Assessment of exposure to air pollution from road traffic: use of air dispersion model CALINE4 at a fine scale in Cracow

Julie Méline, Stanislas Wicherek, Bertrand Julien-Laferriere, Jean-Paul Oudinet


This article deals with the road traffic air pollution modeling which is also part of a main multidisciplinary study of health risk characterization untitled: "Air pollution generated by road traffic and childhood asthma in Cracow". Cracow, a city declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, constitutes a relevant urban area to study insofar road traffic as a strong anthropogenic source of air pollution. The final aim of the health study is to establish in Cracow the relationship between air quality and the development of asthma among children. We have chosen the air dispersion model CALINE4 and its software interface, CALROADS VIEW, to estimate the PM10 and NO2 concentrations generated by road traffic at 43 key intersections in Cracow during the period 2001-2005. This model is recognized as an international reference in road traffic air pollution modeling. The concentration of traffic and trips in the historical downtown area and the importance of exchanges between the two downtowns of Cracow (historical downtown and Nowa Huta) are the main causes of high air pollution levels from road traffic. Depending on the pollutant considered (PM10, NO2) as well as the density of traffic and the meteorological situations, areas of exposure to air pollution and their potential health effects to the exposed population are quite different in time and in space. The main results show that: 1) Only the NO2 exposure areas reach the residential areas because the PM10 areas of exposure (Avg: 66.8 m SD: ą 48.5, max: 284 m) are quite less extensive than those of NO2 (Avg: 125.4 SD: ą 64.4, max: 381 m); 2) Extension of these two pollutant areas is proportionally related to the density of traffic and is extended in an unsymmetrical way around roads depending on meteorological cases determined by both the Pasquill-Gifford classification and the wind directions. According to our methodology, the validation of estimated PM10 and NO2 concentrations shows that they have been overwhelmingly validated.

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