientists at Imperial, combining Breathe London and reference grade monitor data to provide accurate information on air quality.
Andrew Grieve, senior air quality analyst, said: “Air pollution is the biggest environmental risk to health in the UK and globally. The World Health Organisation recently updated their guidelines, setting much lower targets, showing we have further to go to protect public health.
“Only by monitoring air quality can we see if we are heading in the right direction, so we are hugely excited by this unique partnership between business, academia and local government to expand the Breathe London network.”
Utilising street furniture
Neil Chapman, Clear Channel’s product development director, said: “Out of home advertising most often exists in densely populated areas, where air quality data is needed most and can bring most benefit to the public.
“This pilot demonstrates how easy and affordable it can be for local authorities and existing air quality networks to use our street furniture to measure the air pollution in problem areas, and inform the right interventions to improve local air quality.”
Cllr Margaret Mullane, cabinet member for enforcement and community safety at Barking and Dagenham, said: "I am pleased to see that we're also introducing further air quality sensors, so we can really understand the issue in hot spot areas and work out what else needs to be done."