Have you ever wondered what your ecological footprint is? As citizens we generate it in daily actions, but we can reduce it with simple habits such as using a bicycle or taking public transport, reducing the amount of waste, using renewable energy sources… However, we don't just cause this footprint, but also suffer it. In addition to CO2 emissions, other pollutants that we produce, and we are not aware of it, are very harmful to our health as well.
When we take a bus, after waiting for a while at the bus stop we breathe poor quality air because of the harmful particles emitted by the brakes. These seemingly innocuous actions also influence people's well-being and people's perception of public transport.
The European AEROSOLFD project aims to reduce air pollution with innovative solutions applied to urban mobility. This initiative, which is complementary to PE4Trans Action Plan already being implemented in Valladolid, plans to develop three low-cost, adaptable solutions for bus brakes, petrol vehicle tailpipes, and for air purification in closed and semi-closed spaces. The Horizon Europe's AEROSOLFD initiative involves 17 partners from nine countries including Valladolid City Council and the municipal transport company AUVASA, Valladolid being one of the demonstrators. The city will be the scenario for the project to improve the brakes of vehicles and AUVASA will become a test platform to evaluate the reduction of emissions in some of the buses of its fleet.
The aim is to achieve a 90% reduction in emissions by upgrading existing braking systems. For this goal, different actions should also be studied to analyse the performance of such vehicles that cover long distances, operate in congested areas, drive on interurban routes or travel on steeper slopes. It is also important to take into account the number of passengers on the bus, as braking is not the same for heavily loaded or empty buses.
In addition, the AUVASA hangar, as a test area, will be fitted with air purifiers. This space, not accessible to the public, will provide information about the improvement in air quality by reducing brake emissions, and the number of air filters required for this purpose. This experiment will reinforce the improvement of the working environment in line with the sustainability actions developed by the municipal company.
This project will test and validate "adaptable, affordable and sustainable" technological options in real driving conditions. In particular, the initiative is also intended to enhance public and political awareness of the negative impact of particulate pollutant emissions on the environment and human health, and to foster incentive schemes for the rapid adoption of these technologies. and for changes in the patterns of vehicle use: even if the entire urban vehicle fleet were electric, the wear and tear on clutches, tyres and brakes caused by traffic jams and dense traffic, would still generate dust harmful to the lungs. Hence, apart from technological solutions, which are absolutely necessary, it is also essential to change behaviour: use the bike more, walking to work, taking the bus or sharing the car.
The overall goal of this project includes a strong dissemination strategy to maximize awareness and engage with different target groups aiming to achieve a general movement towards retrofit solutions.
This new proposal is part of the Valladolid roadmap for cleaner mobility and a healthier environment by 2025 that reinforces the Mission Valladolid, smart and climate neutral city 2030, and advances in its climate action to improve the quality of life; even more so considering that Europe could avoid more than 100,000 premature deaths per year related to urban pollution.