Next Article in Journal
Shedding Light on Vitamin D Status and Its Complexities during Pregnancy, Infancy and Childhood: An Australian Perspective
Next Article in Special Issue
Using Low-Cost Air Quality Sensor Networks to Improve the Spatial and Temporal Resolution of Concentration Maps
Previous Article in Journal
The Great Recession and Children’s Mental Health in Australia
Previous Article in Special Issue
Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) in Terms of Years of Life Lost (YLL) Due to Premature Adult Mortalities and Postneonatal Infant Mortalities Attributed to PM2.5 and PM10 Exposures in Kuwait
Article Menu
Issue 4 (February-2) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessArticle

Characterization of Spatial Air Pollution Patterns Near a Large Railyard Area in Atlanta, Georgia

Department of Statistics, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27607, USA
U.S. EPA Office of Research and Development, Research Triangle Park, NC 27711, USA
Aerodyne Research Inc., Billerica, MA 01821, USA
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, USA
Civil and Environmental Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(4), 535;
Received: 16 November 2018 / Revised: 30 January 2019 / Accepted: 5 February 2019 / Published: 13 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Near-Source Air Pollution)
PDF [2700 KB, uploaded 13 February 2019]
  |     |  


Railyards are important transportation hubs, and they are often situated near populated areas with high co-located density of manufacturing, freight movement and commercial enterprises. Emissions occurring within railyards can affect nearby air quality. To better understand the air pollution levels in proximity to a major railyard, an intensive mobile air monitoring study was conducted in May 2012 around a major railyard area in Atlanta, GA, constituted of two separate facilities situated side-by-side. A total of 19 multi-hour mobile monitoring sessions took place over different times of day, days of the week, and under a variety of wind conditions. High time resolution measurements included black carbon (BC), particle number concentration (PN), particle optical extinction (EXT), oxides of nitrogen (NO, NO2, NOy), carbon monoxide (CO), and speciated air toxics. Urban background was estimated to contribute substantially (>70%) to EXT and CO, whereas BC, oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and toluene had comparably low background contributions (<30%). Mobile monitoring data were aggregated into 50 meter spatial medians by wind categories, with categories including low speed wind conditions (<0.5 m s−1) and, for wind speeds above that threshold, by wind direction relative to the railyard. Spatial medians of different pollutants measured had a wide range of correlation—gas-phase air toxics (benzene, toluene, acetaldehyde) had moderate correlation with each other (r = 0.46–0.59) and between toluene and CO (r = 0.53), but lower correlation for other pairings. PN had highest correlation with oxides of nitrogen (r = 0.55–0.66), followed by BC (r = 0.4), and lower correlation with other pollutants. Multivariate regression analysis on the full set of 50 m medians found BC and NO as having the strongest relationship to railyard emissions, in comparison to their respective background levels. This was indicated by an increase associated with transiting through the yard and inverse relationship with distance from the railyard; NO and BC decreased by a factor of approximately 0.5 and 0.7 over 1 km distance of the railyard boundary, respectively. Low speed, variable wind conditions were related to higher concentrations of all measured parameters. View Full-Text
Keywords: near-source; railyard; air pollution; mobile monitoring; locomotive near-source; railyard; air pollution; mobile monitoring; locomotive

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Supplementary material


Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Brantley, H.L.; Hagler, G.S.; Herndon, S.C.; Massoli, P.; Bergin, M.H.; Russell, A.G. Characterization of Spatial Air Pollution Patterns Near a Large Railyard Area in Atlanta, Georgia. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 535.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top