Quantification of particle emission characteristics and development of an emission model for use in transport microenvironments affected by traffic emissions

Wang, Lina (2010) Quantification of particle emission characteristics and development of an emission model for use in transport microenvironments affected by traffic emissions. PhD by Publication, Queensland University of Technology.


Vehicle emitted particles are of significant concern based on their potential to influence local air quality and human health. Transport microenvironments usually contain higher vehicle emission concentrations compared to other environments, and people spend a substantial amount of time in these microenvironments when commuting. Currently there is limited scientific knowledge on particle concentration, passenger exposure and the distribution of vehicle emissions in transport microenvironments, partially due to the fact that the instrumentation required to conduct such measurements is not available in many research centres. Information on passenger waiting time and location in such microenvironments has also not been investigated, which makes it difficult to evaluate a passenger’s spatial-temporal exposure to vehicle emissions. Furthermore, current emission models are incapable of rapidly predicting emission distribution, given the complexity of variations in emission rates that result from changes in driving conditions, as well as the time spent in driving condition within the transport microenvironment.

In order to address these scientific gaps in knowledge, this work conducted, for the first time, a comprehensive statistical analysis of experimental data, along with multi-parameter assessment, exposure evaluation and comparison, and emission model development and application, in relation to traffic interrupted transport microenvironments. The work aimed to quantify and characterise particle emissions and human exposure in the transport microenvironments, with bus stations and a pedestrian crossing identified as suitable research locations representing a typical transport microenvironment.

Firstly, two bus stations in Brisbane, Australia, with different designs, were selected to conduct measurements of particle number size distributions, particle number and PM2.5 concentrations during two different seasons. Simultaneous traffic and meteorological parameters were also monitored, aiming to quantify particle characteristics and investigate the impact of bus flow rate, station design and meteorological conditions on particle characteristics at stations. The results showed higher concentrations of PN20-30 at the station situated in an open area (open station), which is likely to be attributed to the lower average daily temperature compared to the station with a canyon structure (canyon station). During precipitation events, it was found that particle number concentration in the size range 25-250 nm decreased greatly, and that the average daily reduction in PM2.5 concentration on rainy days compared to fine days was 44.2 % and 22.6 % at the open and canyon station, respectively. The effect of ambient wind speeds on particle number concentrations was also examined, and no relationship was found between particle number concentration and wind speed for the entire measurement period. In addition, 33 pairs of average half-hourly PN7-3000 concentrations were calculated and identified at the two stations, during the same time of a day, and with the same ambient wind speeds and precipitation conditions. The results of a paired t-test showed that the average half-hourly PN7-3000 concentrations at the two stations were not significantly different at the 5% confidence level (t = 0.06, p = 0.96), which indicates that the different station designs were not a crucial factor for influencing PN7-3000 concentrations.

A further assessment of passenger exposure to bus emissions on a platform was evaluated at another bus station in Brisbane, Australia. The sampling was conducted over seven weekdays to investigate spatial-temporal variations in size-fractionated particle number and PM2.5 concentrations, as well as human exposure on the platform. For the whole day, the average PN13-800 concentration was 1.3 x 104 and 1.0 x 104 particle/cm3 at the centre and end of the platform, respectively, of which PN50-100 accounted for the largest proportion to the total count. Furthermore, the contribution of exposure at the bus station to the overall daily exposure was assessed using two assumed scenarios of a school student and an office worker. It was found that, although the daily time fraction (the percentage of time spend at a location in a whole day) at the station was only 0.8 %, the daily exposure fractions (the percentage of exposures at a location accounting for the daily exposure) at the station were 2.7% and 2.8 % for exposure to PN13-800 and 2.7% and 3.5% for exposure to PM2.5 for the school student and the office worker, respectively. A new parameter, “exposure intensity” (the ratio of daily exposure fraction and the daily time fraction) was also defined and calculated at the station, with values of 3.3 and 3.4 for exposure to PN13-880, and 3.3 and 4.2 for exposure to PM2.5, for the school student and the office worker, respectively.

In order to quantify the enhanced emissions at critical locations and define the emission distribution in further dispersion models for traffic interrupted transport microenvironments, a composite line source emission (CLSE) model was developed to specifically quantify exposure levels and describe the spatial variability of vehicle emissions in traffic interrupted microenvironments. This model took into account the complexity of vehicle movements in the queue, as well as different emission rates relevant to various driving conditions (cruise, decelerate, idle and accelerate), and it utilised multi-representative segments to capture the accurate emission distribution for real vehicle flow. This model does not only helped to quantify the enhanced emissions at critical locations, but it also helped to define the emission source distribution of the disrupted steady flow for further dispersion modelling. The model then was applied to estimate particle number emissions at a bidirectional bus station used by diesel and compressed natural gas fuelled buses. It was found that the acceleration distance was of critical importance when estimating particle number emission, since the highest emissions occurred in sections where most of the buses were accelerating and no significant increases were observed at locations where they idled. It was also shown that emissions at the front end of the platform were 43 times greater than at the rear of the platform.

The CLSE model was also applied at a signalled pedestrian crossing, in order to assess increased particle number emissions from motor vehicles when forced to stop and accelerate from rest. The CLSE model was used to calculate the total emissions produced by a specific number and mix of light petrol cars and diesel passenger buses including 1 car travelling in 1 direction (/1 direction), 14 cars / 1 direction, 1 bus / 1 direction, 28 cars / 2 directions, 24 cars and 2 buses / 2 directions, and 20 cars and 4 buses / 2 directions. It was found that the total emissions produced during stopping on a red signal were significantly higher than when the traffic moved at a steady speed. Overall, total emissions due to the interruption of the traffic increased by a factor of 13, 11, 45, 11, 41, and 43 for the above 6 cases, respectively.

In summary, this PhD thesis presents the results of a comprehensive study on particle number and mass concentration, together with particle size distribution, in a bus station transport microenvironment, influenced by bus flow rates, meteorological conditions and station design. Passenger spatial-temporal exposure to bus emitted particles was also assessed according to waiting time and location along the platform, as well as the contribution of exposure at the bus station to overall daily exposure. Due to the complexity of the interrupted traffic flow within the transport microenvironments, a unique CLSE model was also developed, which is capable of quantifying emission levels at critical locations within the transport microenvironment, for the purpose of evaluating passenger exposure and conducting simulations of vehicle emission dispersion. The application of the CLSE model at a pedestrian crossing also proved its applicability and simplicity for use in a real-world transport microenvironment.

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ID Code: 46912
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD by Publication)
Supervisor: Morawska, Lidia & Jayaratne, Emil
Keywords: transport microenvironment, traffic interrupted, bus station, station design, meteorological conditions, human exposure, bus emissions, diesel, compressed natural gas, ultrafine particles, particle number concentration, particle size distributions, particle mass concentration, count median diameter, composite line source emission model, computational fluid dynamics
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Past > Schools > Physics
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 08 Nov 2011 06:23
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2011 06:23

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