Cycle routes and air quality monitoring with REAL citizen’s engagement

Challenge & Context

By 2030, more than 80% of the Dutch population will live in urban areas. The development and maintenance of a healthy living environment are therefore of crucial importance for the health and well-being of the people. A healthy urban living environment also contributes to current social issues, such as the energy transition and a safe and sustainable food chain.


The Snifferbike project started in 2018 with a small pilot as a collaboration between the province of Utrecht, Civity, SODAQ and RIVM (the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment). In this pilot, cyclists were given sensors for their bikes (see version 1 of the sensor below). These sensors were used to collect data about air pollution and cycle routes. The Snifferbike sensor conducts anonymous tracking of cyclists to identify habits and determine where cycling infrastructure could be improved based on traffic patterns.

Figure 1 . One day of data from Snifferbike with insight in routes and air quality

How it works

Snifferbike is a joint solution by SODAQ and Civity. SODAQ is responsible for the device (sensor) while Civity is responsible for collecting, storing and provisioning of data. To enable this, Civity has a platform (City Innovation Platform, based on FIWARE) and it is used for the Snifferbike solution. Civity is a generic platform that is also used for other projects (SCOREwater, IRIS). So, Civity is also a SME, providing the platform-part (and dashboard/app) in the Snifferbike solution.

Figure 2 . Functionality
Figure 3 . Architecture

Benefits & Impact

Currently, nearly 700 Snifferbike sensors are in use. Sensors can be shared among users, so the actual number of participants is higher. Through the community platform, all participating members are kept informed. There are different kinds of users, like elderly, students, wheelchairs, couriers, etc., and each of them may experience different benefits.

  • Helping individuals suffering from lung diseases to avoid certain levels of air pollution, as a well-known trigger;
  • supports local and provincial policy makers and urban planners in making educated decisions based on new insights;
  • Allowing research agencies and national monitoring institutions to collecting additional data and better understand air pollution;
  • Supporting climate neutrality.

Added Value through FIWARE

Civity has been using FIWARE components since 2016. Civity acted as a co-founder of the Dutch FIWARE Lab in 2017, which was renamed to The Future City Foundation in 2019 to reach a broader group of urban planners, developers, researchers and civil servants.

Next Steps

Many national and international organisations have shown their interest in Snifferbike and healthy urban environments. The positive feedbacks received is used by SODAQ to develop a new version of the Snifferbike sensor (see version 3 below), in collaboration with students from the Technical University of Delft. It is smaller and more versatile and can be used as a static sensor, too.

Figure 4 . Snifferbike evolution and next generation
Figure 5 . Next Steps


Author & Contributors

Arjen Hof
Founder @ Civity
Contact @

FIWARE is the Open Source Platform for Our Smart Digital Future.