Air Quality and Transport Data Analysis

Thursday, 15 June, 2023

Transport for West Midlands is combining environmental and transport datasets to support their Local Transport Plan

Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) are using weather and environmental sensors, alongside VivaCity traffic monitoring sensors, to monitor and evaluate the success of sustainable transport schemes and measure local carbon emissions and air quality in the region.

The West Midlands is the second largest region in the United Kingdom, where nearly six million residents live and work. In this geographically diverse area, TfWM has embarked on a journey that will change the way residents and others see and use local transport.

The vision to reimagine how people get around the region will result in an fairer, safer and healthier West Midlands, reducing the impact on the environment and encouraging sustainable travel.

Collaboration and innovation

TfWM engaged VivaCity to deploy 300 traffic monitoring sensors and 62 Vaisala weather and air quality measurement stations. This combination gives TfWM detailed and accurate traffic information and weather data across a large network.

VivaCity sensors are located based on population density and provide TfWM with multimodal data for traffic flows and movement paths. This long-term road user data is enabling TfWM to monitor and evaluate the success of sustainable transport schemes, including active travel uptake and modal shift. These insights can inform future initiatives and objectives.

TfWM, Vaisala and VivaCity worked together to research and plan where to co-locate all of the sensors. The data from the different systems is amalgamated, bringing a wealth of useful information that enables more data-driven decisions in real time and on a wider scale for positive impact.

Discover what makes VivaCity’s traffic sensors unique

Benefits of combining weather, air quality and traffic datasets

Each Vaisala sensor measures the most important urban pollutant gases (NO, NO2, O3, CO) and particles (PM1, PM2.5, PM10,) and is equipped with a weather transmitter that measures six of the most important weather parameters: air pressure, temperature, humidity, rainfall, wind speed and wind direction.

The weather and air quality insights help TfWM to understand not only current weather conditions across the region, but also the relationship between weather and traffic. Weather is one of the major causes of changes in traffic behaviour, and idle vehicles pollute much more than moving ones.

The weather and air quality insights, alongside traffic data, offer the potential for TfWM to optimise traffic signals and speed limits to help traffic move more smoothly, to reduce congestion and improve air quality.

Looking ahead

This innovation-led approach by TfWM, Vaisala and VivaCity will continue to evolve and be used for other purposes to serve the public.

TfWM is already looking to see how they can use this information to promote active travel and further reduce the region’s carbon footprint.

Our Local Transport Plan, Reimagining Transport in the West Midlands, is a critical project for addressing social, economic and environmental issues. Success for this large-scale endeavour begins with accurate data, and we are surprised at the insights this solution is already delivering. VivaCity and Vaisala are excellent organisations to work with, and I am confident the data the technology provides will lead us to accomplish even more than we imagine in the near future.

Paul Burrow, Senior Transport Innovation Project Lead

Mark Nicholson, CEO and Co-Founder at VivaCity, commented:

“The conversation around air quality, sustainability and the impact of travel has become essential, and it’s great to be partnering with TfWM and Vaisala to provide key and new data for local authorities and researchers. By providing these insights, decisions can be made about infrastructure and both immediate and longer term plans can be put in place to improve air quality.”

Danny Johns, Business Development Manager, Weather and Environment, at Vaisala added:

“Using weather and air quality data together with VivaCity’s traffic sensors provides valuable input to facilitate smoother traffic flows in the West Midlands region and demonstrates the power of the close collaboration between our two organisations. These various data sources help build a better understanding of the key relationship between the vehicles, the pollution they create, and the way that pollution either stays close to the ground or disperses depending on the prevailing weather conditions.”

Learn more about how VivaCity’s Computer Vision sensors can power up traffic monitoring schemes

Image of ipad with VivaCity


What’s inside:

  • The benefits of using computer vision sensors for road scheme planning, monitoring and evaluation, and for optimal flow and road safety
  • An overview of the features & benefits of computer vision sensors for:
    • Classification and counting of 10 classes and up to 32 sub-classes of road users
    • Vehicle path detection
    • Median Journey Time
    • Speed and Zonal speed
  • Insight into how traditional traffic management technologies fall short of requirements and how computer vision sensors solve these issues

Want to know more about what is inside the brochure before? This page has the full info.

About Vaisala

Vaisala and VivaCity partnership

Vaisala is a global leader in weather, environmental, and industrial measurements. Building on 85 years of experience, Vaisala provides observations for a better world, with space-proof technology even exploring Mars and beyond. They are a reliable partner for customers around the world, offering a comprehensive range of innovative observation and measurement products and services. Headquartered in Finland, Vaisala employs over 2,000 professionals worldwide and is listed on the Nasdaq Helsinki stock exchange.

Get in touch with the VivaCity team to find out more about our traffic management and data solution and ask for a free demo.

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