London, UK: A team of researchers at the University of Leicester developed ‘CityScan technology’ to monitor the impact of increased traffic on pollution levels in London during the Olympics. The announcement was made during the third annual Universities Week campaign.
Team leader Dr Roland Leigh, of the university’s Earth Observation Science Group, claimed that using the new technology, his team will be able to map pollution in 3D. He explained, He explained, “Traditional sensors take in a single point measurement, giving a very accurate measurement that might be by a roadside. Between two or three CityScan instruments, we can map out a complete urban area and tell you where the nitrogen dioxide is in that space.” He added, “CityScan makes the link between emissions and poor air quality downwind, enabling better management of the respiratory health of sensitive individuals. We want to make a practical difference, and contribute to systems which inform people when and where poor air-quality may occur.”
The CityScan technology gathers scattered sunlight to scan whole cities and take readings of air quality, to investigate the impact of this extra traffic on pollution. It can show the air quality over every point of the city – including individual roads, playgrounds and other buildings. It will also reveal the days and times when pollution levels are at their highest.
Sensors will be set up on a 30-storey building in North Kensington and a 14-storey building in Chelsea, in the west of the city, as well as a third location which is yet be determined.
The sensors will give readings of nitrogen dioxide, which is produced from traffic emissions and can decrease lung function and increase the risk from respiratory illnesses, including bronchitis and asthma.
The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games are expected to draw 11 million visitors from around the world to the UK’s capital for seven weeks, and 3 million extra car journeys are anticipated on the busiest day.
Source: University of Leicester