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Published on November 14th, 2008 | by Ariel Schwartz


Traffic Pollution Sensors Getting a Trial Run in the UK

November 14th, 2008 by  

Have you ever wondered how many pollutants you’re breathing in while sitting in traffic sandwiched between two trucks? The Mobile Environmental Sensing System Across a Grid Environment (MESSAGE) can tell you. The system, designed by researchers at Newcastle University, produces real-time data on traffic pollutants including carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and noise.

But you can’t keep a personal MESSAGE system in your car. Instead, the sensors are placed at intervals along busy roads. Curious commuters can monitor pollution levels in real-time using a Google map application.

MESSAGE sensors are going to get a trial run in Gateshead, UK, where they will be closely watched by interested parties around the world. Researchers involved in the project speculate that tens of thousands of MESSAGE sensors could one day create an intelligent transport infrastructure.

Who knows— maybe one day we’ll take certain routes to work depending on both traffic and pollution levels. 

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About the Author

was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a senior editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine, and more. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.

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