In 2019, it was announced that more than 2 million Londoners lived in areas where NO₂ levels regularly exceeded the legal limits for air pollution.
Backed by the Mayor of London's Transport Strategy's emphasis on sustainability, Transport for London (TfL) looked for innovative ways to measure and understand air quality and to target local traffic congestion as one of the major sources of pollution in cities.
We are proud to be reporting today that the traffic management solutions put in place in London helped reduce the proportion of NO2 by 20%.
Gino Ferru, General Manager EMEAR and Senior Vice President at HERE
Working with TfL, a project led by HERE and Bosch resulted in a marked improvement in localized air quality, smoother traffic flow, reduced traffic congestion and a greater understanding of how wind and the weather affect the dispersion of pollutants across Brixton, in south London.
Probe data from HERE was essential to understanding the dynamic flow of vehicles passing through the Brixton neighborhood and to model the emissions emitted. Next, the team installed 17 air quality sensors that detected a range of pollutants including NO₂ and O3, as well as particulates PM2.5 and PM10. HERE probe data and TfL traffic volumes were then collected for traffic analysis and included in a dispersion calculation that considered the impact of topology and weather on air quality—producing a high-accuracy emission heatmap of Brixton town center. These heatmaps are updated hourly, accurate down to 20m, and allow traffic managers to better understand and adapt their traffic mitigation solutions.
HERE data enables the analysis of congestion on a micro-level for improved traffic management and city planning. HERE aggregates voluminous data about traffic flow and congestion from hundreds of sources, including anonymized data from connected vehicles and mobile applications. The insights HERE provided on vehicle speeds, down to a specific road segment, generated the model of real-time driving behavior and traffic dynamics in particular areas of the London Borough of Lambeth.
We have conclusively reduced emissions and improved traffic flow in Brixton and that's a fantastic outcome. With our highly accurate air quality monitoring and modeling coupled with key additional data points, we ended up with a sophisticated model that enabled us to understand the best way to improve air quality. We've made a real difference in Brixton and we're excited about the huge potential we have to improve the air quality in other areas of London but more widely in the UK and beyond.
Ian Larbey, Air Quality Lead for Bosch UK
We are proud of the work achieved in Brixton and through this new approach of co-innovating, with Bosch, the London Borough of Lambeth and HERE Technologies. We applied an approach that put users front and center and could be adapted to explore different innovative solutions to move further forward with the vital work to improve London's air. Toxic air pollution in the capital is still the biggest environmental risk to the health of all Londoners and by using smart technologies such as those provided by Bosch we can help London breathe easier.
Rikesh Shah, Head of Commercial Innovation at Transport for London (TfL)