HKUST Institute for the Environment (HKUST-IENV) today released the “PRAISE-HK-EXP App” – a new mobile app that help users analyze their personal air pollution exposure budget, from outdoor, indoor, to different micro-environments including various modes of transportation, so that they can better manage their exposure to air pollution in different micro-environments. Thanks for the HSBC 150th Anniversary Charity Program, the PRAISE-HK system has three major release milestones for the mobile app:
(1) Phase 1 – Released on 21 Jun 2019, the PRAISE-HK App profiles highly accurate “outdoor” air quality map down to street-level, with resolution down to 2-20 meter.
(2) Phase 2 – Released today (24 Nov 2021), the PRAISE-HK-EXP App provide a detailed account of air pollution exposure risks budget accumulated throughout the day (including outdoor on the streets, indoor inside buildings or on different transport modes). It also shows users what they can do to reduce their air pollution health risks during polluted episodes.
(3) Phase 3 – will be a health alert app that provides user specific alerts based on personalised history of symptoms reported by users in air quality sensitive subgroups
The PRAISE-HK-EXP App released today completes the technological core of the PRAISE-HK system. The phase 1 App launched 2 years ago has laid a solid foundation in providing a state-of-the-art real-time analysis and 48-hr forecast, highly accurate and detailed (down to 2-20 meter resolution) “outdoor” air quality information for users, but it does not provide user with indoor information, or specific recommendation about what they can do to reduce their air pollutant exposure risks.
The phase 2 App (PRAISE-HK-EXP) released today is an air pollution exposure tracker. With the user’s authorization, the App tracks and analysis for us our personalized exposure budget throughout the day, as we move from one microenvironment to another, indoor and outdoor. It shows users when, where and during what activity they receive the largest dose of air pollutant and offer some suggestions on how they can reduce their air pollution exposure risks.
While air pollution is the world’s largest environmental health risk, Prof. Alexis LAU, Director of HKUST Institute for the Environment and PRAISE-HK’s Principal Investigator explained, “Hong Kong’s air quality has improved a lot in recent years, but there are still times and places where the air quality is not good. People generally believed that there is not much they can do to reduce their pollution exposures; this is no longer true!”
“What is the best time to go for a run? What can I do in my apartment or office to reduce my exposure to unhealthy air? Will opening that window at this hour let in a breeze of fresh air or fill in the room with a dangerous dose of particulate matter?” “We didn’t have sufficiently detailed data to inform our daily decision-makings. But now, PRAISE-HK-EXP gives us data and clues to answer all these practical questions. I encourage everyone, especially those who are sensitive to air pollution, to use this App to lower your exposure and health risk”, Prof. LAU asserted.
Prof. Wei SHYY, President of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology deeply thanked HSBC, the Environment Bureau, and all the project partners for their trust and the support. “We are honored to be a trusted provider of evidence for developing sustainability policies. HKUST will continue to strengthen collaboration with like-minded stakeholders to improve our environment and public health, especially through functioning as a “living lab” to produce effective sustainability solutions for achieving citywide carbon neutrality targets,” said Prof. SHYY.
What is PRAISE-HK?
PRAISE-HK stands for “Personalized Real-time Air-quality Informatics System for Exposure – Hong Kong” (http://praise.ust.hk). It aims to empower the public with personalized real-time air quality information and to help build Hong Kong into a world-class smart and healthy city.
Different from Hong Kong’s official air quality monitoring network (with 18 fixed-site stations) which is designed to measure the average air quality over different districts. PRAISE-HK project aims to provide fine scale air quality variations between streets as well as personal air pollution exposure details which are highly associated with the time a person spent in each micro-environments in his/her daily routines.
As a personalized air pollution exposure tracking App, PRAISE-HK-EXP tells us where we contact air pollution from the most, and then helps us make decisions about our daily activity that can best protect our health.
Technological convergency forming a highly detailed and accurate personal air pollution exposure tracker:
The PRAISE-HK-EXP App is developed by cross-disciplinary experts led by the HKUST Institute for the Environment. The highly detailed and accurate performance is attributed to the following important technologies:
(1) Air quality and atmospheric model – analyzes and forecasts air quality allowing for: dispersion of emissions released both regionally and in Hong Kong, and the associated complex photo-chemical reactions; and the influence on local pollutant dispersion of urban morphology in terms of building density and street ‘canyons’. The system generates street-scale resolution forecast maps (down to 2-20 meter) that highlight both pollution hotspots and areas of better air quality; fusion of modeled and measured concentration data ensures forecast accuracy
(2) Traffic model – tells us important road-side emission data from more than 30,000 road segments. The team developed a state-of-the-art microscopic activity-based traffic model, the first of its kind for Hong Kong, which captures the daily activity patterns of 4-million agents to derive the underlying traffic patterns across all modes of public transport as well as private car usage. The model produces detailed dynamic traffic patterns which are then used to estimate roadside emissions
(3) Sensor technologies & air quality characterization by microenvironments – compact and portable sensors are developed to reach the competent performance goals, and to fit the need for complicated microenvironment monitoring; numerous air quality measurement work has been done to characterize the relationships between indoor and outdoor concentrations for different pollutants, in different microenvironments (e.g. homes, schools, offices, shopping malls and different transport modes) under different ventilation conditions
(4) Big data – fills wide range of data gaps (from changing traffic speeds to special traffic incidents) to improve overall accuracy and to raise real-time performances
(5) Air quality exposure science – evaluates personal exposure profiles and associated health impacts
(6) Mobile technology – identifies users’ location either outdoor or indoor, in what kinds of buildings or transportation modes, so that PRAISE-HK system could analyze its personal exposure to the surrounding air quality