Research on air pollution characteristics and planning strategy of urban street environment

Shen Yang ( School of Urban Design, Wuhan University, 8 Donghu South Road, Wuhan 430072, China. )

Qingming Zhan ( School of Urban Design, Wuhan University, 8 Donghu South Road, Wuhan 430072, China. )

Liu Wen ( Research Institute for Smart Cities, Shenzhen University, 3688 Nanhai Road, Shenzhen 518060, Guangdong, China. )


Dense buildings in modern cities make street pollutants more and more difficult to disperse, and the exposure level of urban residents to pollutants has increased significantly. This study focuses on the spatial and temporal distribution of ambient air pollution in urban streets and the relationship between street morphology and pollutant dispersion, and explores ways to reduce ambient air pollution in streets through spatial design. The study used the CityGrid urban grid data monitoring station to conduct an empirical study on an urban trunk road in Wuhan during the winter of 2020 to 2021, monitoring pollutants including NO2, O3, PM2.5, and PM10. The results showed that pollutant concentration changes in the near-road environment are affected by a combination of meteorological elements and traffic flow characteristics. The wind parallel to the road is more favorable to evacuate pollutants inside the street canyon, and the ambient wind above the canyon perpendicular to the road causes vortices in the canyon that cause gaseous pollutants to accumulate on the leeward side of the canyon. The distribution of particulate pollutants is mainly related to the distance of road pollutant sources. Building access ventilation can effectively evacuate street pollutants, and NO2 and O3 decay to stable levels in shorter distance from the road than PM2.5 and PM10 in downwind direction. The future urban street planning can effectively alleviate street pollution levels through strategies such as street canyon morphology control, green landscape facilities arrangement, increasing the building interface opening, and building bottom overhead.


Urban Streets; Air Pollution; NO2; O3; PM2.5; PM10

Full Text



1.Boppana VBL, Wise DJ, Ooi CC, Zhmayev E, Poh HJ. CFD assessment on particulate matter filters performance in urban areas. Sustainable Cities and Society. 2019;46:101376.
2.Gordon T, Stanek LW, Bronw J. Pollution, air in en-cyclopedia of toxicology. In: Wexler P (ed) Encyclopedia of toxicology (third edition). Academic Press, Oxford. 2014:995-1002.
3.WHO. Who’s first global report on antibiotic resistance reveals serious, worldwide threat to public health. Gene-va: World Health Organization, 2014.
4.Lv W, Wu Y, Zang J. A Review on the Dispersion and Distribution Characteristics of Pollutants in Street Canyons and Improvement Measures. Energies. 2021;14(19):6155.
5.Nosek S, Fuka V, Kukacka L, Klukova Z, Janour Z. Street canyon pollution with respect to urban array complexity: The role of lateral and mean pollution fluxes. Building and Environment. 2018;138:221-234.
6.Zhang A, Qi Q, Jiang L, Zhou F, Wang J. Population exposure to PM2.5 in the urban area of Beijing. PLoS ONE. 2017;8(5):e63486.
7.Karner AA, Eisinger DS, Niemeier DA. Near-roadway air quality: synthesizing the findings from real-world data. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2010;44(14):5334-5344.
8.Ghosh R, Lurmann F, Perez L, Penfold B, Brandt S, Wilson J, Milet M, Künzli N, McConnell R. Near-roadway air pollution and coronary heart disease: burden of disease and potential impact of greenhouse gas reduction strategy in southern California. February. Available at Environ. Health Persp. 2016;124(2):193-200.
9.Urman R, McConnell R, Islam TS, Avol EL, Lurmann FW, Vora H, Lin WS, Rappaport EB, Gilliland FD, Gauderman WJ. Associations of children's lung function with ambient air pollution: joint effects of regional and near-roadway pollutants. Thorax. 2014;69(6):540-547.
10.Kim JJ, Huen K, Adams S, Smorodinsky S, Hoats A, Malig B, Lipsett M, Ostro B. Residential traffic and children's respiratory health. Environ. Health Perspect. 2008;116:1274-1279.
11.Pope CA, Turner MC, Burnett R, Jerrett M, Gapstur SM, Diver WR, Krewski D, Brook RD. Relationships between fine particulate air pollution, cardiometabolic disorders and cardiovascular mortality. Circulat. Res. 2015;116:108-115.
12.Peters A, Klot S, Mittleman MA, Meisinger C, Hörmann A, Kuch B, Wichmann HE. Triggering of acute myocardial infarction by different means of transportation. Eur. J. Prev. Cardiol. 2013;20:750-758.
13.Hitchins J, Morawska L, Wolff R, Gilbert D. Concentrations of submicrometre particles from vehicle emissions near a major road. Atmospheric Environment. 2000;34:51-59.
14.Song C, Li R, He J, Wu L, Mao H. Study on pollution characteristics of NO, NO2 and O3 in the atmosphere of Langfang City, Hebei Province. China Environmental Science, 2016;36(10):2903-2912.
15.Mukherjee A, McCarthy MC, Brown SG, Huang S, Landsberg K, Eisinger DS. Influence of roadway emissions on near-road PM2.5: Monitoring data analysis and implications. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment. 2020;86:102442.
16.Dabek-Zlotorzynska E, Celo V, Ding L, Herod D, Jeong CH, Evans G, Hilker N. Characteristics and sources of PM2.5 and reactive gases near roadways in two metropolitan areas in Canada. Atmospheric Environment. 2019;218:116980.
17.Craig KJ, Baringer LM, Chang S, McCarthy MC, Bai S, Seagram AF, Ravi V, Landsberg K, Eisinger DS. Modeled and measured near-road PM2.5 concentrations: Indianapolis and Providence cases. Atmospheric Environment. 2020;240:117775.
18.Kendrick CM, Koonce P, George LA. Diurnal and seasonal variations of NO, NO2 and PM2.5 mass as a function of traffic volumes alongside an urban arterial. Atmospheric Environment. 2015;122:133-141.
19.Askariyeh MH, Zietsman J, Autenrieth R. Traffic contribution to PM2.5 increment in the near-road environment. Atmospheric Environment. 2020;224:117113.
20.Zhou S, Lin R. Spatial-temporal heterogeneity of air pollution: The relationship between built environment and on-road PM2.5 at micro scale. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment. 2019;76:305-322.
21.Xiao J, Du G, Shi Y, Wen Y, Yao J, Gao Y, Lin J. Spatial and temporal characteristics of ambient air pollution in Xiamen and its correlation with meteorological factors. Journal of environmental science. 2016;36 (09):3363-3371.
22.Askariyeh MH, Vallamsundar S, Farzaneh R. Investigating the Impact of Meteorological Conditions on Near-Road Pollutant Dispersion between Daytime and Nighttime Periods. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board. 2018;2672 (25):99-110.
23.Huang Y, Wang M, Qian L, Cui P. Study on air flow and pollutant diffusion characteristics in T-shaped streets. Environmental pollution and prevention. 2019;41 (03):257-260.
24.Miao C, Yu S, Hu Y, Bu R, Qi L, He X, Chen W. How the morphology of urban street canyons affects suspended particulate matter concentration at the pedestrian level: An in-situ investigation. Sustainable Cities and Society. 2020;55:102042.
25.Zhao Y, Jiang C, Song X. Numerical evaluation of turbulence induced by wind and traffic, and its impact on pollutant dispersion in street canyons. 2021;74:103142.
26.Fu X, Liu J, Ban-weiss GA, Zhang J, Huang X, Ouyang B, Popoola O, Tao S. Effects of canyon geometry on the distribution of traffic-related air pollution in a large urban area: Implications of a multi-canyon air pollution dispersion model. Atmospheric Environment. 2017;165:111-121.
27.Zhang K, Chen G, Wang X, Liu S, Mak CM, Fan Y, Hang J. Numerical evaluations of urban design technique to reduce vehicular personal intake fraction in deep street canyons. The Science of the Total Environment. 2019;653:968-994.
28.Pettit T, Torpy FR, Surawski NC, Fleck R, Irga PJ. Effective reduction of roadside air pollution with botanical biofiltration. Journal of Hazardous Materials. 2021;414:125566.
29.Huertas JI, Aguirre JE, Lopez Mejia OD, Lopez CH. Design of Road-Side Barriers to Mitigate Air Pollution near Roads. Applied Sciences. 2021;11(5):2391.
30.Gill LW, Gallagher J, McNabola A. Optimizing the use of on-street car parking system as a passive control of air pollution exposure in street canyons by large eddy simulation. Atmospheric environment. 2011;45(9):1684-1694.
31.Li B, Qiu Z, Zheng J. Impacts of noise barriers on near-viaduct air quality in a city: A case study in Xi'an. Building and Environment. 2021;196:107751.
32.Bouarbi L, Abed B, Bouzit M. Computational analysis of pollutant dispersion in urban street canyons with tree planting influenced by building roof shapes. Wind and Structures. 2016;23(6):505.
33.Phillips BB, Bullock JM, Osborne JL, Gaston KJ. Spatial extent of road pollution: A national analysis. Science of The Total Environment. 2021;773:145589.
34.Bernardino AD, Monti P, Leuzzi G, Querzoli G. Urban climate pollutant fluxes in two-dimensional street canyons. Urban Climate. 2018;24:80-93.
35.Dezzutti M, Berri G, Venegas L. Intercomparison of atmospheric dispersion models applied to an urban street canyon of irregular geometry. Aerosol and Air Quality Research. 2018;18:820-828.
36.Lu W, Howarth AT, Adam N, Riffat SB. Modelling and measurement of airflow and aerosol particle distribution in a ventilated two-zone chamber. Build. nviron. 1996;31(5):417-423.
37.Hong B, Lin B, Qin H. Numerical investigation on the effect of avenue trees on PM2.5 dispersion in urban street canyons. Atmosphere. 2017;8(7):129.
38.Zheng T, Li B, Li X, Wang Z, Li S, Peng Z. Vertical and horizontal distributions of traffic-related pollutants beside an urban arterial road based on unmanned aerial vehicle observations. Building and Environment. 2021;187:107401.
39.Sofowote UM, Healy RM, Su Y, Debosz J, Noble M, Munoz A, Jeong CH, Wang JM, Hilker N, Evans GJ, Hopke PK. Understanding the PM2.5 imbalance between a far and near-road location: results of high temporal frequency source apportionment and parameterization of black carbon. Atmos. Environ. 2018;173:277-288.
40.U.S. EPA. Transportation Conformity Guidance for Quantitative Hot-Spot Analyses in PM2.5 and PM10 Nonattainment and Maintenance Areas. Office of Transportation and Air Quality, 2015.
41.Liu X, Sheng P, Ma X, Zhong M. Spatial and temporal distribution and health impact of vehicle pollutants in urban high concentration population areas. Traffic information and safety. 2018;36 (01):119-128.
42.McAuley TR, Ferro A, Spengler JD, Hopke PK, Jaques PA. Spatial measurements of ultrafine particles using an engine exhaust particle Sizer™ within a local community downwind of a major international trade bridge in Buffalo, New York. Aerosol Sci. Technol. 2010;44:1096-1104.
43.Batterman S, Cook R, Justin T. Temporal variation of traffic on highways and the development of accurate temporal allocation factors for air pollution analyses. Atmos. Environ. 2015;107:351-363.
44.Baldwin N, Gilani O, Raja S, Batterman S, Ganguly R, Hopke P, Berrocal V, Robins T, Hoogterp S. Factors affecting pollutant concentrations in the near-road environment. Atmospheric Environment. 2015;115:223-235.
45.Gao S, Tao S, Xiong X, Huang S, Li N. Study on air pollution characteristics of typical Expressway short cut areas in northern China. Journal of ecological environment. 2019;28(06):1168-1174.
46.Sillman S. The use of NOy, H2O2, and HNO3 as indicators for ozone-NOx- hydrocarbon sensitivity in urban locations. J. Geophys. Res. 1995;100:14175-14188.
47.Jing P, Goldberg DL. Influence of conducive weather on ozone in the presence of reduced NOx emissions: A case study in Chicago during the 2020 lockdowns. Atmospheric Pollution Research. 2022;13(2):101313.
48.Jamriska M, Morawska L, Mergersen K. The effect of temperature and humidity on size segregated traffic exhaust particle emissions. Atmos. Environ. 2008;42:2369-2382.
49.Gao C, Zhao Q, Ding R, Zhang J, Li Y, Dong C. Analysis on the change of air pollutant concentration and its correlation with meteorological factors in Jilin City in 2018. Environmental engineering. 2021;39(05):71-79.
50.Chan LY, Kwok WS. Vertical dispersion of suspended parti culates in urban area of Hong Kong. Atmospheric Environment. 2000;34:4403-4412.
51.Qiu Q, Wang L. Study on Urban Street geometric structure planning based on street canyon pollution mechanism. Urban development research. 2007;04:78-82.
52.Wang J, Wang W. Study on spatial morphology and pollutant diffusion of urban street canyons: a case study of Zhongshan Road, Hangzhou. Urban planning. 2010;34 (12):57-63.
53.Kastner-Klein P, Plate EJ. Wind-tunnel study of concentration fields in street canyons. Atmospheric Environment. 1999;33:3973-3979.

Copyright © Creative Commons License Publishing time:2023-01-13
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License