Kings Heath Low Traffic Neighbourhood

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Air Pollution

Below are air pollution maps for an area of Kings Heath I have been cycling fairly regularly through November and December. The morning loops are at roughly the same time of day and I try to do an evening loop for comparison.

N.B. I took a break from these loops whilst we were in the latest lockdown (also wet weather means I cannot use the Air Monitor).

I am using the air monitor for any journeys I make but trying to record the same route and time gives at least a consistency to try and draw some conclusions from!

It records a range of things in the air:

PM-1, PM-2.5 and PM-10 (Particulate matter is a complex mixture of soot, smoke, metals, nitrates, sulphates, dust water and rubber etc. The 1, 2.5 and 10 just relate to the size of the particles).

N02 – which mainly comes from engines and burning fossil fuels.

VOC – Volatile organic compounds, these are found in things like aerosols and paint stripper.

You can watch a speeded up version of the route below, thanks to Elkie for the music 🙂

Colour Key:

Green: Low – great air quality!

Yellow/Orange: Air quality is acceptable

Red: The air is highly polluted, above 24 hour exposure recommendations from the World Health Organisation

Purple: Very High Pollution, long term exposure poses a real health risk

N.B Gaps for 14/15th of November due to strange readings on the AQ device.

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Morning Loop - 08:25

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Morning Loop - 08:07

Earlier loop than normal to look for differences in traffic patterns.

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Morning Loop - 08:35

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Morning Loop - 08:26

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Morning Loop - 08:28

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Morning Loop - 08:17

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Morning Loop - 08:28

Forgot to upload before the 14 day cut off again! :(

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Morning Loop - 08:24

A little more traffic on Valentine and Vicarage Roads but still much less than we have seen over the last few months.

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Morning Loop - 08:21

Still smooth flowing traffic, has been since the start of June - not sure what has caused the reduction.

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Morning Loop - 08:30

Really quiet and large amounts of PM10 which matches to the Very High Pollen count we have had!

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Morning Loop - 08:18

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Morning Loop - 08:17

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Morning Loop - 08:22

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Morning Loop - 08:47

Turns out the device only hold a link to the graph for 14 days so although I have the data in a csv - no visual image if I have been lazy saving them.

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Morning Loop - 08:46

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Morning Loop - 09:18

I wonder if there is a residual build up of pollution as the morning rush hour builds..

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Morning Loop - 07:50

Trying earlier set of time to see what the difference is.

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Morning Loop - 08:06

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Morning Loop - 08:27

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Morning Loop - 08:21

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Morning Loop - 08:21

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Morning Loop - 08:47

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Morning Loop - 08:41

I had to return a postcard that had been sent to us by mistake so decided to extend the loop out to Aston and see what the AQ levels were away from our town.

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Morning Loop - 08:12

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Afternoon Loop - 13:06

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Morning Loop - 08:15

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Morning Loop - 08:18

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Morning Loop - 08:18

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Morning Loop - 10:59

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Morning Loop - 08:00

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Morning Loop - 08:10

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Morning Loop - 08:02

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Morning Loop - 08:13

Some reporting issues on my Flow for older dates - you can see the heat map but no data sorry!

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Morning Loop - 08:49

Went on a bigger loop into town to see what the levels were further afield for comparison.

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Afternoon Loop - 16:48

Early rain meant an afternoon loop, again data numbers not showing on image - waiting for feedback from Flow.

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Morning Loop - 08:14

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Morning Loop - 08:05

A morning without bollards but thankfully didn't see anyone using the modal roads which was good. The residents of Highbury must have made a temporary one out of string and cones so evidently some people are in favour of them!

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Morning Loop - 10:16

Sadly some people who do not want the trial to be a success for whatever reason decided to steal some of the bollards. A person also drove into the new one on Grange Road leaving it disabled..

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Late Morning - 10:46

I had intended to try and do three loops on one of the days this weekend to see how the general levels change throughout the day. Sadly the rain decided it was not the day for it. High NO2 levels although the traffic itself was not too bad as I passed through.

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Morning Loop - 08:07

A nice big group of buses at the top of Vicarage Road and then at the actual 50 stop on the High St. Interesting to see a heavy peak there which is a worry being that the bus stops are also there. Good job we are all wearing masks!

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Afternoon Loop

Rain meant I had to take my chance when there was a break, noted higher pollution across the board even though traffic was quite light. It appears there must be a build up during the day - need to research this.

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Morning Loop - 07:54

Heavier traffic across the town this morning, I think I am starting to see patterns but will need to check over video footage to pinpoint trends.

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Morning Loop - 08:05

Free flowing traffic largely, I am noting a bigger queue at the end of Valentine Road leaving a little bit earlier, quieter on Addison and Vicarage Road

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Morning Loop - 08:00

I got some completely off the wall NO2 readings today so spoke to Plume Laps who suggested a reset and a clean of the Air Quality Device. Have highlighted only the PM-10 levels on the screenshot so as not to suggest it was really bad pollution!

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Morning Loop - 08:40

Quite busy today, again suggesting there are some short peaks of intensive traffic. Despite a lockdown the roads are just as busy as normal, and the school run shows up as one of the key reasons for congestion in Kings Heath.

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Morning Loop - 08:06

Some queueing around the usual spots, it seems it is very much just a small period of time rather than the whole of rush hour though. Staggered work start times could really help!

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Morning Loop - 08:30

As expected the roads were quieter today - we are in Lockdown 2.0 after all! Seems maybe people were finishing their week on Thursday/Friday as the roads felt much more like school holidays despite the schools being in.

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Morning Loop - 10:15

A quiet Saturday morning, a little later than normal but it is clear after a month of recording that weekends are quieter, no school or work.

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Morning Loop - 08:29

Quite a busy Friday considering we have entered a lock down - perhaps people are finishing this week to work from home from Monday?

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Morning Loop - 08:40

Pretty busy again today, road works on Vicarage Road not helping the cause. Traffic moving ok, bit of a tail back on Grove Road which maybe hasn't faired well from the change to the lights at the junction.

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Morning Loop - 08:33

The traffic returns! A very damp and windy day and a fair bit of congestion across the town. I wouldn't say there were specific pinch points, everywhere was pretty busy. I noted a few cars using Grange Road as a cut through and there was more traffic than normal around Balaclava Road coming in through Highbury Road.

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Morning Loop - 08:00

I mixed it up a little and left earlier today to try and find a busy spot in the half term commute. Seems with people taking holiday, kids at home and rejigging their routines there isn't a specific busy time.

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Morning Loop - 08:34

Autumn is very much in full flow. Windy and very changeable conditions. Half Term continuing to do what it does, quiet roads.

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Morning Loop - 08:19

It is hard to try and find the peak time during half term. It seems there is no real peak as such and in terms of volume of traffic it is bliss without the school run happening!

One large lorry on Station Road this morning, the sort that drop off building materials which seemed to cause a localised spike.

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Morning Loop (WET) - 08:37

I am trying to work out a solution for the grim days. The AQ device is not waterproof but I fashioned a little protective box for it that would still let air in. The lower reading may well be because of the reduced airflow.

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Afternoon Loop - 16:59

After chatting to a lady who emailed I have tweaked the route to take in more of Station and Grange Road. It is hard to try and keep it manageable AND cover as much as I want to.

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Morning Loop - 08:50

What a difference Half Term makes! It was actually quieter than Sunday, hardly a car to be seen. High levels of PM-10 on Silver St. Nothing specific to see at the time which might be causing it.

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Morning Loop - 08:40

Unsurprisingly Sunday was quiet, no queues or stationary cars with engines running. One very ill van came up the High Street at the Howard Roads Crossroads belching out smoke which you can see as the purple part on the map!

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Morning Loop - 08.00

I ran the route this morning for a change. It started raining around the Pet Shop on York Road so the air monitor had to be put in my pocket as it isn't waterproof. It was quiet on all the roads but there were high readings of PM-10 especially around Hazelhurst Road. PM-10 Is things like dust, pollen and soot.

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Evening Loop - 17:45

Slightly higher levels than this morning, interesting to see that Springfield, Poplar and Institute are much higher than the morning reading. Touching on dangerous levels around the end of Station Road and the High St.

No traffic snarls on any of the route, everything flowing smoothly.

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Morning Loop - 08:28

Quieter roads today, although I was about 20mins earlier than normal doing a loop. Quite alot of traffic coming through Colmore Road towards the High St. The High St itself was quiet and traffic was flowing well on Vicarage Road.

A predictable log jam on Institute, the first I have seen on my loops though.

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Morning Loop - 09:16

Another fairly clear day, it is amazing how much 15-20 mins can make in the morning. Lot's of the roads were near empty and no queue on Vicarage Road.

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Morning Loop - 16:41

The first Monday after the Low Traffic Neighbourhood closures came into force. Pretty busy on Colmore Rd and Vicarage Road too.

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Afternoon - 14:00

Rain rain go away! I can't actually use the air monitor in the rain as it isn't waterproof.. however I did use it with an umbrella which meant I could at least go on a walk around the area albeit a slightly different route to the one I cycle in the week.  Good to see levels on other roads too.

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Morning Loop - 08:36

A grey day with people still working out what roads are open or not. Quite a bit of queueing on Avenue Road and the traffic lights on Vicarage Rd seem to need adjusting as there is traffic backing up to the High St.

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Morning Loop - 08:52

First day of the closures and pretty hectic traffic throughout the area!

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Traffic issues on the Institute Road / Melton Road intersection.

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Total gridlock, in fact a police officer had to try and reroute the traffic to free things up. Traffic backed up Melton Road and Institute Road.