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London bike couriers set to map the capital's pollution

A collaboration between London courier firm Gophr and former Labour politician Paul Drayson's firm will see the city mapped with carbon monoxide data...

A team of 50 cycle couriers from London same-day courier service Gophr are set to be equipped with carbon monoxide monitors to map the capital's pollution.

The project goal is to create  "the world's most advanced air pollution map," and has been masterminded by former Labour minister Paul Drayson's firm Drayson Technologies, which works towards connecting the world via the 'internet of things.

Drayson Technologies has equipped Gophr cycle couriers with 50 of their carbon monoxide sensors which they call CleanSpace Tags.

These tags will collect data from the trips each rider takes every day and will compile it to make a real-time map of the air pollution levels around the city.

The cyclists are expected to cover around 17,000 per month, and the data collection won't be relying on patchy and unreliable mobile phone GPS connections. Each CleanSpace Tagged ride will have its height and real-time location data monitored using long range trackers developed by Inmarsat - a satellite communications provider -  to give precise context to the air pollution data collected.

>Read more: Air pollution makes Oxford Street buses double hazard for cyclists

Chairman and CEO of Drayson Technologies, Lord Drayson, told Business Green magazine that the aim of this project was to help the people of London see the air that they are breathing and to create a smarter society.

"The CleanSpace network aims to provide the world's most advanced air pollution map using thousands of personal sensors powered by Freevolt technology," he said.

"This partnership brings together the combined expertise and commitment of Drayson Technologies, Gophr and Inmarsat so that people in London can see the air they breathe and help to create, not just a smart city - but a smarter society."

This is just the start of Drayson Technologies forray into pollution mapping. The firm expect to partner with more cycle couriers, London-based businesses, organisations and individuals to solidify the firm's aim of creating the most advanced air pollution map.

A recent Cambridge University study modelled the risks and benefits of walking and cycling, and came to the conclusion that cycling's health benefits far outweigh the risks of exposure to air pollution.

Interestingly though, that same study stipulated that cycling's health benefits are canceled out by pollution in the case of cycle couriers. 

>Read more: Sadiq Khan's ambitious plan to tackle London pollution

Despite the all-clear Cambridge Univeristy gave casual cyclists on the fear-of-pollution front, you may still be mildly concerned about your health in relation to inner city pollution levels.

If you are, you should investigate the University of Toronto's appClean Ride Mapper, that allows cyclists to find out the least polluted route the their destination.

As a side benefit to projects like the Gophr-Drayson Technologies collaboration mentioned in this article, data sets like those being gathered in this project should go a long way towards improving services such as these.

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kenyond | 7 years ago

The cyclist are expected to cover 17000 what per month?

It seems like a good idea to map it but will they be taking weather data in to consideration as well? And are they going to release the daily updated data?

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