The RAC Air Health Monitor: Driving Perth forward to a clean air future

The Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia decided to take a stand against air pollution by investing in a cutting-edge air quality monitoring network to keep members and the public informed.

Node-S air quality sensors are deployed throughout the Perth metropolitan area to provide high-resolution air pollution data for the RAC Air Health Monitor.

Clarity Node-S air quality sensors placed strategically throughout Perth

9,700 sq. km.

geographical area with real-time air pollution data coverage


resolution with localized, real-time air quality model from Ramboll Shair

Rob Slocombe

Rob Slocombe

Group CEO, Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia
At RAC we're all about leading change for the better — and what could be more important than having cleaner air to breathe for current and future generations of Western Australians?
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A force for positive change in Western Australia

Ask any Western Australian, and they'll tell you that the Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia (RAC WA) is much more than just a motoring club and mutual organization — they are a powerful force for positive change in the region. 

Established in 1905 and currently serving over 1.3 million members, RAC WA has evolved into one of the state's most trusted and recognized organizations. As a purpose-led member organization, RAC WA reinvests its profits to serve its members and the wider Western Australia community, with the vision of creating a safer, sustainable, and connected future for all Western Australians. 

From launching the first driverless vehicle program in Perth, to developing the very first Electric Highway® in Australia, to helping members learn about and experience electric vehicles, RAC WA is always looking for ways to improve life for Western Australians. 

 RAC WA supports a wide range of initiatives to reduce vehicle emissions in the state — including promoting the benefits of electric vehicles, as pictured above.

Australia generally tends to have relatively clean air, but air pollution still has a significant impact on public health in the region. 

It is estimated air pollution contributed to more than 3,200 Australian deaths in 2018. That's a 26% increase from 2015."

— Rob Slocombe, Group CEO, Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia

Despite generally good air quality in the region — and the positive impacts of RAC WA’s vehicle electrification initiatives — air pollution from vehicular emissions, industry, bushfires, and climate change continues to be a threat to public health.

It is true that Perth enjoys better air quality than average cities around the world. However, air pollution is sometimes called the invisible killer — there's no safe level of air pollution. Whether it’s a bushfire in the region or vehicle emissions during rush hour, you do see pockets of areas in the city that exceed the WHO's recommendations for PM2.5 and NO2.” 

— David Lu, Co-founder & CEO of Clarity Movement

Knowing the importance of understanding and reducing emissions and air pollution, and in particular vehicle emissions, RAC WA invested in a cutting-edge air pollution monitoring network that could keep RAC WA members, government officials, industry, and the community informed about air quality trends in the Perth and Peel regions.

Building the RAC Air Health Monitor

After searching for best-in-class air quality measurement solutions, RAC WA joined forces with Clarity — whose air quality sensors power the Breathe London air monitoring network — to pioneer the nation's largest and most cutting-edge air quality monitoring system.

Spanning over 9,700 square kilometers across the metro Perth and Peel regions, the RAC Air Health Monitor (AHM) leverages 200 Clarity Node-S air quality monitors placed strategically throughout the area. The solar-powered sensors continuously measure air quality indicators like particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2).

A Node-S air quality sensor, the air quality measurement equipment deployed across Perth by RAC.  
To power the RAC Air Health Monitor, hundreds of air quality sensors were deployed in strategic locations to measure air pollution around the city.  

Powered by Ramboll Shair’s integration with the Clarity Cloud, the AHM blends real-time air pollution sensor data with real-time traffic data from Main Roads WA, motor vehicle emissions modeling from Copert Australia, and other sources to generate hyperlocal air quality data mapped to the neighborhood level. The data are made available to the general public through an interactive online platform.

Air quality data from the Air Health Monitor is easily accessible to government officials, researchers, and the general public.  
The AHM provides real-time air quality data at 200-meter resolution, thanks to the advanced modeling and visualization capabilities provided by Ramboll Shair. 

Use the interactive RAC Air Health Monitor below to see real-time air quality data!

This is the first time in Australia that the community can access localized, hour-by-hour information about the air quality in their area via an extensive network with sensors and data modeling.”

—  Rob Slocombe, Group CEO, Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia

Before deployment, all of the air quality sensors undergo a collocation process — enabling Clarity to develop a customized calibration model for air quality measurements in the region. Calibration is essential to obtaining accurate data from air quality sensors and is included as part of Clarity’s Sensing-as-a-Service air quality monitoring solution

Node-S air quality sensors undergoing collocation, which enables the development of a customized calibration model for particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide measurements.  
During collocation, the air pollution sensors are placed near reference air quality measurement equipment, so that air quality measurements from the sensors can be compared to the reference measurements and corrected as needed.  

Empowering healthier behaviors and air quality policies for Perth

For RAC WA, the key driver behind this project was enabling Western Australians to make informed choices about their health. 

We hope to encourage individual behavioral change. We want more people to choose greener travel options, to drive less, and to choose to catch public transport, walk and cycle instead.” 

—  Rob Slocombe, Group CEO, Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia

Beyond keeping residents informed of air quality, the platform is an invaluable resource for industry and government to inform policies and investments that curb emissions and pollution from transport. The City of Perth, which has its own air quality monitoring initiatives, also recognizes the platform's immense value. 

The information we get from the Clarity sensors and the air health monitoring has helped us shape a lot of what we're doing under our sustainability pillar. It helps us understand our natural environment, which then helps us to protect and enhance it for future generations and current generations. Having access to this data helps us in one of our key objectives for the city, which is to attract residents to the city in the future.”

— Dale Page, General Manager, Planning and Economic Development, City of Perth

Given their experience developing city-wide monitoring networks such as Breathe London, global air quality expert Clarity was the ideal partner for RAC. Clarity's cutting-edge sensors form an ‘invisible infrastructure’ rendering the invisible visible — pinpointing localized air pollution pockets in Perth to derive actionable solutions for better air quality.

With Clarity monitors, you can see very localized air pollution levels right at your doorstep. Clarity is incredibly inspired to work with organizations like RAC to quantify vehicle emissions, establish a dense air quality monitoring network, combine that with state-of-the-art modeling, and provide high-resolution air quality data for decision making."

— David Lu, Co-founder and CEO of Clarity Movement
Node-S air quality sensors undergoing collocation, which enables the development of a customized calibration model for particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide measurements.  

For all stakeholders involved, the RAC Air Health Monitor signifies a crucial long-term investment to fundamentally transform air quality management. 

The local insights from the sensors will encourage governments to prioritize cleaner transport through policies and investments that reduce vehicle emissions and create cleaner and healthier air for everyone." 

—  Rob Slocombe, Group CEO, Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia

Driving the future of Perth’s air quality management 

As an organsiation with a history spanning more than 118 years, RAC continues innovating to fulfill its purpose — to be the driving force for a better Western Australia. The RAC Air Health Monitor exemplifies this drive.

Despite being a local organisation, we’re able to partner with global organisations like Clarity. This means we can bring world-leading technology and insights to our local community, making life better in Western Australia.”

— Rob Slocombe, Group CEO, Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia

The RAC Air Health Monitor has already been recognized for its innovative approach to air quality measurement — winning the 2023 Clean Air Achievement Award for the CASANZ Western Australia branch, and coming in as a top three finalist for the 2023 FIA President’s Awards in the Climate Action category — but the AHM will continue to improve over time. 

RAC WA employees Julian Gomez and David Brodhag pose with the Clean Air Achievement Award during CASANZ’s WA Branch AGM.  

As part of RAC’s commitment to maximize public value, planning is also underway to expand monitoring parameters — adding additional air quality measurement equipment to measure climate pollutants like ozone and black carbon. Overall network coverage will grow over time as well through the partnership between RAC WA, Clarity, and Ramboll.

We aim to equip Western Australians with the insights needed to reduce personal environmental footprints where possible and demand continued progress towards cleaner energy and transport options.”

— Simon Lang, Ramboll Perth Managing Director

Through the network built with Clarity, RAC can share localized air quality insights across Perth and Peel while also propelling action amongst government, businesses, and individuals. It's not just about monitoring for monitoring's sake — it's about creating change.

We're going to continue to inform the community, we're going to raise awareness around air quality in our state, we're going to work with the state and federal governments and local governments to make better choices about the infrastructure they're investing in, but also their policies for the future as well around fuel quality standards and emission standards. We want them to make informed choices about the transport they're going to use in the future."

— Will Golsby, General Manager External Relations & Communications, RAC WA

RAC WA’s commitment to improving life for Western Australians is truly commendable, and the RAC Air Health Monitor should serve as a model for other organizations and corporations looking to make a real difference with their corporate social responsibility initiatives.

We would love to see more partnerships like this between RAC and Clarity in which the corporates can step up and take charge of that social initiative toward a cleaner future."

— David Lu, Co-founder & CEO of Clarity Movement

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