Carnegie Mellon launched a multidisciplinary, multi-institutional research center, funded by a $10 million grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This Center for Air, Climate and Energy Solutions represents an unprecedented approach to the integrated management of air quality, climate and energy.

The center, which was announced in May, is measuring and mapping air pollutant concentrations across the country to improve the health of vulnerable populations like children, the elderly, and those suffering from cardiac, respiratory and other medical conditions. It will develop air quality assessment tools to help average citizens and policymakers alike understand which regions and neighborhoods hold the most health risk.

When you consider that air pollution is the 4th leading cause of death globally, an innovative approach to addressing pollution and climate change challenges is critical.

Allen Robinson, Department Head, Mechanical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University

 “Issues like shale gas development, electric car subsidies, and power plants of the future are interconnected issues that require integrated thinking,” said Allen Robinson, the new center’s director and head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. “When you consider that air pollution is the 4th leading cause of death globally, an innovative approach to addressing pollution and climate change challenges is critical.”

One goal of the center is to develop an app that will recommend the route to take for a bike ride or morning jog based on real-time air quality measurements that compare one route to another.

Another goal will address the urban development of future cities as their electricity and transportation needs evolve. According to Robinson, public policy will need to evolve, also. “Policymakers need to understand how future changes in cities, transportation, and industry impact air quality and public health. Ideally, this knowledge will lead to the creation of smarter cities,” he said.

\