Exposure to poor air quality is the world’s fourth-leading threat to human health. More than 8 million deaths worldwide are because of degraded environmental conditions.
90% of children are breathing in polluted air across the world daily, leading to a dramatic increase in respiratory issues. The big challenge is that air quality may deteriorate even further, thanks to rapid urbanization. Vehicle traffic and smog from industrial plants contribute significantly to deteriorating air quality. According to EEA, By 2040, CO2 and NOx emissions from aviation are expected to increase by at least 21% and 16%, respectively.
According to the United Nations, 55% of the world lives in urban areas now and this number will be 68% by 2050. This definitely means more vehicles, more congestion, and more industrial emissions. This cannot be stopped unless actions based on smart solutions are taken. This is exactly why urban leaders and planners are looking out for smart solutions to make urban living a healthier and safer experience.
Now the question that arises is how can smart solutions like smart environment, smart parking, and smart traffic management help governments around the world tackle and reduce pollution.
Solutions like smart environment, smart traffic management, and smart parking can definitely help governments to increase the livable index of their cities. There are 2 factors that drive the operation of the same: gathering data and then using that data in a meaningful way to drive some actions.
Let us have a look at some solutions now.
Smart environment solution provides the values for all the important environmental parameters to the government, including early indicators of high pollution zones. This can enable the administrators to efficiently monitor the air quality and address concerns such as health. Not just that, IoT, machine learning models and artificial intelligence (AI) can also be used to predict pollution spikes so so that preventive measures can be taken on time. AI and ML models can detect patterns in big data that are too complex for human analysts to spot.
Data can be collected via sensors from a number of points across a city: it can be static on a building or a light pole or moving on a city bus or cabs.
The solution can also help in various cross-domain actions to be taken. For eg. If the air pollution is higher than the prescribed levels in an area, the administrators can divert the traffic from that area to some other, to avoid further deteriorating of the environment.
Smart Traffic Management:
It is a fact that areas with high congestions and traffic jams see higher levels of air pollution on average. according to a study by Harvard School of Public Health researchers. Smart traffic management is a system used to regulate city traffic and congestions. It uses sensors and traffic signals to monitor, control, and respond to traffic conditions. The solution can definitely help the cities in reducing the day-to-day congestion by improving traffic flow.
Studies find that 30% of traffic congestions are the result of drivers searching for a parking spot, which causes an estimated 10% to the average vehicle’s CO2 emissions! Not just that, improperly parked vehicles result in traffic jams too that in turn increase air pollution.
The solution of Smart parking uses sensors to find out the availability of a parking lot, eliminating the need for drivers to waste time searching for space. The solution collects the data in real-time, relaying it to drivers through a mobile application. The app can direct the drivers to their respective parking spaces quickly. The solution can reduce congestion and resultant emissions. The apps also come with online payment methods that allow for parking reservations in advance, thus reducing the time spent on road polluting the environment.
Adding roads or heavy infrastructure is a complex, expensive, and disruptive process, and offers only a partial solution. The only way to improve traffic flow, reduce congestion and pollution is through technology: AI, Machine learning and IoT.
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