Research has shown a drop in nitrogen dioxide and other dangerous particulates after a School Street was introduced at Mossbourne Riverside Academy on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The study was commissioned by LLDC and the SHIFT innovation agency in conjunction with Aeternum whose network of sensors reported a reduction in PM2.5 levels of 45% during morning school rush hour.
The School Streets Initiative was launched to transform roads outside schools, so that pedestrians and cyclists are prioritised at school start and finish times. The scheme is designed to tackle congestion and improve air quality at the school gates, making it easier and safer to walk and cycle to school. As well as an improvement in air quality, the study reveals an increase in pupils cycling to school, which has been supported by the installation of additional cycle stands.
This research, which looked at changes in air quality since the introduction of School Streets in February 2023, was carried out by Aeternum Innovations, whose solar-powered sensors measured air quality before and after the implementation of the School Street. Aeternum’s sensors collect and monitor hazardous solid and liquid particles in the air, as well as harmful gases like nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and hydrogen sulphide.
The analysis revealed a 45% reduction in PM 2.5 levels (see attached chart). Note: studies show that high levels of PM2.5 have been linked to asthma, coronary heart disease, and various forms of cancer.
The Mossbourne Riverside Academy monitoring began in July 2022 before the School Street was installed and continued until July 2023. The School Street was implemented in February 2023. Aeternum’s involvement follows a similar trial with SHIFT at Bobby Moore Academy, another school based in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, in the run up to COP-26.
Abdul Rahim, CIO, SHIFT, said: “Making sure that local people benefit from the exciting research we carry out through SHIFT is at the heart of what we do. It’s great to see proof that changes made at a very local level can have significant benefits on the quality of life for those in the immediate area.”
Amy Wood, Headteacher, Mossbourne Riverside Academy, said: “The School Street has been a fabulous improvement, the change is noticeably safer for all children and helps them to start the day safely and calmly. It also encourages children and families to arrive in a sustainable way. Our children are able to focus better when they have arrived at school actively exercising, walking, scooting or cycling.”
Will Norman, Walking and Cycling Commissioner, said: “Schools Streets are gamechangers when it comes to both safety and air pollution, and this is made clear by the improvements in air quality seen at Mossbourne Riverside Academy. There are more than 500 School Streets in London that make it easier for kids to walk cycle or scoot to school, helping to improve road safety, reduce air pollution and build a better, greener London for all.”
Rose Carter of Aeternum Innovations said “We all know that School Streets help to keep children safe from traffic, but what we found from this study is that it also improves the ambient air quality. Using our easy to deploy sensors, we were able to quantify these benefits by a reduction of both particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide levels. We all have a role in making our air cleaner to breathe, and smart city technology like this can be quickly deployed to measure the positive impact changes are having on the local community.”
SHIFT accelerates innovation that transforms how we live in cities. The innovation agency brings together business, academia, government and local communities to find and scale solutions to the major challenges of city life, with a focus on climate emergency response, health and wellbeing, and mobility.
Working at the grassroots of innovation, SHIFT facilitates access to the internationally recognised testbed at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which innovators can use to test and demonstrate the potential of new ideas. SHIFT has so far enabled 20 innovation trials in east London, ranging from edible packaging and smart lock technology to air and sound quality monitoring devices. Through its carefully curated ecosystem, SHIFT also works to build connections and spark collaboration between startups, corporates, universities, community groups and policymakers.
SHIFT was formed in 2022 by a cross-sector partnership of leading organisations based at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park: LLDC, Lendlease, Plexal, Here East, UAL College of Fashion, Loughborough University London and UCL East.
Spread across 560 acres of stunning parklands, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is home to beautifully landscaped gardens, historic waterways, famous sporting venues, a vibrant arts and events programme and the ArcelorMittal Orbit visitor attraction.
As the new heart of east London, the Park is still transforming, providing homes, jobs and an unrivalled education and cultural district housing Sadler’s Wells, BBC, V&A East, UAL’s London College of Fashion and UCL East.
The London Legacy Development Corporation promotes and delivers physical, social, economic and environmental regeneration in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the surrounding area by maximising the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
For more information visit our website (QueenElizabethOlympicPark.co.uk), sign up to our e-newsletter (QueenElizabethOlympicPark.co.uk/subscribe), follow us on Twitter (@noordinarypark) and like us on Facebook (facebook.com/QueenElizabethOlympicPark)
Aeternum helps you make better decisions about your local environment – how much or how little pollution exists, the health of the air that you breathe, and more.
We can build a network of small sensors located throughout your community that run on their own power using solar power to collect and send air pollution and other key data to you wirelessly. We will also provide tools and analytical capabilities so that you can take positive action now to improve your environment and make it less harmful. Aeternum’s micro sensors are easy to install and can be quickly deployed throughout a community.
You can learn more about Aeternum at https://aeternum.co/