Air Pollution
Exposure Index
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Differences in Active and Home Exposure Indices are greatest where there are larger differences between the number of people detected considering people's movements and when not.
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Exposure Indices are vastly different during the day and night in New York City. This is due to people moving in and out of the urban center for work and other activities.
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Vast digital data-sets are changing how we predict the impacts of the urban environment on human health.

In challenging traditional principles, can cellular network data offer insights on how to mitigate human exposure to dangerous air pollution?

Global urbanization has led to one of the world’s most pressing environmental health concerns: the increasing number of people contributing to and being affected by air pollution, leading to 7 million early deaths each year. The key issue is human exposure to pollution within cities and the consequential effects on human health.

With new research conducted at MIT’s Senseable City Lab, human exposure to air pollution can now be accurately quantified at an unprecedented scale. Researchers mapped the movements of several million people using ubiquitous cell phone data, and intersected this information with neighborhood air pollution measures. Covering the expanse of New York City and its 8.5 million inhabitants, the study reveals where and when New Yorkers are most at risk of exposure to air pollution - with major implications for environment and public health policy.


Nyhan, M., Grauwin, S., Britter, R., Mister, B., McNabola, A., Laden, F., Barrett, S., Ratti, C. (2016).'Exposure Track'-The Impact of Mobile Device Based Mobility Patterns on Quantifying Population Exposure to Air Pollution Environmental Science & Technology, 1-34.

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Lead Researcher
Marguerite Nyhan

Carlo Ratti

Scientific Advisor
Rex Britter

Sebastian Grauwin,
Bruce Misstear, Aonghus McNabola, Francine Laden, Steven R.H. Barrett

Web & Visualization
Wonyoung So
Hyemi Song