New Technology to Measure Impact of Extra Traffic Pollution in London

University of Leicester researchers are set to use new technology they have developed to monitor the impact of increased traffic on pollution levels in London during the Olympics. The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games are expected to draw 11 million visitors from around the world to the UK’s capital for seven weeks, and 3 million extra car journeys are anticipated on the busiest day.

The team of researchers will use their CityScan technology, which gathers scattered sunlight to scan whole cities and take readings of air quality, to investigate the impact of this extra traffic on pollution. Rather than existing technology, which can only give an accurate reading for certain ‘hotspots’, CityScan can show the air quality over every point of the city – including individual roads, playgrounds and other buildings. It will also reveal the days and times when pollution levels are at their highest.

Sensors will be set up on a 30-storey building in North Kensington and a 14-storey building in Chelsea, in the west of the city, as well as a third location which is yet be determined.

The sensors will give readings of nitrogen dioxide, which is produced from traffic emissions and can decrease lung function and increase the risk from respiratory illnesses, including bronchitis and asthma.

The technology is already being tested in Leicester, and the scientists hope their findings will help councils all around the country improve environmental planning and traffic management issues.

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