Cities produce a wide array of air pollutants, mainly from the burning of fuel for heating and from motor vehicles. Many of these pollutants (e.g. NOx, CO2, CH4, black carbon, O3) are also powerful greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.
Cycling generates no significant air pollution, causes negligible noise and has a relatively low ecological footprint from bicycle manufacture, compared to motor vehicles. Promoting bicycles as a means of everyday transportation, e.g. to and from work, is economically viable and environmentally sound. It contributes to improved quality of life, reduces traffic congestion and improves the overall health of cyclists (as a direct effect of exercise) and non-cyclists (through cleaner air).
The main goal of LIFE+ RESPIRA is to demonstrate that the urban air pollution intake by cyclists and pedestrians can be reduced by using new technologies and other options in urban planning, urban design and mobility management.
The project will carry out the following actions in the city of Pamplona: Analysis of air quality and urban cycling in Pamplona; Design and development of data processing tools (modelling, GIS, data management plan) to process information gathered in the previous step. These tools will be used to provide updated information to urban planners and managers, and as a public source of information on air quality; Development of air-quality monitoring prototypes to quantify the amount of pollutants inhaled by cyclists. These will include a high-precision portable sensor for air pollutants (NO, NO2, CO, CO2), portable structures for mask testing, and complementary equipment such as particle and black carbon analysers; Monitoring traffic-related pollutants using a dense mesh of mobile sensor platforms to be carried by volunteers while cycling, and fixed sensors and other equipment; Development of a “healthy route planner” app that will assist cyclists in choosing less-polluted routes; Construction of 300 m2 of photo-catalytic pavement and the assessment of its effects in reducing air pollutants; Assessment of the efficacy of protective masks currently on the market; and The preparation of a cycling mobility plan for Pamplona. This plan will establish air quality criteria and recommendations for future urban planning.
Expected results: Precise knowledge of the local time and space distribution of air pollutants in cities; Estimates of the health risks associated with traffic pollution, specifically for cyclists, taking into account weather, time, traffic conditions and, in particular, cycling options (e.g. routes taken); Assessment of the effectiveness of pollutant-reduction technologies and management options for reducing pollutants that are inhaled; Estimates of the environmental, health, carbon footprint and economic benefits of a shift to cycling as a transportation option; Development of a spatially-explicit model for air pollutants under various scenarios that can be adapted to other similar cities; Development of information tools (GIS, data management plan) for data processing and application; Development of a “healthy route planner”, enabling citizens to select the least-polluted route for cycling between two points; Transfer to citizens and city planners information on air quality, and on the benefits of healthy transportation, the risks associated with air pollution and options for more sustainable living; A guide for public officials detailing measures, management options and planning features that can help to improve air quality in cities; An increase in public awareness about the benefits of environmentally sustainable transportation, and the risks associated with air pollution; and Data that can be used by policy makers and other stakeholders to draft or improve policies and regulations for improving air quality in cities.