Epidemiological studies have shown that exposure to traffic-related pollutants increases incidence of adverse health outcomes. Transit users in cities across the globe commonly spend 15–45 min or more waiting at transit stops each day, often at locations with high levels of pollution from traffic. Here, we investigate the characteristics of concentration profiles of ultrafine particles (UFP) with 5 m spatial resolution across intersections, to determine the best place to site transit stops to minimize exposures. Cross-intersection UFP profiles were derived from 1744 profiles covering 90 m before and after each intersection center with a mobile monitoring platform. Measurements were made at 10 signalized intersections located at six urban sites, each with a distinct built environment, during both mornings and afternoons. Measurements were made within 1.5 m of the sidewalk and approximately at breathing height (1.5 m above ground level) to approximate sidewalk exposures. UFP profiles were strongly influenced by high emissions from vehicle stops and accelerations, and peaked within 30 m of intersection centers; from there concentrations decreased sharply with distance. Peak concentrations averaged about 90% higher than the minima along the block. They were accompanied by more frequent and larger transient concentration spikes, increasing the chance of people near the intersection being exposed to both short-term extremely high concentration spikes and higher average concentrations. The decays are somewhat larger before the intersection than after the intersection, however as siting transit stops after intersections is preferred for smooth traffic flow, we focus on after the intersection. Simple time-duration exposure calculations combined with breathing rates suggest moving a bus stop from 20 to 40–50 m after the intersection can reduce transit-users' exposure levels to total UFP substantially, in proportion to the reciprocal of the magnitude of elevation at the intersection.
Environmental Pollution – Elsevier
Published: Feb 1, 2018
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