One of the key reasons why efforts to improve air quality have not been more successful across Europe has been the failure to elicit more political support at both national and local levels. This can be seen as being due, in no small part, to a failure to capture sufficient public engagement to create the democratic mandate for significant action on air pollution. This has happened for a number of reasons. Partially, the ‗successful‘ development of legislation through the Air Quality Framework and Daughter Directives and subsequent EU and national policies, has led to a set of numeric ―g/m3‖ limit and target values that, whilst based on health evidence. In turn this has led to approaches to AQM based on abstract numbers, rather than realworld impacts. A second reason may lie in the absence of ‗people‘ in models and scenarios used to estimate and predict air pollution concentrations. For example, these models represent the flows of cars along roads, and it requires a great leap of imagination to link these to the reasons for actual journeys that people make. The modelling of emission sources, not the human activity that results in them, leads to a bias in policy that focuses on mitigating emissions through technological change, not through human behaviour, and a reliance on technological innovation not social innovation.