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Open AccessArticle

Current Status, Challenges and Resilient Response to Air Pollution in Urban Subway

1,2, 1,2, 3, 3 and 1,2,*
Institute of Public Safety Research, Department of Engineering Physics, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
Beijing Key Laboratory of City Integrated Emergency Response Science, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
Rock Environment and Energy Institute, Shunyi, Beijing 101318, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Atmosphere 2019, 10(8), 472;
Received: 26 June 2019 / Revised: 12 August 2019 / Accepted: 13 August 2019 / Published: 16 August 2019
PDF [707 KB, uploaded 16 August 2019]


Subway air pollution mainly refers to inhalable particulate matter (PM) pollution, organic pollution, and microbial pollution. Based on the investigation and calculation of the existing researches, this paper summarizes the sources of air pollutants, chemical compositions, and driving factors of PM variations in subway. It evaluates the toxicity and health risks of pollutants. In this paper, the problems and challenges during the deployment of air pollution governance are discussed. Results show that the global PM compliance rate of subway is about 30%. Subway air pollution is endogenous, which means that pollutants mainly come from mechanical wear and building materials erosions. Particles are mainly metal particles, black carbon, and floating dust. The health risks of some chemical elements in the subway have reached critical levels. The variations of PM concentrations show spatial-temporal characteristics, which are mainly controlled by train age, brakes types, and environmental control systems. The authors then analyze the dynamics of interactions among government, companies and public during the air pollution governance by adding the following questions: (a) who pays the bill; (b) how to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of policies; (c) how the public moves from risk perception to actions; (d) how to develop clean air technology better so as to ultimately incentivize stakeholders and to facilitate the implementation of subway clean air programme in a resilient mode. View Full-Text
Keywords: subway air pollution; particulate matter (PM); pollution governance dynamics; subway clean air programme subway air pollution; particulate matter (PM); pollution governance dynamics; subway clean air programme

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Zhang, W.; Zhao, H.; Zhao, A.; Lin, J.; Zhou, R. Current Status, Challenges and Resilient Response to Air Pollution in Urban Subway. Atmosphere 2019, 10, 472.

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