Paso del Norte Environmental MonitorEPA Grant Number: R827964
Title: Paso del Norte Environmental Monitor
Investigators: Kooshian, Charles , Gonzalez-Ayala, Salvador , Gray, Robert W
Institution: City of El Paso, TX , The University of Texas at El Paso
Current Institution: City of El Paso, TX , Instituto Municipal de Investigación y Planeación , The University of Texas at El Paso
EPA Project Officer: Hiscock, Michael
Project Amount: $494,935
RFA: Environmental Monitoring for Public Access and Community Tracking (EMPACT) (1999) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Environmental Statistics , Water , Ecosystems , Air , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration
This project is developing an Internet web site and associated community linkages to provide relevant-time air quality and local traffic and transit information, in English and Spanish, to the international communities of El Paso, Texas, Sunland Park, New Mexico and Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua.
The objectives of the project are to: 1. promote coordination among the many agencies, institutions, organizations and broadcasters within the Paso Del Norte region that are working to improve air quality; 2. develop standards for sharing and displaying information to ensure it is understandable by the general public and decision-makers of the region; 3. establish a communications infrastructure that provides relevant-time exchange of and access to information; 4. develop and implement public outreach programs to improve local understanding of individual actions that can be taken to improve the quality of the environment; 5. broaden the choices of travel mode; 6. promote education of the future generations by developing opportunities for elementary and high school students to conduct research and become involved in activities that improve our environment; and 7. ensure transferability of final products to other regions and applications.
Continuous air monitors throughout the international region currently measure ambient air concentrations of ozone, carbon monoxide and particulates. Relevant-time access to this information will be provided along with updates on local weather, current traffic conditions and international bridge crossing delays. 3D time-lapse visualization of critical air pollutant levels will be made available to the public through the Internet and broadcast media. Other media, such as phone hotlines or roadside signs will also be incorporated. A similar effort will be devoted to assembling traffic volumes and delays from existing detectors, which also will be processed and displayed in map form to depict current conditions. The relationship between vehicle travel and pollution will be shown along with suggestions for individual actions that can reduce mobile source pollution. The project would facilitate transit use by providing quick, easy-to-understand route planning assistance.
A well-informed public, empowered by this knowledge, may modify travel behavior to effect a reduction in pollutants. In addition, the international community will be brought together to identify and implement cost-effective solutions to local pollution, including increased education and involvement of future generations. This project will serve as an important prototype of the kind of cooperative international project necessary to address critical environmental challenges of the US/Mexico border region.