The effects of roadside structures on the transport and dispersion of ultrafine particles from highways

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Understanding local-scale transport and dispersion of pollutants emitted from traffic sources is important for urban planning and air quality assessments. Predicting pollutant concentration patterns in complex environments depends on accurate representations of local features (e.g., noise barriers, trees, buildings) affecting near-field air flows. This study examined the effects of roadside barriers on the flow patterns and dispersion of pollutants from a high-traffic highway in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA. The effects of the structures were analyzed using the Quick Urban & Industrial Complex (QUIC) model, an empirically based diagnostic tool which simulates fine-scale wind field and dispersion patterns around obstacles. Model simulations were compared with the spatial distributions of ultrafine particles (UFP) from vehicular emissions measured using a passenger van equipped with a Differential Mobility Analyzer/Condensation Particle Counter. The field site allowed for an evaluation of pollutant concentrations in open terrain, with a noise barrier present near the road, and with a noise barrier and vegetation present near the road. Results indicated that air pollutant concentrations near the road were generally higher in open terrain situations with no barriers present; however, concentrations for this case decreased faster with distance than when roadside barriers were present. The presence of a noise barrier and vegetation resulted in the lowest downwind pollutant concentrations, indicating that the plume under this condition was relatively uniform and vertically well-mixed. Comparison of the QUIC model with the mobile UFP measurements indicated that QUIC reasonably represented pollutant transport and dispersion for each of the study configurations. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.






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Bowker, GE, R Baldauf, V Isakov, A Khlystov and W Petersen (2007). The effects of roadside structures on the transport and dispersion of ultrafine particles from highways. Atmospheric Environment, 41(37). pp. 8128–8139. 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2007.06.064 Retrieved from

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