Location: London (King’s Cross) and Cambridge
Breath in the City deployed a sensor network in London and Cambridge to gather air quality data with high geographic precision. They hope that by sharing this data and by promoting the advantages of cycling, people will change their transportation habits to avoid pollution spots and improve their health.
Recent studies estimate that 9,500 people die each year in London due to long-term exposure to air pollution (Mayor of London, 2015), primarily caused by particulates (PM2.5) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Transportation, particularly vehicles that are still using fossil fuel, are responsible for 80% of the NOX emissions in our air, and therefore, greatly contribute to health issues in the city. Studies have also shown that for the same route, car drivers inhale up to three times more pollutants than pedestrians or cyclists, due to cars trapping particles from surrounding vehicles (Healthy Air, 2014), yet the vast majority of people believe the contrary to be true.
Breath and the City hoped to address this challenge by deploying their newly designed sensor, which measures all parameters relevant to the Air Quality Index, in London and Cambridge. Data from the sensors was then collected, managed and shared through a platform the team developed. Nymbly will now use data modeling to identify key issues and potential solutions from the information collected during the experiment. With enough sensors installed in the future, Nymbly hope that new services can be created to help citizens plan their journeys around areas of poor air quality and make healthier transport choices, leading to an improved quality of life and wellbeing.
All of Nymbly’s sensors used LoRaWAN and Bluetooth. Nymbly also developed its own platform tailored to LoRaWAN, which included security provisioning, device installation and management. LoRaWAN helped the team achieve lower power consumption with their sensor, which reduced their costs and improved the scalability of their design.
- Nymbly’s sensor design worked very well.
- Managing the battery life of the sensor was challenging, but ultimately successful and LoRa greatly lowered the initial operating costs of the sensors.
- The data gathered by the sensors proved to be very insightful and offered enough information to develop a commercial product.
- The LoRa network coverage was hard to predict. In some buildings, there was no coverage, even though it had been expected. The team had to switch their area of deployment as a result.
- Air quality in London is really, really, really bad!
Learn about the other Things Connected experiments.