Urban Pollution joint experiment to test mobile micro-sensors

At the end of 2017, SNCF LOGISTICS and Airparif will put an electric testing vehicle, custom built to measure air quality, on the road. They will take advantage of existing delivery routes to test the reliability and reproducibility of new tools for measuring pollution on the go.  

Geodis electric delivery vehicule

With the development of the Internet of Things and Big Data, pollution measurement devices are shrinking in size and growing in number. Tests are conducted in laboratories or compared against measurement stations to assess how they do and the conditions under which they can be used. For over ten years Airparif has looked into these questions with the aim of improving its monitoring device and conducting monitoring and tests using mini stations or micro-sensors. In line with results from other French and European laboratories, it has found that significant advances have been made on these promising tools. Still, question marks remain around the results and conditions of use, especially when the sensors are in movement.

The testing vehicle by GEODIS and Airparif will make it possible to supplement lab tests for the first time, and provide a data platform on an unprecedented scale. The exact same delivery routes are taken every day, which means 10 000 km can be covered in the space of a year to test the quality and reproducibility of results and try out different measuring devices.

The custom-fitted vehicle will drive around the centre of Paris six days a week between 7.30 a.m. and 7 p.m. After an adjustment period allowing AIRPARIF to make sure that the data is pertinent, a schedule of the vehicle’s deployment will be drawn up closely with AIRPARIF, setting the frequency and reproducibility of travel within a set delivery area.   

The vehicle is fully incorporated into the GEODIS delivery process.


Combined skills

The experiment will start by measuring the two most problematic pollutants in Ile-de-France: particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), of which road traffic is a major source.

Airparif will supply the measuring devices, baseline measurement equipment [équipements de mesure de référence] and micro-sensors or mini stations. GEODIS will supply an electric vehicle as it carries out its normal deliveries, with a dedicated space for the experiment.

Airparif will draw on the expertise gained through research into the exposure of drivers and cyclists to pollution, its metrology laboratory, and real time results from its entire monitoring network (stations and high resolution models) in order to evaluate and interpret the results.

GEODIS will contribute its experience in urban logistics, and as a responsible company committed to reducing its environmental footprint.


High-resolution air pollution

Installing this equipment in a logistics vehicle will make it possible to:

Get better information on slight variations in pollution on the roads, and where this variation comes from (earlier vehicles, road construction, road/traffic infrastructure, etc.), without influence from the test vehicle because it will be electric;

Improve the mapping of air quality, high-resolution in time and space, including measurements taken on roads that most exceed the regulatory thresholds;

Produce a reliable baseline for testing new mobile sensors and getting information on their conditions of use and maintenance in a full-scale test.


This experiment is part of the Open innovation approach at AIRLAB (Airparif’s practical laboratory) and SNCF Logistics.

Published on 2017-09-26

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