Street characteristics and traffic factors determining road users' exposure to black carbon.


Many studies nowadays make the effort of determining personal exposure rather than estimating exposure at the residential address only. While intra-urban air pollution can be modeled quite easily using interpolation methods, estimating exposure in transport is more challenging. The aim of this study is to investigate which factors determine black carbon (BC) concentrations in transport microenvironments. Therefore personal exposure measurements are carried out using portable aethalometers, trip diaries and GPS devices. More than 1500 trips, both by active modes and by motorized transport, are evaluated in Flanders, Belgium. GPS coordinates are assigned to road segments to allow BC concentrations to be linked with trip and road characteristics (trip duration, degree of urbanization, road type, traffic intensity, travel speed and road speed). Average BC concentrations on highways (10.7μg/m(3)) are comparable to concentrations on urban roads (9.6μg/m(3)), but levels are significantly higher than concentrations on rural roads (6.1μg/m(3)). Highways yield higher BC exposures for motorists compared to exposure on major roads and local roads. Overall BC concentrations are elevated at lower speeds (<30km/h) and at speeds above 80km/h, in accordance to vehicle emission functions. Driving on roads with low traffic intensities resulted in lower exposures than driving on roads with higher traffic intensities (from 5.6μg/m(3) for roads with less than 500veh/h, up to 12μg/m(3) for roads with over 2500veh/h). Traffic intensity proved to be the major explanatory variable for in-vehicle BC exposure, together with timing of the trip and urbanization. For cyclists and pedestrians the range in BC exposure is smaller and models are less predictive; for active modes exposure seems to be influenced by timing and degree of urbanization only.

DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2012.12.076
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@article{Dons2013StreetCA, title={Street characteristics and traffic factors determining road users' exposure to black carbon.}, author={Evi Dons and Philip Temmerman and Martine Van Poppel and Tom Bellemans and Geert Wets and Luc Int Panis}, journal={The Science of the total environment}, year={2013}, volume={447}, pages={72-9} }