With the continued rise of emissions and illegal levels of pollution in many places, air quality is increasingly recognised as a serious public health issue. Transport is widely acknowledged as a key driver of air quality issues, with highway traffic problems such as congestion and fleet composition considered as a primary source of air pollution.
Cities are primarily affected, and policy makers have come under pressure from voters, campaigners and health professionals to find solutions to reduce emissions. In response to the issue, the Government published a plan in July 2017 to tackle roadside nitrogen dioxide emissions which gives responsibility to local authorities to clean up their air.
Around the world and in the UK, London and other cities are already showing leadership by undertaking measures to tackle air pollution. Air pollution has long-term consequences on public health and the economies of UK cities. Increased levels of air pollution worsen people’s quality of life and contribute to many health problems, thus reducing life expectancy. It increases the risk of respiratory and cardiovascular disease, stroke and dementia.
By analysing this data planners can design effective traffic management solutions, implement car free pedestrianised zones and target the worst affected areas of the city.
- Measure & record specific, real time pollution levels across the city.
- Analyze & monitor levels against legal limits to ensure compliance.
- Implement pollution reduction strategies & verify results.
- Coordinate policy with a comprehensive traffic pedestrian and cycle zoning strategy.
- An increase in premature death, associated with lung, heart and circulatory conditions.
- Short term adverse health effects including exacerbation of asthma, reduced lung function and increases in hospital admissions.
- High concentrations of NO2 that can lead to inflammation of the airways.
- Other pollution related health problems include diabetes, cognitive decline and dementia, and potential impact on pregnant mothers and their unborn child.
- Approximately 28,000 to 36,000 deaths can be attributed to NO2 and fine particulate matter (PM) pollution in England every year.
Identifying the Objectives & Benefits of a Smart City clean air zone strategy.
- Improved air quality & health through reducing vehicle Nitrogen Oxide emissions.
- Improvement of public information and presentation of the facts to ensure awareness & buy in.
- Enables informed changes to travel patterns and behaviours, thus affecting vehicle trip numbers and pollution emissions.
- Aids development of low emission / congestion charge zones models which are fair, effective and workable.
- Encourages adoption of alternative low emission transport and changes in commuter behaviour towards public transport, car share & cycling health initiatives.
- Facilitates the creation of pedestrian friendly areas to promote healthy outdoor activity (Future Mobility Zones)
- Provides data to support & encourage funding initiatives in key new technologies such as electric vehicles.
- Supports and enables economic growth, competitiveness and jobs.
- Safeguards unique historic environments, public buildings, parks and World Heritage site status.
- Redefines Cities as healthy, ethical and sustainable environments.
- By implementing a coordinated and structured clean air strategy based on real time pollution data, Smart Cities can begin to reduce and reverse the huge damage being done to citizens.
- By fundamentally addressing traffic patterns within and around city centres progress will be made on reducing carbon and NO2 emissions.
A well thought out strategy & comprehensive traffic management scheme will lead to a change in commuter behaviour and encourage the use of public transport, walking and cycling making urban living greener and healthier. This will have a positive effect on the general health of citizens and create a canvas for public life and well being.
This in turn will encourage investment in new technologies, support economic development and enhances the potential of a city as a desirable place for visitors, businesses, and residents. Smart cities will pave the way for a new approach to urban transportation and drive changes in the way we live, work and play.
The Mayor of London has recently launched a new transport strategy which has “healthy streets” as a key objective. This includes targets for getting people out of cars to achieve an average of 20 minutes of exercise via bike or foot during their commute.