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Monitoring PM10 and Ultrafine Particles in Urban Environments Using Mobile Measurements

Category: Articles

Volume: 13 | Issue: 2 | Pages: 509-522
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2012.06.0152

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Jan Peters , Jan Theunis, Martine Van Poppel, Patrick Berghmans

  • VITO, Flemish Institute for Technological Research, Boeretang 200, B-2400 Mol, Belgium


Mobile platforms are increasingly used to acquire air quality data at a high spatial and temporal resolution in complex urban environments. As such, mobile measurements provide a solution for short-term studies to acquire a spatially spread data set that would not be feasible if using stationary measurements. Mobile monitoring campaigns were carried out with a bicycle platform at two different urban locations, consisting of 20 and 24 repeated runs along a fixed route over a three-week period. The measurement runs were carried out on different days and at different times of the day, without systematical temporal coverage. Significant differences in UFP concentration were found within the day and between days, and also between several streets along the measurement route. These differences were related to traffic intensity and street characteristics. In contrast, PM10 concentrations differed between measurement days, but the within-day variability of PM10 was mostly non-significant. Additionally, the spatial variability was limited and the PM10 concentrations were only significantly different between busy streets, with high concentrations, and quiet background streets, with low ones. The results indicate that for most streets the number of runs was sufficient to give a good approximation of median daytime UFP concentration levels for the measurement period, and for some streets this number could even be reduced to less than 10. However, for PM10 a higher number of runs is needed, and this may be attributed to the significant background contribution to the roadside PM10 concentration, and the high variability of this. We conclude that a limited set of mobile measurements makes it possible to map locations with systematically higher or lower UFP and PM10 concentrations in urban environments.


Particulate matter UFP Air quality Mapping Mobile monitoring Pollution

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