1.5 A Spatial Assessment of Urban Air Quality in a Growing City Using Innovative Portable Sensing Technologies

Wednesday, 13 January 2016: 11:30 AM
Room 228/229 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Grant R. McKercher, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX; and J. Vanos

With widespread growth of urban populations, the resulting increase in vehicle emissions and projections for warming temperatures may exacerbate human health issues related to air pollution in the Central/Southwest United States. Many cities in this region lack air pollution monitoring, thus, potential health hazards are unknown. The current study focuses on Lubbock, Texas (population of metro area 300,000+), where continuous air quality monitoring is nonexistent. Studies show that high concentrations of gaseous air pollutants, commonly present near roadways with heavy traffic, can contribute to respiratory and cardiovascular health problems. Evidence suggests that traditional impact assessments of roadway air quality (even in larger cities with numerous fixed-site sensors) lack the spatial and temporal resolution necessary for understanding the true exposure variability within a population at the individual level. This study employs a spatially innovative technique for accurate and low-cost air pollution monitoring with two goals: to improve upon current exposure monitoring practices and to test the feasibility of mobile monitoring in cities without a monitoring network in place. Furthermore, this study will address the new, far-reaching interest in utilizing smaller technologies and citizen participation for urban air quality monitoring.

A transportable enclosure consisting of air pollution and meteorological sensors will provide continuous fixed-site measurements throughout the late summer and fall months of 2015. Separately, a very small, low-cost sensor prototype (measuring ozone, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, volatile organic compounds, air temperature, relative humidity, and heat index) will be mounted on a bicycle to gather mobile observations in the surrounding local environments. A second, identical prototype will remain at the fixed-site. Using geospatial analyses to interpolate the fixed and mobile observations, urban air pollution concentrations will be mapped and analyzed at small scales.

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