The Joaquin Decision Support Tool is developed to support decision makers and their assistants, such as civil servants, in choosing the best fit measures to improve their own local air quality traffic policies. However, picking the best fit measure does not necessarily mean it will be implemented straight away. In this document the authors, from their own experience, share with local decision makers and their assistants’ tips and tricks contributing to improved air quality policies. Needless to say this document is not conclusive and it is always necessary to adapt your approach to the local situation.

Step 1: Know your local situation

Before you get started, make sure you get to know your local situation:


  • What is the local air quality?

Gather information from your (national/regional/local) air quality monitoring network and/or air quality modellers for detailed information on the local pollution levels. Talk to the people in the work fields and ask for information on:

 - Air quality as a whole, and the different components (at least PM10, PM2.5, soot (Black Carbon or EC), NO2, O3)

 - Spatial variation: where are the ‘dirty spots’ (and because of what sources)

 - Temporal variation: what are the ‘dirty periods’ (seasonal, day of the week, hour of the day)


  • What is the most dominant source of air pollution?

Are there specific ‘polluters’ within that source type?
For instance, older and heavy duty diesel vehicles emit much more particles and soot than the majority of vehicles on the road. A few percent of road traffic may be responsible for the majority of emissions.


  • Who has valuable information?

Consult these people and/or co-work with them; They may also be in other fields, such as:

 - Traffic planning, infrastructure, (public) transport, spatial planning, (urban) layout, environment, energy, noise

 - Public health, environmental health, hospitals/GP’s

 - Non-Governmental Organisations (such as environmentalists, cycling initiatives, patient organisations), private sector, business (such as car sharing, cargo initiatives)




Step 2: Formulate your aim and ambition

What drives your need for improved air quality policies?

Is it legislation or are your ambitions in improving living environment and health?

  • Legislation:

Meet EU (or national) Air Quality Guidelines

  • Create a healthier living environment:

 - meeting EU Guidelines by;

 - meeting WHO Guidelines (which are much stricter)

 - and/or reducing the public health impact of poor air quality by separating sources form (vulnerable) public by means of spatial planning, infrastructure and other policies



Step 4: Make sure your information and ambition match

Define the air quality effectiveness of your proposed measure(s).

Depending on your aim and ambition this may be a rough indication, or a component-specific and precise (model)estimation may be necessary.


  • When your ambition is to meet EU Legislation;

 - you may use small scale spatial modelling (such as dispersion models) for local estimations

 - and focus on legislated components: PM10, PM2.5, NO2, O3


  • When your ambition is to create a healthier living environment, your desired outcome may be:

 - an air quality improvement, also for other components that are health relevant but not legally important, such as soot (Black Carbon or EC) and ultrafine particles (UFP)

 - a combination of population (size) and air quality improvement: a small change for a lot of people maybe resulting in larger health benefits than a large change for a small number of people

 - taking into account characteristics of the population, such as presence of vulnerable people (specifically: children, elderly, and people with a respiratory- or heart-condition or diabetes)


  • Get the right specialists involved:

 - For inspiration on organisations, have a look at the Joaquin partnership

Step 5: Make sure your ambitions and proposed measures have support

Measures are often influencing habits or investments by society, businesses, and/or governments. You may therefore face opposition when you propose (a set of) measures.

  • Political support is critical
  • Public support is needed, at least from the political background of the policy maker in place. Public support is therefore a necessity for political support.

Often support is influenced by:

- Feelings of urgency: is the politician/policy maker convinced about the necessity to improve air quality?

- Confidence in the measure: is the proposed measure leading to the desired results.
Use information gathered elsewhere (see Decision Support Tool factsheets for inspiration) and (model) prognoses for your local situation

- Cost-effectiveness: is the result of the measure in agreement with the investments needed?

Consider social and economic equity issues, and the politics involved, when the measure requires public investments.
For public support, take into account that measures (strongly) influencing daily life are perceived as costly (even when not costing actual money), experiments showed that that this effect may reduce over time. 


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