01 Sep 2020
Air quality & traffic
200 devices

The Cardiff case study will primarily explore the interlinkages between road transport and air pollution. Air pollution is linked to a number of health effects including respiratory and cardio-vascular disease and is considered the single largest environmental health risk in Europe. In the UK, one of the dominant sources of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) and Particulate Matter (PM10 and PM2.5) is road transport.

For 20 years, Cardiff City Council has been monitoring and assessing local air quality and have identified four geographically distinct transport-related Air Quality Management Areas related to exceedances of the NO2 annual mean limit value. Air quality estimates are only reliable with meaningful traffic data that is both locally relevant and scientifically robust. This localised data can better inform the understanding of pollution generation, assist in determining methods for personal exposure management and provide evidence to support both technical and social policy measures to reduce pollution. Everyday approximately 90,000 commuters travel into the city, between 76% and 84% travel by car, and planned development in the Cardiff city region is likely to result in increased car trips and increased pollution and health effects. Infrastructure changes, technological solutions and societal behaviour change must be priority action areas to address this challenge.

The Cardiff case study will marry the citizen-led data generation through WeCount (traffic counts, traffic mix, speed data and air pollution data) with co-operation/collaboration platforms to bring citizen and community groups together with the local authority, health boards, transport operators and employers/businesses to enable a citizen science-policy dialogue that will be essential to addressing societal behaviour and instigating changes in citizen habits to create sustainable pathways to a low carbon, clean air and healthy futures.

The case study aims to operate across the city and wider region but will also seek to focus on:

Schools: The young are most vulnerable to poor air quality and recent exposure evidence indicates growing concern about short term acute exposure to air pollution at drop off and pick up times in the vicinity of schools with some local authorities and public health bodies proposing interventions including vehicle restrictions and green infrastructures. Schools provide an engagement pathway that permits the WeCount data to inform both exposure risk management for school children and behaviour interventions for parents.

Commuting for Work: This activity will use the WeCount data to facilitate a collaborative science-policy dialogue between citizens (employees) and business (employers) alongside local stakeholders by connecting pollution generation and behaviours (esp. commuting) of people living/working in Cardiff.

Air Quality Management Areas and Strategic Routes
: WeCount will work with individuals and community groups along key strategic routes within or near Cardiff’s Air Quality Management Areas to better quantify and understand the spatial and temporal variation in local transport and air pollution.