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A Geographic Approach to Modelling Human Exposure to Traffic Air Pollution using GIS

Research output: Book/anthology/dissertation/reportPh.D. thesis

  • Department of Atmospheric Environment
A new exposure model has been developed that is based on a physical, single media (air) and single source (traffic) microenvironmental approach that estimates traffic related exposures geographically with the postal address as exposure indicator. The microenvironments: residence, workplace and street (road user exposure) may be considered. The model estimates outdoor levels for selected ambient air pollutants (benzene, CO, NO2 and O3). The influence of outdoor air pollution on indoor levels can be estimated using average I/O-ratios. The model has a very high spatial resolution (the address), a high temporal resolution (one hour) and may be used to predict past, present and future exposures. The model may be used for impact assessment of control measures provided that the changes to the model inputs are obtained. A simple exposure index is defined that assumes that the person is present at the address all the time, and an exposure estimate is also defined that takes into account the time the person spends at the address assuming standardised time-profiles depending on age groups. The exposure model takes advantage of a standard Geographic Information System (GIS) (ArcView and Avenue) for generation of inputs, for visualisation of input and output, and uses available digital maps, national administrative registers and a local traffic database, and the Danish Operational Street Pollution Model (OSPM). The Municipality of Middelfart has been used as a case study area to develop and demonstrate the exposure model. Input requirements are: digital maps including buildings, geocoded addresses, geocoded roads, geocoded cadastres; data from the Building and Dwelling Register (BBR); traffic data (ADT of passenger cars, van, lorries and busses) for linking to a segmented road network; population data on gender and age from the Central Population Register (CPR); the number of employees from the Central Business Register (CER); standardised time-activity profiles for the different age groups in the residence and workplace microenvironments; and meteorological parameters (hourly). The exposure model presents a new approach to exposure determination by integration of digital maps, administrative registers, a street pollution model and GIS. New methods have been developed to generate the required input parameters for the OSPM model: to geocode buildings using cadastral maps and address points, to automatically generate street configuration data based on digital maps, the BBR and GIS; to predict the temporal variation in traffic and related parameters; and to provide hourly background levels for the OSPM model. The potentials for application of the exposure model have been discussed within air pollution epidemiology and urban air quality management, and future research needs have been discussed within refinements of the exposure model, development of a personal exposure model, and development of a model for national exposure and health risk assessment.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherNational Environmental Research Institute. Department of Atmospheric Environment
Number of pages166
Publication statusPublished - 1999

    Research areas

  • human exposure, model, air pollution, traffic, GIS

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