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Air Quality Pittsburgh-Know Before your Nose Does

What’s the Air Quality of your running route? Worried about pollution your children encounter? Use our app to receive the best AQ estimate.

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Air is unavoidable, but bad air is another matter. Our mobile application will let you check the air quality while you’re on the go, in a simple, and accessible way. Our app will ensure you can be informed about the air quality across Pittsburgh at the touch of a button. 


We’re offering an application that will give you close to real time data based on our network of sensors that displays the air quality throughout Pittsburgh. Within the app you can create a profile depending on what activities you like, and we can alert you when to avoid certain areas. Our hope is that users can come to use our air quality map just like they’d use a traffic report; something to know ahead of time, avoided, and best to know where it is particularly bad. 


Some people are discouraged from engaging with outdoor activities or even taking a morning stroll due to respiratory health issues, or air quality concerns. Our application would help answer the question, “What’s the air like out right now?”.

Describe who will use your solution (1,000 characters)

Citizens of greater Pittsburgh represent our target audience. Within that sample we believe the application will be especially attractive to bicyclists and pedestrians. Families with asthmatic children will be especially interested in the content as well.

Describe your solution's stage of development

  • Prototype - you have built a prototype and tested it with potential users

Tell us about your team or organization (500 characters)

Researchers at CMU and community partners. The researchers will be the primary developers.

Size of your team or organization

  • 2-10

Funding Request

  • $100,000

Describe how you would pilot your idea (1000 characters)

Our sensors are already up and running, and thankfully, we have piloted a preliminary website version of the air quality map with Pittsburgh residents, community partners at GASP, and participants of the Open Streets program ( With these insights, we feel confident in the need for a streamlined mobile application. The primary focus of this proposal is to design and program the mobile application version of this existing site, that significantly improves how the information on the website can be interacted with and accessed. App development will take the majority of the resources we require (hiring designers and programmers as well as maintaining our team of researchers who can test the effectiveness of each design element). For the initial pilot, we plan to offer the app for free, and then after demonstrated success, the app will be for purchase on the AppStore/Goolge Play. If we want to keep the app free, we could rely on ads revenue.

Describe how you would measure the success of your pilot (1000 characters)

Success will be measured by the number of downloads of the application, and the rating of the application by users. Additionally, we will have measures of logins to assess the frequency of use. The number of downloads would be used as a means to estimate the future sustainability of the project.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Simon DeDeo

This Pittsburgh bicycle commuter says yes. It's been a long road for PGH air quality since the 1970s. I also wonder if it will pull up inequalities in access to clean air.

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