Pervasive Mobile Environmental Sensor Grids

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds


The impact of road traffic on local air quality is a major public policy concern and has stimulated a substantial body of research aimed at improving underlying vehicle and traffic management technologies and informing public policy action. Recent work has begun to exploit the capability of a variety of vehicle-based, person-based and infrastructure-based sensor systems to collect real time data on important aspects of driver and traffic behaviour, vehicle emissions, pollutant dispersion, concentration and human exposure.The variety, pervasiveness and scale of these sensor data will increase significantly in the future as a result of technological developments that will enable sensors to become cheaper, smaller and lower in power consumption. This will open up enormous opportunities to improve our understanding of urban air pollution and hence improve urban air quality. However, handing the vast quantities of real time data that will be generated by these sensors will be a formidable task and will require the application of advanced forms computing, communication and positioning technologies and the development of ways of combining and interpreting many different forms of data.Technologies developed in EPSRC's e-Science research programme offer many of the tools necessary to meet these challenges. The aim of the PMESG project is to take these tools and by extending them where necessary in appropriate ways develop and demonstrate practical applications of e-Science technologies to enable researchers and practitioners to coherently combine data from disparate environmental sensors and to develop models that could lead to improved urban air quality.The PMESG project is led by Imperial College London, and comprises a consortium of partners drawn from the Universities of Cambridge, Southampton, Newcastle and Leeds who will work closely with one another and with a number of major industrial partners and local authorities.Real applications will be carried out in London, Cambridge, Gateshead and Leicester which will build on the Universities' existing collaborative arrangements with the relevant local authorities in each site and will draw on substantial existing data resources, sensor networks and ongoing EPSRC and industrially funded research activities. These applications will address important problems that to date have been difficult or impossible for scientists and engineers working is this area of approach, due to a lack or relevant data. These problems are of three main types; (i) measuring human exposure to pollutants, (ii) the validation of various detailed models of traffic behaviour and pollutant emission and dispersion and (iii) the development of transport network management and control strategies that take account not just of traffic but also air quality impacts. The various case studies will look at different aspects of these questions and use a variety of different types of sensor systems to do so. In particular, the existing sensor networks in each city will be enhanced by the selective deployment of a number of new sensor types (both roadside and on-vehicle/person) to increase the diversity of sensor inputs.The e-Science technologies will be highly general in nature meaning that will have applications not only in transport and air quality management but also in many other fields that generate large volume of real time location-specific sensor data.


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