Air flow and concentration fields at urban road intersections for improved understanding of personal exposure

Abhishek Tiwary, Alan Robins, Anil Namdeo, Margaret Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


This paper reviews the state of knowledge on modelling air flow and concentration fields at road intersections. The first part covers the available literature from the past two decades on experimental (both field and wind tunnel) and modelling activities in order to provide insight into the physical basis of flow behaviour at a typical cross-street intersection. This is followed by a review of associated investigations of the impact of traffic-generated localised turbulence on the concentration fields due to emissions from vehicles. There is a discussion on the role of adequate characterisation of vehicle-induced turbulence in making predictions using hybrid models, combining the merits of conventional approaches with information obtained from more detailed modelling. This concludes that, despite advancements in computational techniques, there are crucial knowledge gaps affecting the parameterisations used in current models for individual exposure. This is specifically relevant to the growing impetus on walking and cycling activities on urban roads in the context of current drives for sustainable transport and healthy living. Due to inherently longer travel times involved during such trips, compared to automotive transport, pedestrians and cyclists are subjected to higher levels of exposure to emissions. Current modelling tools seem to under-predict this exposure because of limitations in their design and in the empirical parameters employed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1005-1018
JournalEnvironment international
Issue number5
Early online date23 Mar 2011
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011


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