More Camden residents are inquiring about air quality following the installation of London’s first real time air pollution sign, according to Camden council.
In June 2012, the council installed the LED sign on the outside wall of its offices on Euston road.
Funded by Defra, the poster-sized sign displays live air quality messages to drivers, cyclists and pedestrians on what is one of the most polluted roads in the capital.
Messages are triggered by hourly measurements of two key pollutants in Camden; nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter. If the concentrations of these pollutants are low according to the Government’s UK Daily Air Quality Index, the sign will display a range of sustainable transport and health messages. When concentrations of pollutants are moderate or high, the messages will change to warn of elevated air pollution and its impact on pedestrians and cyclists.
The sign is intended to raise awareness of air quality, advise people when levels are elevated, encourage modal shift from travel by car, provide health information for residents and visitors, and, promote greener travel.
Speaking to airqualitynews.com this week, a spokeswoman for the council said that, althouth no measurable impact on air quality had been recorded since June, the sign had helped to improve awareness of air quality issues.
She said: “We have noticed an increase in air quality related enquiries from residents since we installed the sign.
“We did not anticipate a direct, or at least measurable, impact on air quality in the area as a result of the sign, however we do have a monitor on the Euston Road, so we will be able to assess levels of pollutants on the road over the coming years.”
Camden has some of the poorest air quality levels in the capital and the whole borough has been declared an air quality management area.
The air pollution sign is powered by data from the London Air Quality Network operations centre within King’s College.
The NO2 data is taken from the Euston Road roadside monitoring site. PM10 data is taken from the monitoring site on the Marylebone road (approximately 1 km away from the location of the sign) until an analyser, which measures PM is installed on the Euston Road site later this year.
Messages were tested with residents prior to going live, and further research into the sign’s effectiveness will be undertaken towards the end of the year.