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Transition Air Quality - Minimising Public Exposure at the Roadside

Status: completed
Publication State: published


A newly emerging air quality and public health challenge comes from exposure to high, momentary peaks of air pollution which arise from vehicles stop-start manoeuvres and accelerations, typical of congested urban areas. Roadside air quality instrumentation does not routinely measure these events, and the health implications – especially for vulnerable groups (e.g. children, the elderly) who use streets and public transport more frequently – remain unknown. While literature is starting to discuss the weaknesses of the “point-fixed/uniform exposure” approach, there is a clear necessity of building up data to support specific air quality and medical research.

Leveraging years of experience on emissions, and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modelling, Oxford Brookes University have developed a new ultra-high definition 3-Dimensional CFD urban model, capable of: predicting the complex dynamics of pollutants dispersion from moving traffic; and quantifying actual exposure for the public occupying the space. The model is computationally demanding, but offers a vast accuracy advantage compared to other approaches (e.g. Gaussian Plume Models) for application in dense urban environments.

This project aims to: increase the technical capabilities of the Oxford Brookes University model; perform its validation using purposely-collected field data; and carry out a case study on bus stop shelters, to assess the effective protection they may offer from short-term peak concentrations of air pollution. This was funded by UKRI grant NE/V002449/1

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