UCAIR is continue highlighting our monthly partners meeting. This installment covers our September 2018 partners meeting. Our first presentation came from Dr. Pascal Goffin with University of Utah Department of Computer Science about the AirU program. We then heard from John Close, Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability Planner for UTA.
Measuring, Understanding, and Reasoning About Outside and Inside Air Quality
Air quality is not the same everywhere. While it is easy to deploy many low cost air quality monitors, the data they provide is not as accurate. The Division of Air Quality has limited number of air quality sensors along the Wasatch Front. These sensors are very accurate but also very expensive. To produce an accurate depiction of local air quality it is necessary to higher resolution temporal and spatial data. Higher resolution data will account for local sources and events. Scientists and officials must also be able to communicate this information to the public and account for the quality of the data.
Researchers at the University of Utah have been working to develop a small, inexpensive and accurate air quality monitor. The result is the AirU monitor. These sensors can monitor PM1, PM2.5 and PM10 levels. A temperature and humidity sensor helps ensure accuracy. Each unit also has a GPS locator and is connected to the University’s server via wifi. All data collected from AirU sensors is stored in a database at the University of Utah. In case the sensor is disconnected from the internet, each unit has a microSD card where the information can be saved until the sensor comes back online and the data can be uploaded.
To date more than 300 residents have volunteered to host an AirU sensor. You can visit the program website to learn more about hosting a monitor.
Electrified Valley to Mountain Connection Low or No Emission Vehicle Program Grant Update
The Low or No Emission Competitive program (Low-No) is a federal grant program that provides funding to state and local governmental authorities for the purchase or lease of zero-emission and low-emission transit buses. The acquisition, construction, and leasing of required supporting facilities are also eligible for grant funds. Under the FAST Act, $55 million per year is available until fiscal year 2020. In August 2018, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced the selection of 52 transit projects in 41 states to receive Low-No grant funds.
The Utah Transit Authority (UTA) and Park City were one of the recipients of Low-No funds. With this grant, UTA has begun work on the Valley to Mountain connection with partners; Park City Transit, UTA, Summit County, Rocky Mountain Power, and Proterra. This connection includes a fully electric 55-mile transit trip from Salt Lake City to Kamas. It connects up to 15,800 jobs held by people living in rural communities to Park City and beyond via public transit. This route will convert nearly 120,000 road miles annually from diesel to battery electric modes of transportation.
The project replaces a total of 10 diesel vehicles and allows for the purchase of 15 chargers. The total project cost is $12,400,000, which includes a $10,378,230 request from the FTA and $2,758,770 local match. In August 2018 it was announced the project was awarded $2,290,000, which must be obligated by 2021. UTA and partners are exploring different options to meet the original project budget and allow the full project to be implemented.
UCAIR Community Calendar
An exciting new feature has been added to the UCAIR website, a community calendar. In an effort to consolidate the communications we send to our partners UCAIR staff has worked with Penna Powers to create a community calendar that is user friendly, easily searchable and a one stop shop for all air quality related event information. The calendar tab can be found at the top of the UCAIR homepage. Once you submit an event, it will be sent to UCAIR staff for approval. While we transition to using the community calendar, UCAIR staff will be happy to assist partners in submitting events and generally getting used to the new system. If you have questions please contact our program manager, Bailey Toolson.
Following the presentations, partners shared what projects and initiatives they are currently working on. These included:
Justin Smart, Penna Powers – Penna Powers is excited to get started this year’s winter campaign. They have been working on some research opportunities to give new and solid insights for the campaign. The goal this year is to get people motivated to make a change for better air quality.
Debbie Lyons, Salt Lake City Sustainability – Salt Lake City has updated its SLC Green Vehicle Parking Program. This program offers 2 hours of free parking for green vehicles. New eligible cars are designated SmartWay Elite by the EPA. All previously issued permits are valid until December 31, 2019. After that date all permits will expire and there will be an annual renewal process.
The next Partners Meeting will be held at 9:00am on October 11, 2018 in the DEQ Board Room.