Ole Hertel, Martin Hvidberg, Matthias Ketzel, Lars Storm and Lizzi Stausgaard
A proper choice of route significantly reduces air pollution exposure -- A study on bicycle and bus trips in urban streets

Science of The Total Environment Volume 389, Issue 1, , 15 January 2008, Pages 58-70.


A proper selection of route through the urban area may significantly reduce the air pollution exposure. This is the main conclusion from the presented study. Air pollution exposure is determined for two selected cohorts along the route going from home to working place, and back from working place to home. Exposure is determined with a street pollution model for three scenarios: bicycling along the shortest possible route, bicycling along the low exposure route along less trafficked streets, and finally taking the shortest trip using public transport. Furthermore, calculations are performed for the cases the trip takes place inside as well as outside the traffic rush hours. The results show that the accumulated air pollution exposure for the low exposure route is between 10% and 30% lower for the primary pollutants (NOx and CO). However, the difference is insignificant and in some cases even negative for the secondary pollutants (NO2 and PM10/PM2.5). Considering only the contribution from traffic in the travelled streets, the accumulated air pollution exposure is between 54% and 67% lower for the low exposure route. The bus is generally following highly trafficked streets, and the accumulated exposure along the bus route is therefore between 79% and 115% higher than the high exposure bicycle route (the short bicycle route). Travelling outside the rush hour time periods reduces the accumulated exposure between 10% and 30% for the primary pollutants, and between 5% and 20% for the secondary pollutants. The study indicates that a web based route planner for selecting the low exposure route through the city might be a good service for the public. In addition the public may be advised to travel outside rush hour time periods.

Keywords: Human exposure; Urban environment; Choice of route; Air pollution modeling; Mode of transport