Exposure of Bicyclists to Air Pollution in Seattle, Washington: Hybrid Analysis Using Personal Monitoring and Land Use Regression

The increase in urban bicycling facilities raises public health concerns for potential exposure of bicyclists to traffic emissions. For an assessment of bicyclists’ exposure to local traffic emissions, a hybrid approach is presented; it combines personal monitoring and a land use regression (LUR) model. Black carbon, a proxy variable for traffic-related air pollution, was measured with an Aethalometer along the predesignated bicycle route in Seattle, Washington, for 10 days, during a.m. and p.m. peak hours (20 sampling campaigns). Descriptive statistics and three-dimensional pollution maps were used to explore temporal variations and to identify pollution hot spots. The LUR model was developed to quantify the influence of spatial covariates on black carbon concentrations along the designated route. The results indicated that the black carbon concentrations fluctuated throughout the sampling periods and showed statistically significant diurnal and monthly patterns. The hot spot analysis suggests that proximity to traffic and other physical environments have important impacts on bicyclists’ exposure and demand further investigation on the localized effects of traffic emissions on exposure levels. The LUR model explains 46% of the variations in black carbon concentrations, and significant relationships are found with types of bicycle route facility, wind speed, length of truck routes, and transportation and utility land uses. This research is the first application of the LUR approach in quantifying bicyclists’ exposure to air pollution in transport microenvironments. This study provides a rationale for encouraging municipalities to develop effective strategies to mitigate the health risks of exposure to local traffic emissions in complex urban bicycling environments.


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01368129
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 9780309223133
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 12-3059
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Apr 20 2012 12:08PM