A New UK Bus Traps Air Pollution As It Drives

Southampton's new bus will clean the air along its route 16 times per year.

Southampton's new bus will clean the air along its route 16 times per year. Andi North/Mangopear creative

A new double-decker bus in the English city of Southampton will filter pollutants from the air as it drives, several news outlets reported. The diesel bus’s filtration system, which is attached to its roof, traps 99.5 percent of ultra-fine particles and releases clean air in its wake.

“We want this pilot to show that buses should be looked at as not just the solution to congestion in cities, but also as a solution to the air quality problem,” David Brown, chief executive of the Go-Ahead Group, the transportation company behind the project, said in a statement. “Imagine the change we could make to air quality if all buses had this technology.”

The technology, designed by the engineering firm Pall Aerospace, will clean the air on its route 16 times per year, to a height of 33 feet. The Go-Ahead Group chose Southampton as its pilot location after the World Health Organization concluded the city has reached its limit of unsafe air pollution. Southampton is also considering charging older trucks and buses $131 a day to enter the city limits as a way to lower air pollution levels.

Brown told The Guardian that if the air-filtration bus pilot project is successful, the company would consider installing the technology on Go-Ahead’s entire fleet of 5,000 buses in cities and towns across the United Kingdom.