16 Praxis/Urban air quality monitors have been deployed around the city of Oxford as part of the OxAria research project. South Coast Science is one of the commercial partners for the project, supplying air quality monitoring devices.
OxAria is a collaboration between academic, public and commercial partners that aims to understand the air and noise quality impacts of COVID-19 across Oxford city. It is led by the Universities of Birmingham and Oxford and funded by the Natural Environmental Research Council.
Which pollutants are measured and why?
The monitors provide a flexible approach: most are monitoring particulates (PM1, PM2.5, PM10) and nitrogen dioxide, alongside temperature and humidity. Some units are also measuring carbon monoxide, nitric oxide and ozone, as required by the study.
They have been used to create a network of air pollution sensors relaying real-time air quality data from locations across the city.
According to the project team:
“The application of high-resolution sensing technology in this context provides potential to measure air pollution at an unprecedented scale and scope – providing a more comprehensive picture of air pollution across Oxford that has previously been possible. The spatial coverage enables us to advance understanding of lockdown related air quality impacts across the city. We will also be able to better understand highly localised impacts of air quality control measures – such as the Oxford Zero Emissions Zone.”
Accurate data for public health policy
Historically, gathering data that is high-resolution (across space and time) while also meeting accuracy requirements has presented challenges. Reference instruments are accurate, but cannot be deployed in a close-network as they are neither affordable nor portable. Low-cost sensors can be deployed easily at scale, but when used in the field their data output is influenced by the natural variability of environmental conditions.
Recent findings suggest that applying machine learning techniques to low-cost sensors can improve data accuracy and meet European data quality objectives. This can be demonstrated by comparison to readings from Defra air quality monitoring stations collocated in Oxford City centre. See the pre-print submitted by the OxAria team to Atmospheric Measurement Techniques for more information.
“South Coast Science is delighted to collaborate with OxAria by providing a real-world solution to urban air quality monitoring. With high quality data, organisations can better inform their stakeholders on the performance of air quality intervention and support the action needed to meet or even exceed national targets.”David Johnson, Sales Director at South Coast Science
For more information about the OxAria project please visit the website here. To find out more about the Praxis/Urban please visit the South Coast Science website or contact David Johnson directly.
Image credit: Photo by Suad Kamardeen on Unsplash