Dockless scooters are everywhere in most major cities—last-mile, flexible transportation. They’re all over the place outside our HQ in Paris and are quickly becoming a key part of many people’s daily commutes. They sure can get around a city, and that got us thinking… How can we work with these super-scooters to help gather even more air quality data?
How can we work with these super-scooters to get pollution information in those hard-to-reach places?
We teamed up with shared mobility company Bird to answer that key question. For the past two weeks, 25 Bird employees in Paris have been wearing our air pollution sensor, Flow as they ride around the city to redistribute shared electric scooters. In the process, they’ve started gathering data on how air quality changes from one street to the next, helping us map pollution across the city with unmatched precision.
In just the first two weeks of the partnership, the Bird Watchers covered nearly 1500 miles (over 26 000 football fields!) and gathered close to 300,000 data points for the most important pollutants in the air — nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10).
What can we do with all that information?
We recently launched live street-by-street maps of air quality for major cities around the world, based on advanced machine learning models that forecast how pollution will change on every street segment of a city. The team is now working to add data collected by the Bird Watchers to enhance these maps and make them even more accurate.
This kind of information gathering is a big deal in Paris because, while we have an amazing street-by-street map that gets updated once every hour, Flow data gets updated every 60 seconds on top of next-level precision.
But wait there’s more!
Paris today, your town tomorrow: crowdsourcing clean air.
This innovative approach could also provide cities and towns around the world with much needed air pollution data. There are lots of places that could benefit from having an air quality monitoring network but don’t necessarily have the budget or expertise to create and maintain one.
That’s the big idea. We’ve teamed up with Bird to show that high quality pollution data can be collected by citizens. So far, it’s looking pretty amazing.
As always, the maps and the tools are amazing, but the ultimate reason we do all of this is to support the fight against air pollution and climate change.
If you have a story to tell about using data or other scientific means to fight air pollution, reduce your own (or others) exposure, or raise awareness, we would love to hear from you! For example, check out this community driven mapping project from New York! Maybe we can help ✊.