News 2015-08-24

New environmental service will facilitate healthier job commuting and better school environments

IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute will install multiple sensors to measure air and noise pollution around Gothenburg. These sensors will allow users to see the levels of air pollution they are exposed to and enable them to make active choices concerning health risks, for example, by planning their itineraries.

– Individuals will be advised on alternative forms of transport or routes, both to enhance their own health and wellbeing and to contribute to a cleaner air quality in their surroundings, for example in the environs of schools and kindergartens. The project will target schools to increase awareness both among students and the general public of how our environment is impacted by our behaviour, says project leader Fredrik Hallgren at IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute.

The sensors will measure nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter and noise levels, and in aggregate provide a good picture of the current pollution situation in the city. In total 50 sensors will be installed in the areas around Korsvägen and Gårda in Gothenburg and positioned at schools, kindergartens, streets and at the mouth of the Tingstad tunnel.

The City of Gothenburg is heavily trafficked and road transportation is the pollution source that has most effect on air quality at street level. This degradation of air quality has an adverse impact on the health of city residents. Gothenburg City has adopted a fresh air environmental objective, which among other things means that by 2020 the annual mean value of nitrogen dioxide must not exceed 20 micrograms per cubic meter in the environs of 95 per cent of all schools and kindergartens. To achieve this goal a number of corrective measures must be taken.

Behind the newly started project, which goes under the name EcoWeather, IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute in collaboration with, inter alia, the environmental administration of the City of Gothenburg. The project is based on the Internet of Things (IoT) – a collective term for the development which means that machinery, vehicles, household appliances, people, etc., equipped with sensors and processors. These units can perceive their environment, communicate with it and adopt situation sensitive behaviour that will help create smart, attractive and helpful environments, goods and services.

The current project in Gothenburg will amass information about air pollution in the user’s immediate neighbourhood, a kind of environmental weather report. The service can be used not only by private individuals, but also by companies, researchers and cities. EcoWeather will support cities in their efforts to mitigate environmental impact. Scientists can use the data provided the service both to show the correlation between health and the local environment, and to evaluate the comparative cost of different air pollution interventions.

Environment Weather is financed by Vinnova and expected to take two years to complete. It is administered by IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute and is a collaborative initiative between the City of Gothenburg, Vinnter, ACREO Swedish ICT, IMCG, ThingWorx and Interactive Institute Swedish ICT.

For more information, please contact:
Fredrik Hallgren, fredrik.hallgren@ivl.se