A two-year innovation project led by Bosch and Transport for London (TfL) to improve air quality in South London has been completed.
The project, which saw Bosch and TfL working with Lambeth Council to monitor air quality in Brixton, helped improve local air quality by almost 20%, as well as reduce congestion and improve circulation. The project also provided a better understanding of how wind and weather conditions affect the dispersion of pollutants in the city center.
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For the project, Bosch deployed 17 air quality monitors in the center of Brixton and the surrounding streets. These measured the air for a range of pollutants, including NO2, and O3, as well as PM2.5 and PM10 particles. The collected data was combined with TfL traffic count data and used as input data for Bosch emissions and dispersion modeling.
This allowed TfL to intelligently control the flow of traffic by adjusting the timing of the traffic lights, and to come full circle, Bosch air quality monitors then collected additional data, which showed the significant benefit. traffic management measures.
An essential part of the project was to use advanced data from HERE Technologies. This data was essential for understanding the dynamic flow of vehicles passing through Brixton. ANPR technology ensured that the modeling included vital information on vehicle classification, including their engine type (whether gasoline, diesel, electric or hybrid) and emissions emitted by each vehicle.
Using loop sensors on the road, it was also possible to count vehicles passing through areas, as well as their proximity to each other, which meant that the flow and density of traffic could be recorded in detail.
This data enabled Bosch to execute its environmentally friendly traffic management model. This cloud-based software showed emissions at certain points in Brixton and the evolution of emissions over a typical day.
To get a full picture of how pollution builds up in a specific area, it is also important to know the topology. Each zone is different, and air can circulate in a particular way depending on the infrastructure of the building nearby. In addition, weather plays a crucial role: humidity and temperature change the chemical exchanges that influence air quality, so they must be measured accurately and included in the air quality dispersion model. (AQDM).
For the first time, air quality in Brixton was measured minute by minute and the causes of peaks and valleys could be accurately linked to traffic, vehicle and environmental data.
Bosch monitoring and modeling used data points to advise TfL and Lambeth Council on actions that could be taken to improve air quality. The key was to adjust the timing of the traffic lights. This led to a direct improvement in air quality as well as faster circulation in the city center, as evidenced by the measured data.
Reduction of nitrogen oxides (NOX) of 6% was recorded, but a lane closure had a negative impact on the flow of traffic and consequently on this figure. A reduction of almost 20% was the result before the lane closed.
Average vehicle speed increased from 8.7 mph to 10.6 mph. Therefore, the traffic light signaling strategy will continue to be used in Brixton to improve traffic flow and air quality. The data and lessons learned from this trial will be used to inform future TfL traffic management interventions. These tools are also beneficial for early simulation of new road infrastructure programs to assess their potential impact on local air quality.
Rikesh Shah, Head of Business Innovation at TfL, said: “We are proud of the work being done in Brixton and thanks to this new approach of co-innovation, with Bosch, the London Borough of Lambeth and HERE Technologies. We applied an approach that puts users first and could be adapted to explore different innovative solutions to take the vital work of improving London’s air further. Toxic air pollution in the capital remains the biggest environmental health risk for all Londoners and by using smart technologies like those provided by Bosch, we can help London breathe easier.