VivaCity, the transport technology scaleup transforming cities into smarter and more efficient places to live and work, has partnered with Sheffield City Council to monitor the impact of the area’s newly introduced Clean Air Zone (CAZ).
Sheffield City Council has implemented a network of 17 VivaCity sensors monitoring traffic flow, alongside air quality sensors. The sensors are monitoring general traffic flow on the outer ring road, as well as increases and decreases in traffic, and the impact of the CAZ on pollutants. Co-locating VivaCity traffic monitoring sensors with air quality sensors capture the environmental and health benefits of reduced vehicle activity. The sensors were installed in March 2023, and results will be monitored over a period of three years.
As part of the UK government’s broader Air Quality Plan, a Clean Air Zone is an area within a city where a local authority has brought measures into place to improve the air quality. Sheffield’s CAZ is a class C chargeable zone for the most polluting heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), light goods vehicles (LGVs), vans, buses, coaches and taxis that drive in the zone.
The project announcement comes as the World Health Organisation and the UK Government recognise that air pollution is the largest environmental health risk we face today, with air pollution causing up to 36,000 deaths in the UK every year.
Greg Fell, Director of Public Health for Sheffield City Council, said: “When it comes to air pollution the evidence is clear – there is no ‘safe limit’.
“In Sheffield alone, air pollution contributes to between 250 to 500 deaths each year, and causes life threatening illnesses such as strokes, lung cancer and cardiovascular disease. Children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to the damage caused by air pollution. For children, the effects begin as early as the baby’s first weeks in the womb.
“Initiatives, such as the Clean Air Zone in Sheffield, will be a step towards cleaner air and a higher standard of health for local people. Through the CAZ we are working towards lowering harmful levels of NO2 in the city by reducing the number of older and heavier polluting vehicles driving around the wider Sheffield area, and sensors, such as VivaCity’s, are an integral part of monitoring traffic flow, alongside air quality sensors to understand the impact of Sheffield’s CAZ.”
Mark Nicholson, CEO and Co-Founder at VivaCity, commented: “With the implementation of the government’s Clean Air Plan and Clean Air Zones, it is crucial to monitor traffic flow, emissions, and air quality. Working with Sheffield City Council, we look forward to gathering this data and analysing the impact of the new CAZ. Improving air quality and reducing pollutants is an important cause to the VivaCity team, and we hope to continue delivering sustainable transport plans based on real-world evidence.”
VivaCity’s sustainable transport solution, Smart Traffic Monitoring, delivers a range of benefits for sustainable transport planning, monitoring and evaluation. VivaCity aims to help local authorities reduce emissions, decarbonise transport, and achieve Net Zero targets.