HABITS: Improved policy to mitigate pollutant and inactivity related health burdens through new big data

The project will consider implications of 'track and trace' data generated from mobile phones in relation to health impacts. Two areas of impacts will be considered: individual-level health burdens of air pollution through exposure, and health related to levels of travel activity.

Track and trace data (T&T, the trace of individual's movements through the city) will be generated as a result of introducing a new travel application in Newcastle, SMART.

SMART has mature tracking algorithms that have been tested for over 5 years in Europe. The app is being tailored to Newcastle and implemented on a large scale as part of the H2020 EMPOWER project. The emphasis for this project will be to take T&T data collected in a transport policy context and explore the challenges, methodologies and policy implications related to use in reducing individual health burdens.

The project will research new methods and tools to investigate the cross-referencing and integration of real-time T&T data with existing and emerging databases such as pollution data; and new approaches to modelling health impacts arising from exposure and the individual patterns of travel activity.

The project will build on an existing collaboration between Mr Rob Snowball at Newcastle City Council (NCC) in the H2020 EMPOWER project. NCC has recently established a 'Healthy Streets Board' to provide governance to joint projects on air quality and healthy, liveable cities such as the Cycle City Ambition Programme, the Streets for People project.

The Board comprises Cabinet Members for Transport and Health, including the Director of Public Health (NCC) who will contribute assistance to the project in the area of health impacts. Mr Robert Snowball and the Board will provide active input to the direction of the project and policy insights on the issues arise from scaling up the approach through infrastructure investment.

The project will be led by Professor Susan Grant-Muller of the Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds, together with non-academic Co-I, Mr Robert Snowball and academic CO-I's Ms Frances Hodgson and Dr Nick Malleson. The PI and Co-I's all have extensive experience of research with T&T data, and also social media textual data, Bluetooth, GPS data and other user-generated content.

Grant-Muller and Hodgson are the PI and Co-I for the E5m H2020 EMPOWER project concerned with the use of ICT enabled incentives to influence travel choices. They bring a substantial knowledge base on the broader policy and contextual issues in large scale implementation and policy uptake of influencing technology and active travel.

Prof. Eugene Milne is the Director of Public Health for Newcastle and will provide expertise on inactivity and public health.

Dr Malleson is currently working with large scale analytics of T&T data from Boston, USA, is a member of the Obesity Network and has expertise in modelling methodologies including agent based modelling and spatial analytics. The project will be based in the ESRC funded Consumer Data Analytics Centre (CDRC), which has critical mass of expertise including large scale data analytics for health, an obesity network, and a mobility research theme.