A review of fundamental drivers governing the emissions, dispersion and exposure to vehicle-emitted nanoparticles at signalised traffic intersections
Signalised traffic intersections (TIs) are considered as pollution hot-spots in urban areas, but the knowledge of fundamental drivers governing emission, dispersion and exposure to vehicle-emitted nanoparticles (represented by particle number concentration, PNC) at TIs is yet to be established. A number of following key factors, which are important for developing an emission and exposure framework for nanoparticles at TIs, are critically evaluated as a part of this review article. In particular, (i) how do traffic- and wind-flow features affect emission and dispersion of nanoparticles? (ii) What levels of PNCs can be typically expected under diverse signal- and traffic-conditions? (iii) How does the traffic driving condition affect the particle number (PN) emissions and the particle number emission factors (PNEF)? (iv) What is the relative importance of particle transformation processes in affecting the PNCs? (v) What are important considerations for the dispersion modelling of nanoparticles? (vi) What is extent of exposure at TIs with respect to other locations in urban settings? (vii) What are the gaps in current knowledge on this topic where the future research should focus? We found that the accurate consideration of dynamic traffic flow features at TIs is essential for reliable estimates of PN emissions. Wind flow features at TIs are generally complex to generalise. Only a few field studies have monitored PNCs at TIs until now, reporting over an order of magnitude larger peak PNCs (0.7-5.4 × 105 cm-3) compared with average PNCs at typical roadsides (∼0.3 × 105 cm-3). The PN emission and thus the PNEFs can be up to an order of magnitude higher during acceleration compared with steady speed conditions. The time scale analysis suggests nucleation as the fastest transformation process, followed by dilution, deposition, coagulation and condensation. Consideration of appropriate flow features, PNEFs and transformation processes emerged as important parameters for reliable modelling of PNCs at TIs. Computation of respiratory deposition doses (RDD) based on the available PNC data suggest that the peak RDD at TIs can be up to 12-times higher compared with average RDD at urban roadsides. Systematic field and modelling studies are needed to develop a sound understanding of the emissions, dispersion and exposure of nanoparticles at the TIs.