Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Research gives new meaning to 'green' cross code

07.10.2009
Pedestrians could reduce the amount of traffic pollution they breathe in simply by crossing the street, according to the latest research from the University of Leeds.

The research, led by Professor of Environmental Modelling Alison Tomlin from Leeds' Faculty of Engineering, has shown that air pollution levels change dramatically within small geographical areas dependent on wind patterns, the location of traffic queues and the position and shapes of the surrounding buildings.

The findings showed that pollution hotspots tend to accumulate on the leeward side of the street, (the sheltered side) in relation to the wind's direction at roof-top level.

They also revealed that that carbon monoxide levels were up to four times lower in parallel side streets compared to the main road.

The team monitored traffic flow and carbon monoxide (CO) levels over an eight week period at one of the busiest junctions in the UK - the intersection between Marylebone Road and Gloucester Place in West London.

"CO levels were highly variable over remarkably short distances," says Professor Tomlin. "As you'd expect, the junction itself showed high levels caused by queuing traffic, but with some wind patterns these hotspots moved further down the street. However, the leeward side of the street had consistently higher concentrations of carbon monoxide than the windward side. The same trends would be expected for other traffic related pollutants such as ultrafine particles and nitrogen dioxide."

"Most people would expect pollution levels to be slightly lower away from the main body of traffic, but our figures show a very significant difference," she says.

"Pollution can be trapped within the street where it is emitted by recirculating winds. If it escapes to above roof-top level, it doesn't tend to be mixed back into neighbouring streets very strongly. It would be worth cyclists and pedestrians rethinking their regular routes, as they can massively reduce their pollution exposure by moving just one street away from the main traffic thoroughfares."

The research also has significance for local authorities and other bodies monitoring air quality levels in urban areas. Currently every city has a number of sites monitoring pollution levels to ensure compliance with EU standards, but Professor Tomlin says these may need to be looked at in relation to the other factors identified by the research to ensure an accurate spatial picture.

"Monitoring stations tend to be sited in what are expected to be pollution hotspots, but our research has shown that hotspots move depending on meteorological conditions, particularly wind direction," says Professor Tomlin. "We need to develop models which take these factors into account, so that the data from monitoring sites can be accurately analysed to provide a true reflection of air quality across the whole of an urban area."

The research is published in the latest issue of Atmospheric Environment and has been funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

Jo Kelly | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.leeds.ac.uk

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Minimized water consumption in CSP plants - EU project MinWaterCSP is making good progress
05.12.2017 | Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum

nachricht Jena Experiment: Loss of species destroys ecosystems
28.11.2017 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

Im Focus: Virtual Reality for Bacteria

An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications

Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...

Im Focus: A space-time sensor for light-matter interactions

Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.

The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Midwife and signpost for photons

11.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

How do megacities impact coastal seas? Searching for evidence in Chinese marginal seas

11.12.2017 | Earth Sciences

PhoxTroT: Optical Interconnect Technologies Revolutionized Data Centers and HPC Systems

11.12.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>