The City of L.A. is Applying Data and Machine Learning to Understand Urban Air Quality

The City of Los Angeles is in a unique situation to be an urban proving ground for better understanding, predicting, and mitigating the issues of air pollution for 4 million citizens.  In partnership with NASA, California State University Los Angeles (CSULA) and OpenAQ, the City embarked on an Air Quality Project with a goal of helping to mitigate the effects of air pollution through interventions that have measured results.

The Predicting What We Breathe (PWWB) project has taken time-series measurements of satellite and ground data and applied machine learning to uncover patterns that may not be discernible to human analysts. Enhancing human understanding and prediction of air quality has resulted in a tool that helps inform local governments and others on appropriate measurements, analytics, predictive algorithms and mitigation strategies that are useful for dealing with air quality variability.

PWWB has built a highly accurate predictive air quality forecasting model that is being used by the City of LA and shared with cities around the world.  The project also worked with impacted communities and youth to empower them to engage on air quality.

The project is funded by a NASA grant for Advanced Information Systems and Technology and continues today, assisting other cities in using the model and deepening engagement with environmental justice communities.