Project Sniffer Bike Publishes Results & Findings

Project Sniffer Bike publishes first scientific results

As published on on July 23, 2021 (translated from the original publication in Dutch).

Over the course of the last one and a half years the ‘Sniffer Bike’ project has been measuring particulate matter in the city of Utrecht. And now the long awaited results are finally ready to be shared.

The context: 20 million measure points

More than 550 residents of the province of Utrecht participated as volunteers in the first phase of the ‘Sniffer Bile’ project. They collected the data with a sensor that had been mounted to the front of their bicycles, and it paid off! In 2020, more than 20 million measurements were taken thanks to the Sniffer Bikers. These measurements have now been analyzed for the first time by researchers from the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and published in the scientific journal ‘International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health’.

Findings: Higher Concentrations of Particulate Matter in the City Center

The measurements show that there is a considerable difference between cycling along a busy street or a quiet road. On average, cyclists are exposed to about 2 µg/m3 of particulate matter (PM2.5) due to traffic emissions. However the results indicate that there are considerably higher concentrations in the inner cities of Utrecht and Amersfoort than on bicycle paths through the countryside. Provincial roads are also recognizable on the maps, also often exhibiting higher PM2.5 concentrations. This information is vital in determining cleaner cycling routes. Joost Wesseling, senior researcher at RIVM and expert in the field of (local) air quality, is incredibly pleased with the results. “The bicycle measurements really complement official measurements. And with a few exceptions, the mobile measurements were surprisingly reliable. The bicycle measurements nicely show that, if you have enough measurement results, cheap particulate matter sensors can also provide useful information.”

Collaboration with the Dutch KNMI

As a continuation of this research, plans are being made to analyze the temperature data, together with the KNMI. In this way, the researchers hope to gain even more insight into the quality of the living environment.