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Cars with sensors are roaming NYC streets to monitor air quality

They're part of a $3 million state initiative.

Anna Rahmanan
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Anna Rahmanan
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A pretty epic, state-wide air quality and greenhouse gas monitoring initiative has launched in New York.

Just last week, Governor Kathy Hochul announced the deployment of a fleet of vehicles mounted with mobile air sensors that will gather data and measure air pollution on a block-by-block level during different times, days and seasons.

The state is using Aclima's mobile mapping technology, which runs exclusively on Google Cloud, to monitor conditions in the Bronx, Buffalo/Niagara Falls, the Capital region and Manhattan. According to an official press release, the $3 million initiative will kick off in six additional communities this fall as well, officially tracking statistics in 10 different areas. 

The project will obviously contribute to finding a solution to climate-related problems, specifically looking at greenhouse gas emissions and harmful air pollutants. By collecting data on the various issues, the state hopes to develop strategies that will allow it to achieve the goals laid out in its historic Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. 

"As New York continues to forge a greener path ahead to make our state cleaner and healthier, we are also correcting decades of environmental injustices that have overburdened disadvantaged communities for far too long," the governor said in an official statement. "As someone who grew up in the shadow of a steel plant that contributed to orange skies and a polluted Lake Erie, I know firsthand the urgency of our fight against air pollution and climate change. By launching this historic statewide air quality and greenhouse gas monitoring initiative we will develop strategies to address air quality issues in New York's most vulnerable communities while contributing to the state's nation-leading climate goals."

And so, if you happen to spot odd-looking vehicles around town, worry not: they are doing some much-needed good.

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