The quality of the air we breathe has a major impact on our health. Even in Amsterdam, a city where bikes make up 36 percent of the traffic, the average life span is cut short by a year as a result of polluted air. Information about air quality at the street level can help pinpoint areas where the quality is poor, which is useful for all types of people—whether you’re a bicyclist on your daily commute, a parent taking your children to a local park, or an urban planner designing new communities.
Project Air View
Building on efforts in London and Copenhagen, Google and the municipality of Amsterdam are now working together to gain insight into the city’s air quality at the street level. Amsterdam already measures air quality at several points around the city. Information from two of our Street View cars in Project Air View will augment the measurements from these fixed locations, to yield a more detailed street-by-street picture of the city’s air quality.
To take the measurements, the Street View cars will be equipped with air sensors to measure nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide, ultra-fine dust and soot (extremely small particles that are hardly ever measured). Scientists from Utrecht University are equipping the air sensors into the vehicles, and working with the municipality and Google to plan the routes for driving and lead the data validation and analysis. Once the data validation and analysis is complete, we’ll share helpful insights with the public, so that everyone—citizens, scientists, authorities and organizations—can make more informed decisions.
This research can spread awareness about air pollution and help people take action. For example, if the research shows differences in air quality between certain areas in the city, people could adjust their bike route or choose another time to exercise. Our hope is that small changes like this can help improve overall quality of life. For more information about Project Air View, visit g.co/earth/airquality.