Fine particulate matter and carbon monoxide exposure concentrations in urban street transport microenvironments
Personal exposure studies are crucial alongside microenvironment and ambient studies in order to get a better understanding of the health risks posed by fine particulate matter and carbon monoxide in the urban transport microenvironment and for making informed decisions to manage and reduce the health risks. Studies specifically assessing the PM2.5, ultrafine particle count and carbon monoxide personal exposure concentrations of adults in an urban transport microenvironment have steadily increased in number over the last decade. However, no recent collective summary is available, particularly one which also considers ultrafine particles; therefore, we present a review of the personal exposure concentration studies for the above named pollutants on different modes of surface transportation (walking, cycling, bus, car and taxi) in the urban transport microenvironment. Comparisons between personal exposure measurements and concentrations recorded at fixed monitoring sites are considered in addition to the factors influencing personal exposure in the transport microenvironment. In general, the exposure studies examined revealed pedestrians and cyclists to experience lower fine particulate matter and CO exposure concentrations in comparison to those inside vehicles—the vehicle shell provided no protection to the passengers. Proximity to the pollutant sources had a significant impact on exposure concentration levels experienced, consequently individuals should be encouraged to use back street routes. Fixed monitoring stations were found to be relatively poor predictors of CO and PM2.5 exposure concentration levels experienced by individuals in the urban transport microenvironment. Although the mode of transport, traffic and meteorology parameters were commonly identified as significant factors influencing exposure concentrations to the different pollutants under examination, a large amount of the exposure concentration variation in the exposure studies remained unexplained.