Hyperlocal Air Pollution in London Part 1: Validating Low-Cost Sensors for Mobile Measurements from Vehicles

05 March 2024, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


This study assesses low-cost sensors (LCS) for mobile monitoring of air quality, which has thus far been scarcely investigated. NO2 and PM2.5 were measured using LCS and higher-grade instruments while driving across various environments in London (943 km) and northern Europe (2923 km), including urban areas, motorways, and tunnels. The data was classified according to the environment where the measurements were carried out, and the performance of LCS and higher-grade instruments was compared. Results indicate that the performance of the sensors was influenced by the rate of change in pollutant concentration in different environments, and not by vehicle speed. Excluding tunnel environments, overall, the particulate matter sensors correlated better with their higher-grade instrument than the electrochemical (EC) sensors, with R2 values from 0.90−0.96 in the different environments, compared with 0.39−0.72 for the EC sensors. Tunnels presented a unique opportunity to test the time response of the systems, given the rapid change in concentration upon entering, and all sensors showed limited response times. This is the first time that EC NO2 sensors have been rigorously tested against reference monitors whilst mobile. Their absolute measurements appear unaffected by movement; however, their time resolution may not be high enough for mobile monitoring in highly variable environments.


Low-cost sensors
Mobile Monitoring
Urban air pollution


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