Aston University: Aston University joins forces with transport safety specialists Agilysis to create a predictive software tool to tackle air pollution


Aston University has teamed up with transport safety specialists Agilysis Limited through a knowledge transfer partnership (KTP) to create a sophisticated predictive Air Quality (AQ) tool. This tool will use live data to promote safe and sustainable travel with improvements in air quality, by allowing local authorities to strategically plan and assess the benefits of network improvements.

Air pollution has a significant effect on public health. Poor AQ is the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK. Back in 2010, the House of Commons Environment Audit Committee stated that the cost of health impacts of air pollution was likely to exceed estimates of £8 to 20 billion. This project will help to improve transport planning decisions by being the first to apply predictive models to measure the impact of interventions – such as low traffic neighbourhoods and school zones – on reducing emissions.

A KTP is a three-way collaboration between a business, an academic partner and a highly qualified graduate, known as a KTP associate. The UK-wide programme helps businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills. Aston University is the leading KTP provider within the Midlands.

Agilysis Limited is an award-winning specialist consultancy in transport safety and road-user behaviour. They work with clients such as local authorities, police forces and transport operators to understand the impact of road-user choices on traffic volumes, road risk and safety outcomes.

The Aston University team will be led by Dr George Vogiatzis, senior lecturer in informatics and digital engineering, who has expertise in machine learning techniques, including deep learning neural networks and deep learning methodologies for indexing large video and image collections. He will be supported by Dr Lucy Bastin, senior lecturer in informatics and digital engineering, who focuses on urban ecology and green infrastructure and its impact on quality of life in our cities.

Completing the team will be Dr Maria Chli, reader in informatics and digital engineering at Aston University whose research is in the artificial intelligence field, with particular interest in applying machine learning techniques to intelligent agents and multi-agent systems with a focus on smart cities applications.

Daniel Campsall, executive chairman of Agilysis Limited, says: “This partnership with Aston University allows us to adopt the latest research and expertise from a world-leading academic institution to develop a novel sophisticated air quality model. We are looking forward to establishing a close working relationship that will bring an exciting skillset to our company.”

Dr George Vogiatzis, senior lecturer in informatics at Aston University, says: “We are very excited to get started on this KTP with Agilysis. The project will allow us to leverage our expertise on deep neural traffic modelling and control. The key objective, a powerful predictive AQ model, will be of great benefit as a tool for improving living conditions in our cities. It will also hopefully unlock exciting research avenues on new smart cities applications.”

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