ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202203.0395.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: air quality; nitrogen oxides; dispersion modelling; computational fluid dynamics
Online: 31 March 2022 (05:55:45 CEST)
Road vehicles are a large contributor to Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) pollution. The routine road-side monitoring stations, however, may underrepresent the severity of personal exposure in urban areas, because long-term average readings cannot capture the effects of momentary, high peaks of air pollution. While numerical modelling tools historically have been used to propose an improved distribution of monitoring stations, ultra-high resolution Computational Fluid Dynamics models can further assist the relevant stakeholders in understanding the important details of pollutant dispersion and exposure at local level. This study deploys a 10 cm-resolution CFD model to evaluate actual high peaks of personal exposure to NOx from traffic, by tracking the gases emitted from the tailpipe of moving vehicles being dispersed towards the roadside. The investigation shows that a set of four Euro 5-rated diesel vehicles travelling at constant speed may generate momentary road-side concentrations of NOx as high as 1.25 mg/m3, with 25% expected increase for doubling the number of vehicles and approximately 50% reduction when considering Euro 6-rated vehicles. The paper demonstrates how the numerical tool can be used to identify the impact of measures to reduce personal exposure, such as protective urban furniture, as traffic patterns and environmental conditions change.