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Upgraded Environment Info Push App Offers More Personalized Services

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Launched on 15 May 2020, the 4.0 version of the Environment Info Push App now provides more personalized environmental information for people’s daily lives. In addition to the new warning notifications for ozone levels, the app now offers reminders for regular motorcycle inspections and information on public facilities, such as the locations of public restrooms. The app will continue to provide up-to-date air pollution data to help safeguard public health.

The new content of the 4.0 version includes: ozone level warnings, notifications for regular motorcycle inspections, motorcycle inspection sites’ location search, and public restroom location search. The updated app aims to safeguard public health with its new “ozone level warnings”, and help citizens save money and be environmentally conscious by not missing inspections with reminders for regular motorcycle inspections.

In addition to PM2.5, ozone has become another important issue that calls for more attention. Statistics have shown that 359 red alert station-days in 2018 were caused by eight-hour average ozone concentrations exceeding the standards, which surpassed the 277 red alert station-days triggered by excessive concentrations of PM2.5.

In light of this situation, the EPA proposed the idea of developing a warning system for when ozone levels may exceed the standards during the 2019 Presidential Hackathon. The new “ozone level warnings” feature in the 4.0 version is Taiwan’s first forecasting and warning system that uses big data analytics and AI technology to provide prediction and warning services for when the eight-hour average ozone concentrations may exceed the standards. App users can look up the latest hourly air quality monitoring data before going to school or work or pursuing any outdoor activities. They can also make arrangements or take protective measures for any outdoor activities of the day based on the ozone data and warnings provided by the app. The ozone forecasting in the app is achieved by building predictive models based on historical monitoring data, and evaluating the hourly data between 7 am and 6 pm each day to predict if the eight-hour average ozone concentration of the day may exceed the standards. Users of the app can subscribe to the ozone alert service to receive timely ozone level warnings for their locations.

The 4.0 version also provides reminders for regular motorcycle inspections that give timely notifications based on the data from the Information and Management System for Motorcycle Inspections Website. Compared to the existing method of mailing paper notifications, the app’s motorcycle inspection reminder service reduces the chances of missing inspections for vehicle owners. The EPA encourages citizens to subscribe to the service and complete the annual exhaust inspections in a timely manner.

In addition, with the public facility search engine on the app, citizens can immediately acquire information on the nearest public facilities, which currently include public restrooms and motorcycle inspection sites, and find out their locations through the map. Take public restrooms for example, the app allows users to search for public restrooms. With just a few taps, users can easily switch between categories and find a restroom that accommodates their needs, such as accessible restrooms, family restrooms and all gender restrooms.

The Environment Info Push App has been downloaded more than 510,000 times with an average of four-star reviews and more than one million views per month. The app is a convenient tool for people’s daily lives and is available on Google Play and Apple store.

Excerpt from Environmental Policy Monthly, 23 (6)

Ministry of Environment