Better urban air quality does not need drastic measures – but a meaningful database for decisions
Hawa Dawa has been commissioned by Stadtwerke Mainz with an innovative and result-driven project: creating a sustainable data-based decision-making basis. Hawa Dawa will propose stepped measures to improve urban air quality based on their projected impact on air quality, applying data-based analyses, and forecasts. For this purpose, an intelligent infrastructure for collecting environmental and traffic data as well as a data platform for evaluation is established.
With a population of about 215,000 people on an area of almost 100 square kilometres, Mainz is a densely populated city. The increased urban structure and the increasing traffic pose challenges for the city in terms of air quality. The concentrations of nitrogen dioxide emissions are mainly due to emissions from road transport (commercial vehicles, buses, public transport and cars with diesel engines). To a high degree, starting and braking is responsible for increased emissions. Accordingly, enhancing traffic flow can lead to a reduction in emission levels, with the same volume of traffic. This can be achieved through dynamic measures, but they depend on the urban situation. The optimisation potential is multi-layered – but the concept requires a database that does not exist to date. Hawa Dawa’s holistic approach integrates air quality data into a data-based platform for optimising urban traffic, taking into account other influencing factors. In this way, the city of Mainz gets the necessary information to reduce harmful emissions and to improve air quality sustainably, without having to deploy to drastic and undifferentiated measures, such as general driving bans or closures.
Hawa Dawa as a partner provides a comprehensive solution, which ranges from the collection of data, partly with proprietary IoT measuring devices, to the analysis of the extensive database to modelling and dynamic forecasting. The intuitive web interface for displaying the results allows decision-makers to gain deeper insights conveniently. On this data basis, Hawa Dawa’s interdisciplinary team with experts on environmental-sensitive and air pollutant-reduced traffic management supports the city of Mainz in the selection of “soft measures”. For this purpose, problem areas and routes are identified, and possible measures from the database of the Federal Road Transport Institute are evaluated for their applicability and effects on the specific local conditions. Hawa Dawat deliberately refrains from drastic and undifferentiated measures but pursues a dynamic and holistic approach that takes into account both the full breadth of the possible mobility concepts as well as the impact on neighbouring areas.
Karim Tarraf, Managing Director of Hawa Dawa, explains: “Many municipalities face the dilemma of urgently working to improve air quality, while at the same time avoiding drastic measures to ensure that the quality of life for citizens is secured.’ Gentle measures’ require a more accurate understanding of the situation. The data for this is usually not available in an appropriate form. Our approach provides not only detailed insights into the current situation but also enables existing means to be used efficiently to achieve the highest possible effect for improving air quality forgetting about the links between transport, air quality and climate.”