Measuring particulate air pollution using a mobile, bicycle-based platform: Implications for cyclists' and pedestrians' exposure to urban air pollution

Principal Investigator(s):

Julian Marshall, Former Assistant Professor, Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering

Project summary:

Air pollution concentrations exhibit significant within-city variability, and the spatial patterns of air pollution concentrations in an urban area may impact cyclists and pedestrians exposure. This projects research team measured various aspects of particulate air pollution during morning and afternoon rush hours on weekdays. Measurements were performed using a mobile platform a modified bicycle trailer to measure: (1) particle number concentration, (2) PM 2.5 concentration, (3) black carbon concentration, and (4) particle size distributions. Three sampling routes (of approximately 20 miles each) were cycled repeatedly to estimate typical rush hour concentrations in various urban environments in Minneapolis. The teams goal is to use these measurements to (1) develop land-use regression models to estimate concentrations of air pollution during rush hour for every street segment in Minneapolis, and (2) compare its air pollution model estimates to models of nonmotorized traffic previously developed to estimate daily traffic volumes of cyclists and pedestrians. This research may be of interest to planners and policymakers for use in planning for nonmotorized transportation.

Project details:

  • Project number: 2013059
  • Start date: 05/2012
  • Project status: Completed
  • Research area: Environment and Energy
  • Topics: Bicycling, Environment, Pedestrian