Regional Air Quality

Evaluating scenarios for emissions regulation and urban planning to identify effective paths to improved air quality

Governing bodies large and small have been regulating air emissions from industry, motor vehicles and other sources for several decades. And municipal planners are increasingly thinking of air quality when planning for urban growth.

Aerial map of coastline with overlaid grid

However, regulations and plans must change with the times, to reflect the best new science about air pollution and related technologies. That science is complex. The concentration of air pollutants depends on so many factors: weather patterns, chemical interactions among different pollutants, the type and location of the key emission sources, and so on.

In the face of this complexity, government agencies must decide what, where and how much to regulate. Similarly, municipal planners must decide how best to accommodate future growth of their urban areas without compromising the quality of the air. To arrive at sound plans and policies, to win over stakeholders, and to achieve the goal of improving air quality, decision makers must work from sound science that accounts for all the important factors.

Our service

We help government agencies evaluate scenarios for reducing emissions and impacts of air pollutants. By applying proposed regulations and urban growth strategies in a computer simulation, we can gauge their effect on regional air quality and pollution patterns. With these results, governments can develop cost–benefit analyses and make science-based decisions on air quality and urban growth and development. We also use such models to help other stakeholders make well-informed responses to government policy decisions.

This work centers on a regional-scale air quality simulation that we can customize to any place in the world. This model takes into account the complex effects of regional weather patterns, topography and chemical interactions among air pollutants. It also reflects the complex spatial distribution of the various emission sources. We use the model as a tool for looking at how much a given strategy for managing emissions within a region will actually improve the air quality there.  

Our work is closely informed by current academic research, but our focus is always on our clients’ questions and practical needs. We’re sensitive to timelines and experienced with meeting our clients’ time constraints. And we’re exceptionally skilled at and passionate about making complex scientific information accessible for the nonscientists who need to act on our findings.