Monitoring pollution on the go

The Department for Transport has announced the next stage in a £4.1m research project aimed at reducing traffic pollution through the use of mobile sensors.


The Minister for Transport Stephen Ladyman has announced the next stage in a £4.1m research project aimed at reducing traffic pollution through the use of mobile sensors.



The joint Department for Transport/ESPRC funded MESSAGE project will bring together a consortium of leading international specialists from five universities, industrial partners and transport authorities.



Over the course of the project, researchers will develop sensors small enough to slip into a person’s pocket, and others the size of shoeboxes to fit on public buses during the project. The data from these will be collected and processed in real time.



The project will use pedestrians and buses to act as mobile sensors, collecting vital real time air quality data. It will use the data collected to show how factors such as the weather, street design and driving behaviour affect the build-up of traffic pollution.



Ladyman said: ‘The MESSAGE project will provide a much better, more detailed picture of the environmental impact of transport, allowing future decisions to be made on the basis of sound scientific evidence.



‘We all now live in a data rich world and it is important that we have robust methods for handling this data, in real time. This project will enable the development of technologies to manage our transport systems as efficiently and effectively as possible.’



The project is being supported under the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) e-Science Programme. The value of the project over three years will be £4.1m, of which EPSRC and the Department for Transport jointly receive £3.5m.