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Optimising air quality and health benefits associated with a low-emission transport and mobility revolution in the UK

Status: ongoing
Publication State: preview


The Government's 'Future of Mobility' and 'Road to Zero' strategies outline a second UK transport revolution, characterised by rapid decarbonisation, increased automation and enhanced connectivity. This radical transformation presents both opportunities and challenges for improving air quality over the next two decades, occurring in the context of disruptive changes in transport technology, increasing public environmental awareness and evolving transport behaviours. In this context, actions taken during the emerging transition phase will influence air pollutant sources and exposure patterns across indoor (i.e. vehicle, rail/bus) and outdoor (i.e. pavement, platform, bus station) land transport environments, with profound future implications for public health. This project will establish a diverse interdisciplinary network, connecting researchers across nine UK higher education and research institutions with >20 network partners, comprising commercial, public sector and non-profit organisations. It will establish sustainable connections to undertake co-definition of issues and opportunities and co-delivery of innovative, evidence-based solutions. It will deliver a varied portfolio of network activities including TRANSITION summits, problem-solving workshops, hackathons, discovery studies, site visits, policy engagement events and creative outreach activities at transport locations. Thus directly shaping future air quality, climate and transport policy, reflecting the ambitions of the UKRI SPF Clean Air Analysis and Solutions programme.

The TRANSITION network will identify, prioritise and tackle indoor and outdoor air quality challenges linked to the UK low-emission mobility revolution by bringing together academics, researchers, policymakers, business, civil society and the wider general public. The project will further the aims of the UKRI SPF Clean Air programme by:
* Informing implementation of the Government's Clean Air, Future of Mobility, Road to Zero Strategies, Transport Decarbonisation Plan and other policy domains with cross-cutting implications for achieving UK objectives for air quality, climate change and public health.
* Mobilising and transferring existing knowledge from across the UK land transport stakeholder community, SPF Clean Air programmes (including Clean Air Network communities), Clean Air Champions and policymaking arenas, at local, national and international levels.
* Establishing a framework for generating and sharing knowledge, tools and technologies necessary to achieve transformational change across the land transport network; to achieve improved air quality, energy security and enhanced connectivity, for health and societal benefit
The project aims to:
-Establish a network of experts with complimentary expertise across a range of specialist areas, geographical locations, career stages, and experience levels.
-Facilitate focused, productive and sustainable interactions between a diverse stakeholder community
-Create a shared learning environment spanning academia, industry, and policy communities, to organise and disseminate air quality knowledge and best practice
-Provide a forum for supporting development of the next generation of researchers in the field of indoor and outdoor air quality, transport and public health.
-Promote the development of professional skills in practice, research, consultancy and teaching/training related to the transport environment
-Generate opportunities for creative industry-led innovation activities to co-deliver solutions, translate knowledge from other fields and/or change existing practise.
-Connect existing research activities and outputs and identify gaps in scientific knowledge and policy translation to inform future UKRI Clean Air strategic focus.
-Explore the interactions between air pollution and mobility and the synergies, co-benefits and potential conflicts between air quality, transport other public policies
-Interact synergistically with other clean air research, engagement and innovation activities, identifying coordinated initiatives and linking nationally and internationally to related opportunities.
-Generate a sustainable clean air legacy through sharing best practice and supporting translational and impact activities among project partners
This will be the first time that such a network at the intersection between air quality, transport and health has been established; occurring at a critical point for achieving a sustainable future in the context of climate change, demographic shift and rapid technology revolution. TRANSITION has significant potential to achieve significant multisectoral impacts across academic, commercial, policy communities, alongside increasing knowledge and awareness of clean air and low-emission science among the wider general public. The dynamic, flexible and responsive TRANSITION consortium will thereby provide a focal point for sustained coordination, dialogue and interaction, beyond the project lifetime. The guiding network principles will embrace diversity, encourage creativity, support career development and seek to establish consensus on research, commercial and policy priorities, whilst enhancing opportunities for uptake and impact. Adherence to these principles is critically important to achieve our stated objectives, operating within a frontier challenge environment and to deliver impacts at regional, national, international levels, across all sectors

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