Air Quality & Noise Check up in the CBD

Scientists from The University of Auckland, NIWA, and AUT University, along with 15 students, have taken to the city centre streets to determine how much car and bus emissions contribute to the level of air pollutants in the Queen St valley and to assess the urban soundscape. Queen Street and the immediately adjacent Customs, Wellesley, Elliot and Lorne Streets are included in the study. These streets have been chosen because they present a range of traffic conditions and pedestrian environments.

A variety of pollutants associated with traffic have been measured and a network of monitors for nitrogen dioxide were also established. Alongside the air quality work, an analysis has also been undertaken of the city soundscape and how noise affects people’s experience of the city.

Core funding for the project came from the Auckland Council-convened CBD Advisory Board. Chair Connal Townsend says that with the streets becoming more attractive, more people working and living in the city centre, and pedestrian counts climbing, it made sense to measure air quality at street level. "City success, air quality and public health are all connected, and we are interested in knowing what’s happening at street level,” he says.

The study formally known as Personal Exposure to Noise and Air Pollution (PENAP) – will complement past and ongoing research, will add to the air quality and noise pollution knowledgebase for New Zealand urban environments, and will inform future decisions on city centre projects.