Public transport that provides more than one public good

Date: 25-Jun-19
Author: Liam Taylor

The buses are fitted out with a unique air-filtering device on their roofs that clean urban air on their journeys. Image: Bluestar © Liam Taylor

The buses are fitted out with a unique air-filtering device on their roofs that clean urban air on their journeys. Image: Bluestar

A fleet of pollution-reducing buses are being rolled out in the UK city of Southampton in a bid to improve air quality. The move comes following a 2018 World Health Organisation report that warned the city was at its limits in terms of safe air pollution levels. 

The buses are fitted with air-filters that allow them to clean particulate matter from the city’s air. In a 100-day pilot program that began in September 2018, a single bus fitted with the unique air filter travelled almost 15,000 km while removing approximately 65g of airborne pollutants. 

The Go-Ahead Group, the public transport provider responsible for the trial, said they now plan to add another four air-filtering buses to the city’s fleet. The group estimates that if the air-filter was deployed across the city’s 2,500 buses, the fleet could remove as much as 588kg of particulate matter from the urban environment every year.

“When we launched the air filtering pilot, we wanted to play our part in tackling the crisis in urban air quality and show that buses could be an answer to pollution in cities,” Go-Ahead Group Chief Executive David Brown said in a statement.

 “We already know that a fully loaded double decker can take up to 75 cars off the road, reducing congestion and pollution, and now we have hard data showing that buses with the fitment of an air filter can actively improve air quality.”

The filter was designed and manufactured in collaboration with high-tech filtration technology provider PALL Aerospace and fitted on to the roof of the bus. The filter is designed to remove up to 99.5% of PM10 particles from the air without any impact on the passenger or travel experience.


Positive Action

  • Whilst it’s great to see innovative air-filtration technology like this, nature has already provided one of the best filtration devices around: trees. So get out in nature and plant a native as part of National Tree Day 2019.


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Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.

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Liam                                              Taylor
Author: Liam Taylor

Liam is Planet Ark's Communications Coordinator. Prior to joining Planet Ark Liam spent his time studying global environmental issues, travelling Southeast Asia on the cheap and working for a sustainable property management company in Bali, Indonesia.

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