Impact of route choice and period of the day on cyclists' exposure to black carbon in London, Rotterdam and São Paulo

Veronika Sassen Brand, Prashant Kumar (Corresponding Author), Aline Santos Damascena, John P. Pritchard, Karst T. Geurs, Maria De Fatima Andrade

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    Cyclists are exposed to direct traffic emissions due to their proximity to on-road vehicles. Several studies associate black carbon (BC) exposure with both mortality and morbidity caused by cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. We did a comparative assessment of cyclists' exposure to BC in three cities: London, Rotterdam and São Paulo. We measured personal exposure to BC during the peak and off-peak hours in all three cities using the same instrument. Three origin-destination (O-D) pairs, each with two routes, for a total of six routes, were chosen in each city. The first route of each O-D pair was along busy major roads and the other perceived to be clean passing close to green/blue/quiet areas. This work brings together results from three different Latin American and European cities, with an aim to understand the BC exposure variabilities while cycling during peak and off-peak hours, identify main pollution hotspots resulting in enhanced exposure and associate the measured concentrations with proximity to green areas and waterways. BC concentrations were higher during
    the morning-peak hours compared with evening-peak hours in Rotterdam and São Paulo. London showed an opposite trend, with higher concentrations during evening hours. In most cases, the cyclists using the alternative route were found to be less exposed to BC in London and São Paulo. In Rotterdam, the differences in absolute concentrations between main and alternate routes were modest. Each city is different but the common features among all were that the exposure is related to route choice, a period of the day and proximity with the mobile
    sources. These findings have implications in terms of considering the pollutants exposure when establishing new cycle routes.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)153-165
    Number of pages13
    JournalJournal of transport geography
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


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