How telematics can help reduce pollution levels in our towns and cities

We believe our telematics data can have a beneficial impact on the future of mobility including reducing air pollution

When we founded The Floow six years ago, we were clear about our purpose: making mobility safer and smarter for everyone.

Rightfully, a lot of our focus has been to address road safety issues relating to driver behaviour or driver distraction, which causes a good proportion of the accidents on our roads, and which results in millions of deaths and serious injuries every year around the world.

But that’s not the only area where telematics can help.

Over 50% of air pollution in most westernised countries is caused by road transportation and the effects this has on public health are more serious than those of road traffic accidents. Latest World Health Organisation estimates show that pollution is thought to be to blame for around 7 million deaths every year on a global basis with 1 in 8 deaths estimated to be attributed to air pollution.

The UK Government’s push for electrification and the introduction of hybrid technology should have a positive impact in reducing pollution levels in the UK, but solving this issue will be bigger than those steps alone. The transition process is likely to be slow as large urbanification and population concentrations will make pollution a much bigger issue.

Over the past few years, telematics has become synonymous with helping young drivers save money on their car insurance by allowing insurance companies to recognise those that drive responsibly and reflect the price of their policies accordingly. But we believe that telematics can also have a beneficial impact on the future of mobility with regards to air pollution.

As a leading telematics provider, we have been actively involved in a range of studies with the likes of the European Space Agency, leading academics and government departments to help inform solutions which should reduce the level and impact of air pollution.

The data we collect from hundreds of thousands of drivers is anonymised and supports analysis allowing us to see fine-grained details such as pollution hotspots and locations influenced by specific driving behaviours which produce high levels of emissions such as localised patterns of harsh braking and accelerations. These insights provide an understanding of traffic behaviour which show where emissions form.

The more detailed the data that we can provide, the easier it is for governments to mitigate risks at a local level as they can see where emission levels are dangerously high as a result of fine grained driver behaviour. This approach allows a targeted means to apply interventions where most needed to reduce pollution’s effects on the environment and public health.

Established practices mean public authorities monitor pollution sensors placed in fixed locations in towns and cities, but this approach does not provide the geographic coverage that we can draw on as a result of our telematics dataset. Therefore, the relevant authorities rarely see the full picture or understand the root cause of emissions. This is where technology can help as we can provide detailed data from the very centre of a city right to its outskirts and beyond.

Where we see behaviours causing an increase in emissions, such as excess accelerating at a particular location, it may be an indicator of an issue such as an obstacle, or traffic control system which could be changed to help curb these behaviours. This in turn can help lower the amount of emissions being produced by vehicles in the area.

As a company whose mission is to make mobility safer and smarter for everyone, we’re keen to use our skills in data science and insights into driver behaviour to help governments, policy makers and road planners, using anonymous data collected via telematics to help understand emissions and work towards alleviating the causes of pollution. A less polluting world is also a safer world and that’s something that sits right at the heart of our mission.

To find out more about our capabilities in traffic modelling and air pollution research, please contact us at info@thefloow.com.

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