The new services significantly enhance airTEXT's existing text message alerts which are sent to registered users. This will mean that daily pollution information and forecasts for the day ahead (including UV, pollen, temperature and air quality), will be easily available on smart phones and other mobile devices. A new website also shows maps of the city's pollution levels. It is expected all the new and improved service will be particularly helpful for people who suffer from respiratory conditions such as asthma, hayfever, bronchitis, emphysema, heart disease or angina.
People experience health impacts because of a number of different factors, including exposure to ultra violet radiation (UV), pollen, temperature and higher concentrations of air pollutants. The new airTEXT service will provide a comprehensive set of health-relevant forecasts which address all of these factors for people living, working in and visiting London. AirTEXT has also developed a 'widget' to enable their information to be easily featured on other websites in a customised format.
AirTEXT is working in partnership with the Mayor, Defra, LOCOG, Transport for London (TfL) and the Health Protection Agency to provide information and promote their service widely during this summer, including via promotion on TfL walking maps and through information handed out by the Mayor's team of London Ambassadors volunteers at airports and train stations.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: 'I have introduced a range of effective measures to cut pollution, including the first ever age limit for taxis, tougher standards for the London Low Emission Zone and more cleaner buses. It is also important that we improve information to help those whose health can be affected when pollution levels are higher. We've been delighted to help airTEXT develop their brand new and enhanced information service for Londoners and visitors.'
Paul Clift of Islington Council, Chair of the airTEXT Consortium said: ‘airTEXT is a publicly funded service and we’re really pleased that the service can now be offered free of charge to more Londoners and visitors to London.’
Garrett Emmerson, TfL’s Chief Operating Officer for Surface Transport, said: 'We are pleased to support the airText initiative in line with TfL's commitment to help reduce pollution in the capital.'
CERC are the scientific company who generate the forecasts. The development of the forecasts, including the use of satellite data, has benefited from the continuing support of the EC’s GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment & Security) programme.
The services can be accessed here:
• Smart phone, iPad and tablet app (Android) - downloadable via Apple: http://itunes.apple.com/
• Twitter - new Twitter accounts have been created with every London borough - users should text "follow airtext_borough name” to 86444 to receive updates, free of charge, to their mobile phone (Orange, Vodafone, O2, 3 or Sure). For example, to receive alerts for Islington text “follow airtext_ISLNGTN”
• Website including maps - www.airtext.info
The range of new services is set to replace the existing text alerts. The use of social and internet technology will mean lower running costs for airTEXT. Existing users will be contacted advising of the changes.
The twitter accounts for each Borough and for Central, north, south, east and west London are listed below:
For example to receive alerts for Islington, text “follow airtext_ISLNGTN”
Barking and Dagenham airtext_BDE
City of London airtext_COL
City of Westminister airtext_COW
Hammersmith and Fulham airtext_HAF
Kensington and Chelsea airtext_RBKC
Kingston upon Thames airtext_KIN
Richmond upon Thames airtext_RIC
Tower Hamlets airtext_TOW
Waltham Forest airtext_WAL
Central London airtext_CENTRAL
North London airtext_NORTH
South London airtext_SOUTH
East London airtext_EAST
West London airtext_WEST