What’s the Impact of Traffic on Air Pollution & How to Map it Better?

Air pollution takes more than 7 million lives each year, and 200 000 in the United States alone. With traffic being one of the leading causes of pollution in our cities, it is a key component to reliable air quality data.

BreezoMeter understands the impact of cars and road traffic on air quality. That’s why we include traffic data in our air quality calculations. Real-time traffic data allows us to bring accurate air quality data to your users.

Traffic & Air Pollution Data

Air quality doesn’t stand still. It changes from hour to hour, with large variations in quality even from neighborhood to neighborhood. Traffic is an important part of why air quality fluctuates: the higher the traffic density, the higher the air pollution tends to be.

Most pollution data platforms don’t take traffic into account. If they do, it’s with models using yearly road traffic averages to paint an overall picture of pollution levels. Thus missing changes happening in the real world, in real-time. And who wants to get irrelevant data? In 2017, it’s all about being real-time and location based.

Using yearly averages, or not using traffic at all, air quality analytics’ accuracy is impacted by the influence of road-traffic on monitoring stations. Official monitoring stations measure pollutants at their precise location, including pollution linked to cars. Because there are not reliable governmental sensors on each and every street, and yet pollution might be very different from one block to the other, this can lead to erroneous data, when using the ‘nearest station’ air quality analytics approach.

Let’s take an example: a governmental station is located very close to a traffic jam, and thus records high levels of pollution during peak hours. It’s the only station within a 10 miles radius.

The ‘nearest station’ approach will indicate high pollution in areas that are actually not impacted by the traffic jams. And vice versa: an air quality monitoring station positioned far away from main roads will record little air pollution from cars. If this data is solely used to deduce air pollution on main roads, it will show low and usually inaccurate report on air pollution.

BreezoMeter’s Approach to Traffic

BreezoMeter does things a little differently. Instead of taking averages, we use updates on real-time traffic data from HERE, a leader in the field, refreshed every 12 mintues. It enables us to better identify where and when traffic congestion occurs. We then use machine-learning techniques to calculate the impact of current traffic on pollution, adjust station measurements, and add this data layer into our algorithms.

As of today, BreezoMeter is the only air quality data provider leveraging real-time traffic analysis. Using HERE’s data, BreezoMeter aims to deliver a more accurate picture of local air quality, helping you better inform and protect your customers and elevate your brand.

Air Quality Features that Drive Business

Very accurate & hyperlocal air pollution data is just the beginning. Our API allows you to send alerts when a pollution problem occurs, including which pollutants are most dangerous. It can help you build a navigation tool to offer drivers, runners & bikers concerned for their health safe driving routes that avoid the polluted areas. Our color-coded maps can show them where pollution is most highly concentrated.

Pollution doesn’t count on averages. Instead, it shifts constantly, and changes in traffic can have a big impact. With big data, we’re able to deliver your users a better picture of the air quality where they are.

When integrated into your mobile apps, websites, landing pages, and marketing campaigns, our pollution information and visual maps drive engagement, satisfaction, and ultimately your sales.

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Ran Korber

CEO & Co-founder at @BreezoMeter. My burning ambition is to improve the health and quality of life for billions of people across the globe by providing accurate and actionable air quality data. As co-founder and CEO at BreezoMeter, I'm proud to be able to work towards bringing my dream to fruition each day.