Satellite study to look at South Yorkshire air pollution

A satellite investigation into the impacts of car emissions on air quality in South Yorkshire is underway as part of a research project involving the European Space Agency, the University of Sheffield and technology firm The Floow.

The research project will monitor air quality in South Yorkshire

The research project will monitor the impact of traffic emissions in South Yorkshire

Sheffield-based The Floow said it would be collating data from satellite monitoring using telematics, which would then be used by the European Space Agency (ESA) to build an information hub to further understand and tackle air pollution.

The ESA will then use the data captured to make recommendations to the government and local authorities in traffic management, according to The Floow.

Known as Crowd4sat, the project will run until early 2016 and was prompted by the council’s interpretation of Defra figures, which suggested air pollution in Sheffield causes up to 500 deaths each year and costs Sheffield authorities £160 million each year (see story).

Sam Chapman, who as innovation leader and co-founder of The Floow is directing the investigation, said: “This is a fascinating test project that will provide actionable insight into the pollution that is generated in our region, as a result of vehicle use and driver behaviour.

“We know that the majority of harmful air pollution is as a result of transport, and so by capturing the data we will be in a position to establishing exactly where emissions are produced using key factors such as vehicle acceleration, stationary periods and stop times.

“Currently in Sheffield air pollution is measured through only a limited number of good air quality sensors, each costing the taxpayer tens of thousands of pounds and only providing a limited picture of pollution. Telematics is accurate and can analyse the specific variables needed to look at air pollution emissions. It is more cost effective and doesn’t need to be monitored in the way that the sensors do.”


Dr Stuart Wrigley, Research Fellow at the University of Sheffield and coordinator of the project, said: “The core focus of the Crowd4Sat project is improving the usefulness of existing satellite environmental monitoring and enhancing its positive impact on peoples’ everyday lives.

“The air pollution study led by The Floow is an excellent example of this. Satellite derived estimates of air pollution only tell part of the story of the quality of the air we breathe at ground-level. By combining ESA’s high-quality satellite information with The Floow’s dynamic, fine-grain traffic information a much more complete picture of local air pollution can be obtained. This, in turn, provides valuable insights for local traffic management to address air pollution.”

Sheffield council is also currently running a number of initiatives to boost air quality as part of its Air Aware Sheffield campaign, including encouraging drivers to check their tyre pressure, and signs with slogans such as ‘Drive low emission’, ‘Be air aware’ and ‘Drive petrol not diesel’ (see story).

Related Links:

The Floow
Sheffield city council
European Space Agency