Special Issue "Traffic-Related Air Pollution and Its Impacts on Human Health"

A special issue of Atmosphere (ISSN 2073-4433). This special issue belongs to the section "Air Quality and Human Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 4 September 2020.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Grazia Ghermandi
Guest Editor
Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia, 41121 Modena, Italy
Interests: air pollution; dispersion models; particulate matter; environmental impact assessment; sustainability

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Vehicular traffic is one of the main factors responsible for urban air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Air pollution from transport causes a wide range of health problems: more than 80% of people living in urban areas that monitor air pollution are exposed to air quality levels exceeding the World Health Organization (WHO) limits (WHO Global Urban Ambient Air Pollution Database (update 2016)).
Nitrogen oxides, particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), sulfur oxides, carbon monoxide, carcinogens including benzene derivatives, and various heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury are all emitted from the exhausts of vehicles. In addition, precursor chemicals in exhausts may react in the atmosphere, giving rise to the formation of ground-level ozone (O3), which is part of the mix of urban air pollutants and is a key factor in chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma; as well as methane, which is a strong greenhouse gas. Finally, particulate matter and heavy metals are also released into the air as a result of tire and brake abrasion and, once deposited, may be re-suspended in the air by passing cars.

Air pollution-related deaths and illness are linked most closely to exposures to small particulate matter (PM). The range of health effects is broad, but are predominantly related to the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. The risk for various outcomes has been shown to increase with exposure, but there is little evidence to suggest a threshold below which no adverse health effects would be expected. For these reasons, the WHO recommends to keep the concentration of PM as low as possible. The entire population is affected, but susceptibility may vary with health or age.

PM, nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and ozone (O3) levels have recently exceeded national and WHO standards in many urban areas across Europe. The WHO recently warned against potentially lethal air pollution levels in major cities, where citizens were invited to use public transport networks or car sharing in order to prevent the problem from worsening. Given specific meteorological conditions coupled with high pollutant emissions and the possible occurrence of extreme heat events linked to climate change, pollution episodes are expected to become more frequent.

The aim of this Special Issue is to collect contributions, original results, review papers, and model applications aiming to assess the correlation between population exposure to traffic-related air pollution and adverse effects on human health. All studies that may be employed as a tool to support environmental policies, epidemiological studies, and urban mobility planning are welcome.

Prof. Dr. Grazia Ghermandi
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Atmosphere is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • air pollution
  • vehicular emission
  • pollutant dispersion models
  • sensors
  • pollutant monitoring
  • traffic flow survey
  • meteorology and climatology
  • public health
  • health risks
  • human exposure
  • epidemiology
  • chronic diseases
  • mobility planning

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
Dispersion of CO Using Computational Fluid Dynamics in a Real Urban Canyon in the City Center of Valencia (Spain)
Atmosphere 2020, 11(7), 693; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11070693 - 30 Jun 2020
One of the main environmental problems we are currently facing is air pollution. Air quality models calculate how much pollution is emitted and dispersed into the atmosphere. This research presents a Computational Fluid Dynamic model using a real urban geometry for the analysis [...] Read more.
One of the main environmental problems we are currently facing is air pollution. Air quality models calculate how much pollution is emitted and dispersed into the atmosphere. This research presents a Computational Fluid Dynamic model using a real urban geometry for the analysis of CO contamination with a three-dimensional model. This method includes a procedure of calculating emissions using different types of vehicles. CO Measurements are obtained from a Wireless Sensor Network to validate the models. The present study analyzes six representative real cases of different traffic situations and climatic conditions plus 3 hypothetical cases in a hotspot area in the city center of Valencia. The results show what influences pollution levels the most is the wind direction, which influences the generation of velocity patterns. In the validation cases, the real wind direction is used and a slight change produces great differences in both velocities and CO concentration. In the hypothetical cases, parallel and perpendicular winds are defined to observe the differences when this ideal situation is applied. In conclusion, the mixing and transport of air pollutants are closely related to the structures of velocity and turbulence that occur in the air, which depends strongly on the wind direction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Traffic-Related Air Pollution and Its Impacts on Human Health)
Open AccessArticle
Gaseous Emissions from a Seagoing Ship under Different Operating Conditions in the Coastal Region of China
Atmosphere 2020, 11(3), 305; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11030305 - 21 Mar 2020
Pollution caused by ship emissions has drawn attention from various countries. Because of the high density of ships in ports, channels, and anchorages and their proximity to the densely populated areas, ship emissions will considerably impact these areas. Herein, a Chinese seagoing ship [...] Read more.
Pollution caused by ship emissions has drawn attention from various countries. Because of the high density of ships in ports, channels, and anchorages and their proximity to the densely populated areas, ship emissions will considerably impact these areas. Herein, a Chinese seagoing ship is selected and a platform is established for monitoring the ship emissions to obtain detailed characteristics of the ship’s nearshore emissions. The ship navigation and pollution emission data are obtained under six complete operating conditions, i.e., berthing, manoeuvring in port, acceleration in a channel, cruising, deceleration before anchoring, and anchoring. This study analyzes the concentrations of the main emission gases (O2, NOX, SO2, CO2, and CO) and the average emission factors (EFs) of the pollution gases (NOX, SO2, CO2, and CO) based on the engine power under different operating conditions. Results show that the change in O2 concentration reflects the load associated with the main engine of the ship. The NOX, SO2, and CO2 emission concentrations are the highest during cruising, whereas the peak CO emission concentration is observed during anchoring. The average EFs of NOX and SO2 based on the power of the main engine are the highest during cruising, and those of CO2 and CO are the highest after anchoring. The ship EFs are different during acceleration and deceleration. By comparing the EFs along the coast of China and the global EFs commonly used to perform the emission inventory calculations in China, the NOX EFs under different operating conditions is observed to be generally lower than the global EFs under the corresponding operating conditions. Furthermore, the SO2 EF is considerably affected by the sulfur content in the fuel oil and the operating conditions of the ship. The average CO2 EFs are higher than the global EFs commonly used during cruising, and the CO EFs are higher than the global EFs under all the conditions. Our results help to supplement the EFs for this type of ship under different operating conditions, resolve the lack of emission data under anchoring conditions, and provide data support to conduct nearshore environmental monitoring and assessment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Traffic-Related Air Pollution and Its Impacts on Human Health)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Tentative Title: Personal Exposure to Traffic-Related Air Pollution in the Vicinity of US-Mexico Border Crossings: A Case Study of School Teachers in El Paso, TX
Author: Suriya Vallamsundar
Abstract: Traffic exhaust is a major source of air pollution in urban areas and has been linked to adverse health effects, including respiratory illnesses. This study focuses on the evaluation of personal monitoring data of particulate matter (PM2.5) collected from a group of school teachers in the El Paso region in Texas, which is a gateway for freight movement between the US and Mexico.  Air quality is one of the primary health concerns for people living and working in this border region. The region is negatively affected by high population growth, poverty, complex terrain and meteorology, cross border traffic activities, a high number of older diesel trucks, and long waiting times as part of the border crossing process. As a first step, a systematic geospatial analysis was conducted to identify locations in El Paso affected by air pollution attributable to the border crossing activities. Based on the geospatial analysis, a personal exposure assessment was conducted for a group of participants living and working in a neighborhood highly impacted by air pollution exposure. A pool of school teachers working and living close to the school carried a backpack equipped with an air quality monitoring device, and a portable global positioning system (GPS) tracking device for 24 hours.  A spatiotemporal exposure assessment was conducted by pairing the GPS readings with the questionnaire data obtained from the participants related to the different microenvironments visited. The highest exposure levels were measured at the school and at participant’s homes located within 150m from the border highway. Personal monitoring results were found to be higher by an average factor of 1.8 (higher for an average of 81% of the sampling days) compared to the stationary ambient data measured at a regulatory monitor and a monitor placed outside the school. Time-weighted average exposure was highest for the school (1.47) microenvironment, followed by home (1.18) and during the commute (0.89). These findings highlight a critical need to improve the indoor air quality in schools using targeted abatement techniques and emphasize a need to expand the coverage and capabilities of current air quality monitoring networks in the region.

Tentative Title: Lag Variables in Nitrogen Oxides Concentration Modelling – Case Study in Wrocław
Author: Joanna Kamińska
Abstract: Due to the unwavering interest of both residents and authorities in air quality in the urban agglomeration, we posed the following question in this paper: What impact have current and past meteorological factors and traffic flow on the quality of the air? What is the impact of lag variables on the fit of the model, and how does it affect their importance in predicting the NO2 and NOx concentration? We conducted the research using hourly data from the city of Wrocław (Poland, central Europe) 2015-2017. We used the multi-objective optimization algorithm to determine the optimal delays. It turned out that for both NO2 and NOx, lag variable for traffic flow, wind speed and sunshine duration are more important than current ones in the modeling. We built random forests models on each of the pollutants for the original (actual) data and with lag variables. Including lag variable lead to increase the model accuracy for NO2 from R2=0.51 to 0.56 and for NOx from 0.46 to 0.52. We have analyzed the feature importance in each models. For NO2, the wind speed delay of 3 hours caused a decrease in significance. However, the relative humidity importance with 7 hours delay increased. For NOx we observed an increase importance of wind speed with a lag of 2 hours. We deduced that in pollutant concentrations modeling, the possibility of greater influence of variables with delay should always be considered because it can significantly increase the accuracy of the model and indicate additional relationships or dependencies.

Tentative Title: Evaluation of Gasoline Evaporative Emissions from Fuel-Cap Removing Process after Real-World Driving
Author: Kenichi Tonokura
Abstract: The emission behavior of gasoline evaporation from fuel-cap removing in the refueling process so called “puff loss” emission was investigated to one gasoline vehicle in the Japanese market. Puff loss emission was measured after the real-world driving in the urban area of Tokyo, Japan, in several seasons with several types of gasoline. The experimental results showed that puff loss emission was higher in the experiment conducted in summer season than in winter and spring seasons despite using low vapor pressure gasoline in summer. The estimation model to evaluate puff loss emission in the arbitral environmental condition was developed based on the theory of thermodynamics. The estimation model well replicates the experimental results of puff loss emissions in this study with no fitting parameter. Finally the sensitivity analysis of three physical parameters, fuel tank-fill, ambient pressure, and gasoline type to puff loss emission was conducted. The results suggested that fuel tank-fill is the most important parameter to the amount of puff loss emission. The puff loss estimation model proposed in this study will contribute to the evaluation of VOC emission inventory in the future.

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