Project Air View maps ultrafine particles, soot and other substances in Amsterdam’s air
Over the past two years, the Municipality of Amsterdam, the University of Utrecht and Google have collaborated on the Air View project, in which Amsterdam’s air quality was measured by two Street View cars with equipment special measurement. These cards have now been shared with the world for the first time. They show that motorized traffic can increase the concentration of ultrafine particles, soot and nitrogen dioxide up to 3 times in busy streets compared to quieter streets. Maps and data are accessible through the websites of Google Environmental Insights Explorer (EIE) and the University of Utrecht.
The quality of the air we breathe has a major impact on our health. Hyperlocal street-level air quality information can help residents, planners and others identify areas of poor air quality and develop improvement plans.
Amsterdam Low Emission Zones in Google Maps
In addition to sharing data and maps from Project Air View, Google will also be rolling out a new feature in Google Maps in Amsterdam in the coming weeks that will visualize low-emission zones in the city. This new feature allows drivers to know when they are navigating in an environmental zone and whether a specific vehicle is allowed in the zone. Based on this information, drivers can, for example, choose an alternative means of transport or take a different route.
Street level measurements
Pollution data is measured at street level with Project Air View, on busy and less traveled roads. This results in hyperlocal information, which is a unique addition to the measurements from the fixed measuring stations that Amsterdam already uses for monitoring and planning. The project also offered the possibility of measuring certain atmospheric pollutants which are currently not systematically mapped (such as ultrafine particles and soot). The approximately 6 million measurements with Street View cars took place in Amsterdam over 9 months in 2019 and 2020.
Motorized road traffic is the most important source of air pollution in Amsterdam. Air pollution on a busy street with a lot of traffic is about three times higher than on a quiet street with little traffic.
The highest concentrations on the maps can be seen on the main access roads to the city, where there is a lot of car traffic. For example, for the three components measured (ultrafine particles, nitrogen dioxide, soot), device A10 has the highest concentrations. Busy streets such as Stadhouderskade, Wibautstraat and Nieuwe Leeuwarderweg also score significantly higher than neighboring neighborhoods and streets. Concentrations around the city center appear to be higher than in neighborhoods further from the center (eg, North, New West, South-East). Data also shows an increase in ultrafine particle concentrations near Schiphol, while soot and nitrogen dioxide concentrations in these neighborhoods appear to be lower than in the rest of the city.
According to the municipality of Amsterdam, the Air View project confirms the existing knowledge on air quality in Amsterdam. In some areas, it complements the existing air monitoring network, such as extensive measurements of other substances. Think of the relatively new ultrafine particles, a substance that is also important for health.
Roel Vermeulen, Professor of Environmental Epidemiology and Exposome Science at Utrecht University: “It is crucial to have these very detailed maps of air pollution for an entire city, especially when talking about particles. harmful that are not yet regulated, such as ultrafine particles. They are widely used, and this is the first time that we can see this in detail. This gives us the opportunity to study what the health effects are and whether there is a need for regulation. “
Google Netherlands Country Director Martijn Bertisen: “We are happy to be able to help create new information on air quality in Amsterdam and make it available to researchers, politicians and citizens themselves. same. It also shows how cutting-edge technology and partnerships can help solve some of the era’s biggest challenges, such as sustainability, when government agencies and private actors work well together. “
Air View has also been introduced in Copenhagen, Dublin and London, among others. The two Street View cars and the measuring equipment used in Amsterdam have been taken over by the University of Utrecht and will now be used for the Data- and Knowledge Hub Healthy Urban Living and the European research program EXPANSE to measure the quality of the air in several European cities, with Basel as one of the next cities.
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