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Navigation tool plots cleanest route for cyclists

Work & Lifestyle

Clean Road Mapper lets Toronto's cyclists avoid the most polluted streets, by showing them the route with the best air quality.

Speed isn’t always the priority for those moving through the world’s cities and we’ve seen lots of apps that reflect this. Navigation tools can now help pedestrians find the greenest, best lit or safest route. Now, for Toronto’s cyclists, Clean Road Mapper enables them to avoid the city’s most polluted streets by showing them the route with the best air quality.

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Clean Road Mapper is an online tool that enables cyclists or pedestrians to plot the cleanest route for their journey through Toronto. The platform uses data collected by civil engineering professor Marianne Hatzopoulou, who fitted air monitors onto cars that drove around the city through the summer and winter of 2015. Interestingly, Hatzopoulou found that the levels of ultra-fine particles are influenced not only by the traffic density, but also the area’s architecture, since pollution builds up between tall buildings and is unable to dissipate.

To use the platform, cyclists simply input their origin and destination by dropping pins onto an online map. Then, the program provides two possible routes — the shortest and the cleanest. Users can also overlap additional information onto the city map such as bike lanes, historical bicycle accident data and ultra fine particle concentration.

What other data could be harnessed to help people navigate cities?

Email: marianne.hatzopoulou@mcgill.ca

Website: www.traq-research.mcgill.ca/cycleapp/toronto

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