Low-Cost Air Quality Monitoring Pilot Study


Project Overview

The Low-Cost Air Quality Monitoring Pilot Study will study the air quality affecting communities near I-275 and I-4 using low-cost air quality monitors. The study will establish monitoring sites accessible to and in collaboration with the local community to measure hazardous pollutants from vehicular traffic. This pilot phase will teach us about localized air quality in our communities, so the Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) and the community can develop future planning approaches to improve air quality in communities near roadways and improve the equity outcomes of transportation decision making. The research findings and community input will shape methods for a larger scale network of permanent community monitoring sites following the pilot study.

Sponsored by the TPO, the study is conducted in collaboration with the University of South Florida (USF), Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission (EPC), and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

Project Goals

  1. Collaborate with the community to establish pilot community monitoring sites.
  2. Research pollutants (particulate matter (PM 2.5) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2)) near roadways to better understand localized air quality conditions.
  3. Provide public access to and increase awareness of the air quality data.
  4. Develop methods to build a larger network of low-cost air quality monitors in our communities.

Why Care About Air?

air pollution, health effects

The quality of air we breathe has a significant impact on our health and the environment where we live, work, and play, and pollution directly affects air quality. Continued growth in the county brings an increase of vehicles, construction, air pollutants, and pollutant-related health risks. Therefore, this study looks at the environmental and public health factors related to air quality and those who are most affected by air pollution near roadways.

  • Traffic-related air pollution (TRAP) is a mix of air pollutants from exhaust, fuel evaporation, wear of brakes, tires, and the roads themselves.
  • TRAP peaks near roadways. Residents and businesses who reside along roadways are disproportionately affected by highway traffic and TRAP-related health concerns.
  • TRAP is a community health problem known to cause excess mortality, increased health costs, loss of work productivity, and increased rates of asthma, premature birth and/or infant mortality, heart disease, respiratory illness, and lung cancer.
  • Nearly one-fifth of Hillsborough County’s total population lives within 300 meters of a high-volume road, and this figure is 13% higher among vulnerable populations.
  • Approximately one-quarter of those living within a community experiencing any combination of low-income, high proportion of racial and ethnic minorities, zero-vehicle households, limited English proficiency, and individuals with disabilities are exposed.
  • In Hillsborough County, studies show that African Americans and households living in poverty bear the burden of high exposures to near-road air pollution.
  • Many neighborhoods along I-275 and I-4 are underserved communities that experience low-incomes and have a high proportion of racial and ethnic minorities, zero-vehicle households, limited English proficiency, and individuals with disabilities.
  • Increased air pollution is a lasting impact of highway construction in Hillsborough County beginning in the 1960’s that displaced families and communities in prominent African American neighborhoods, such as Central Avenue, and immigrant neighborhoods, such as Ybor City.

About the Monitors

Monitors for this study are evaluated by the following factors: the type and number of pollutants monitored; data collection, storage, and communication; monitor and installation costs; longevity and product support; and prior studies that tested the reliability of the monitor.

Oct - Dec 2021

  • Identify community monitor vicinities
  • Select monitors
  • Engage community partners

Jan - Feb 2022

  • Select community monitor pilot sites
  • Install and test monitors

Mar - June 2022

  • Air quality data collection and analysis
  • Public engagement

July - Aug 2022

  • Report findings

Tell us


We want to hear any suggestions, questions, or concerns you have about the Low-Cost Air Quality Monitoring Pilot Study.


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Phase 1



Project Plans & Studies

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Supporting Documents

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Past Presentations & Events

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Allison Yeh, AICP LEED GA


Allison Yeh, Transportation Planning Organization

T: 813-272-5940



Lizzie Ehrreich, Transportation Planning Organization

T: 813-272-5940