Innovate UK A new integrated decision-making tool for urban health and policy evaluation QCumber-envHealth

Lead Research Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Department Name: Sch of Geosciences

Abstract

Decision-making and planning in rapidly growing urban centres require integrated assessment tools to determine impacts on environmental exposure, health and well being and inequalities. However, there is a lack of practical tools of sufficient spatial detail with which to determine current and future integrated exposure and health risks and to evaluate public policy options. In particular, despite the increasing availability of data, environmental datasets are limited to a few urban monitoring sites and information rich health microdata usually have restricted access (for confidentiality reasons). Moreover, spatio-temporal risk models are required to link exposure and health data to health outcomes and hence determine changes in risk from different policy and planning options. The overall aim of this project is create an interactive data platform, for Glasgow as an example urban environment that integrates geographically specific environmental exposure and health data and modelling: "QCumber-envHealth" to be used to quantify environmental exposure and health risks under different policy scenarios.

This project brings together researchers from Cambridge Environmental Research Consultants (CERC), and from the Universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Strathclyde. CERC has extensive experience in software development, modelling and analysing city data, including environmental exposure modelling and the innovative "QCumber" data platform. The Universities have extensive research expertise in environmental exposure, human health and inequalities, including comprehensive high density measurement capabilities, the development of novel synthetic data estimation techniques for information rich health microdata and spatio-temporal health risk modelling. Close engagement with identified end-users at Glasgow City Council, Transport Scotland, Future cities Glasgow, Health Protection Scotland and NHS Glasgow, will commence at the onset of the project and be maintained throughout.

The new "QCumber-envHealth" data platform will be customized by CERC to create a spatio-temporal database and interactive mapping tool for Glasgow integrating a wide range of existing and accessible datasets including health behaviour data available from the research team and linking with environmental modelling of air quality and noise (key innovation). Comprehensive measurements of air quality will be carried out to evaluate and improve existing Q-cumber exposure modelling capabilities with a focus on determining exposure along transport routes (key innovation). Key health micro datasets will be identified in collaboration with end users and synthesised (key innovation) for integration into the QCumber-envHealth platform. Health risk models will be developed for small area and micro data and integrated into QCumber-envHealth (key innovation). Working with end users, several relevant public policy scenarios associated with changing environmental (e.g. air or noise pollution, green space) or social (e.g. smoking prevalence, transport route) factors will be selected and health outcomes within the complex urban environment quantified (new innovation). The platform tool will be developed for use in Glasgow, but its methods and models will be fully transferable to other cities in the UK and worldwide. A commercialisation plan and timeline to market QCumber-envhealth to identified wider users across the UK: small authorities and larger local authorities, public bodies and commercial companies will be rolled out commencing with a dissemination workshop in the later stage of the project and presentations at national conferences e.g. Environmental Protection UK.

In summary, this project will combine leading research, innovative technological developments and insights from end users to deliver the new QCumber-envHealth platform for integrated exposure and health assessment to enable decision-making and planning in urban centres, fulfilling a longstanding market need.

Planned Impact

The SME CERC leading the proposal will benefit directly through development of a market lead in a sophisticated spatiotemporal mapping and modelling platform to assess environmental exposure and health-risks, and the associated
commercial income stream. CERC foresee two broad categories in the market: (i) larger local authorities, public bodies and commercial companies making intensive use of the system; (ii) smaller authorities. Further income benefit would derive
from exploitation to the users identified above across the forty major metropolitan areas in the UK and ultimately the EU and global market.

The end-users at Glasgow City Council, Transport Scotland, Future cities Glasgow, Health Protection Scotland and NHS Glasgow will benefit from a product aimed at addressing their needs in terms of determining changes in environmental exposure and forecasting health risks and outcomes under public policy options such as the creation of a low emissions zone, local air quality management, incident reporting and management, and various pertinent health outcomes.

A wider range of UK policy makers and regulatory agencies with responsibilities in the areas of air quality, exposure to air pollutants and noise, human health and inequalities will directly benefit from a platform tool that enables decision making and planning in relation to health outcomes of policy measures. This includes Environmental Protection UK (EPUK), UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), Communities and Local Government (CLG), the UK Department of Health (DH), Public Health England (PHE), and the Environment Agency (EA).

The general public will benefit through a tool that can be used for policy and planning assessment by regulatory and local authorities and decisions makers and greater awareness of the health risks associated with varied exposures. They will also benefit from a tool they can use as an individual for incident reporting or assessing exposure along alternate transport routes. Community groups would benefit from an interactive tool that provides information on exposure and health risk in their areas of interest/parts of the city where they reside, enabling informed conversations and aiding negotiations and decision making as a community body.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description We have developed and rigorously tested two competing models for quantifying the effects of air pollution on pregnancy outcomes, and software to fit these models has been passed to the safe haven. The first model has been applied to the real data but was found to be lacking some important model structure. The second model has thus been developed with mother level random effects, thus allowing a better model fit than the first model. An negative association between exposure to NO2 and child birth weight has been found.

High density air pollution sample measurements have been completed and corrections made by comparison with fixed reference monitors. These show the variation in pollution walking across a main road in Glasgow at different times of day.

Existing platform incident reporting tools in relation to health symptoms have implemented in the public platform. Policy case studies have been performed based on health outcomes relating to: a) air pollution, b) greenspace, c) tobacco outlet density.
Exploitation Route Tools to developed for Innovate UK product for policy makers. market analysis performed.
Sectors Education,Environment,Financial Services, and Management Consultancy,Healthcare,Government, Democracy and Justice,Transport

URL http://www.cerc.co.uk/environmental-research/smart-cities.html#QCumber
 
Description We have held two stakeholder workshops to present the QCumber-envhealth model to policy makers in Glasgow and nationally provide our showcase study linking one health outcome: child birth weight to air pollution, and to present three policy case studies relating to health and: a) air pollution, b) green space, c) tobacco outlet density,
First Year Of Impact 2016
Sector Environment,Healthcare,Government, Democracy and Justice,Transport
Impact Types Policy & public services

 
Title CARBeyes software development 
Description Improved functionality of CARBayes Linear Mixed Model developed by Dr Duncan Lee. https://cran.r-project.org/web/packages/CARBayes/index.html 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Not as yet 
URL https://cran.r-project.org/web/packages/CARBayes/index.html
 
Title QCumber platform 
Description We have developed a model platform to link environmental data to health outcomes, we have tested this model for various policy scenarios. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact 2 Workshops to stakeholders on use of this tool 
URL http://www.cerc.co.uk/environmental-research/smart-cities.html
 
Title QCumber envhealth model 
Description This is both a research database and a model. QCumber is an innovative open city data platform with crowd-sourcing and environmental tools, combining data from diverse sources into a user-friendly query framework. Policy case studies were performed with this model, 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact interest in model capabilities 
URL http://www.cerc.co.uk/environmental-research/smart-cities.html#QCumber
 
Description Collaboration on health (IVF) and air pollution project 
Organisation University of Edinburgh
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution investigators Clemens and Doherty are involved in a pilot project (Clemens as CoI) to link air pollution to IVF outcomes
Collaborator Contribution link weather and air pollution data to health data
Impact none yet
Start Year 2018
 
Description Edinburgh city deal 
Organisation University of Edinburgh
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Discussions with IOT team at University of Edinburgh and other schools on future streel-level air pollution and health risk modelling tools/platforms
Collaborator Contribution discussion to date
Impact none yet
Start Year 2019
 
Description ADMS user meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Dr Mark Jackson presented the project at CERC's 'ADMS-Urban & ADMS-Roads User Group Meeting' in Birmingham, attended by over 90 air quality professionals.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Air Pollution in Mexico City 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Dr Chun Lin presented work on field calibration of sensor-based portable monitors at the 'UK-Mexico workshop on Improving Assessment of Air Pollution in Mexican and UK cities' in Mexico City, Mexico.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Final project workshop presenting case studies 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Held our final project showcase workshop to policymakers. We demonstrated the use of the QCumvber envhealth tool for health evaluation. We examined: how child birth weight was impacted by air pollution, how clean air zones influences ai quality standards, how conversation of vacant land to green space improved mental health, how reducing the density of tobacco retailers improved smoking.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.cerc.co.uk/environmental-research/smart-cities.html
 
Description Poster of air quality measurements 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Chun Lin presented a poster on the air quality measurements at the Public Health England annual conference on outdoor and indoor air pollution research in the UK.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Presentation at E- event in Italy 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Dr David Carruthers (CERC) presented the project at an event 'Strategies and decision support systems for E-Governance of smart communities' at Microsoft House, Milan. The event was attended by representatives from industry, local and national government in Italy.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Presentation at GeoMed conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Dr Tom Clemens presented the health risk modelling at GeoMed in Porto, Portugal. GeoMed is probably the premier meeting worldwide on spatial health modelling. Dr Duncan Lee hosted a pre-conference workshop on CARBAYES, his spatial modelling software which was extended under our project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Presentation at Health data Science conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Prof Jamie Pearce presented at the Administrative Data Research Network conference in Edinburgh.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Presentation at PHE annual meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Dr Mat Heal presented experiences from the sensor evaluations at the Public Health England annual review meeting on outdoor and indoor air pollution research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Presentation at UK-US meeting on Air-Quality Modelling and Exposure Science 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Christina Hood presented at the UK-US meeting on Air-Quality Modelling and Exposure Science, including the ADMS modelling of the Glasgow Kerbside monitoring site as an example of a complex urban location. The meeting was attended by the US Environmental Protection Agency, the UK Environment Agency, Defra and the Met Office.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Talk at Maths forsees network workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Talk on dispersion modelling: "Nested Regional to Urban Modelling of Air Pollution Transport and Chemistry" to mathematics in EPSRC funded network
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.geos.ed.ac.uk/homes/rdoherty/CureAir.html
 
Description Talk at local health exposure meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Prof Ruth Doherty and Dr Mark Jackson presented the Qcumber platform and case study scenarios to a scoping network interested in the health impacts of clean air zones. The meeting was funded by the EPSRC SECURE network and hosted at the Inst. of Medicine.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017