Modelling the Dynamics of Traffic Congestion and Urban Air Pollution Hot Spots

MIT Study devises new algorithm to predict traffic patterns (Becca DeGregorio, The Daily Free Press, Nov. 13, 2014)

Also discussed here: Understanding Road Usage Patterns in Urban Areas (6 page pdf, Pu Wang, Timothy Hunter, Alexandre M. Bayen, Katja Schechtner & Marta C. Gonzalez, Scientific Reports, Nature, Dec. 20, 2012)

And here: Phone data helps pinpoint source of traffic congestion (On Balance, Dept. Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Jan. 2013)

And here:

(48 sec You-Tube, Marta Gonzalez, Dec. 8, 2013)

And here: Gridlock Traced to Just a Few Key Commuters (Rocket News, Dec. 21, 2012)

Today we review research from MIT aimed at diagnosing the dynamics of traffic congestion using mobile phone records and population and origin-destination statistics to identify key congested road segments that lead to major congestion across major cities such as San Francisco and Boston. These congested areas rapidly lead to high levels of pollution that affect the entire urban area which puts both drivers and others such as cyclists who use the roads at risk to their health. Better design of the road network and method to reduce traffic peaks such as congestion pricing are offered as solutions.

traffic congestion

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE


Sharpening the Spatial Resolution of Exposure to Particulate Matter

Spatio-temporal modeling of particulate air pollution in the conterminous United States using geographic and meteorological predictors (34 page pdf, Jeff D Yanosky, Christopher J Paciorek, Francine Laden, Jaime E Hart, Robin C Puett, Duanping Liao and Helen H Suh, Environmental Health, Aug. 5, 2014)

Today we review a paper describing how a statistical model can be used to provide the necessary spatial detail on the exposure to particulate matter. Knowing this is especially important near major roads in urban areas where there is a high volume of diesel powered vehicles which emit PM2.5 and where the distance from the emission sources to where people live or work is critical. The authors show examples of the mapping for cities such as New York as well as across the USA.

high resolution PM in NYC

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE

Atmospheric Energy Imbalances and Climate Change

Energy and Climate – Dr Kevin E Trenberth(Royal Meteorological Society, Feb, 2013)

Also discussed here:
(NCAR, Apr. 14, 2010)

And here:
Surface Energy Budget of Central Canada(194 pages, William Pugsley. Publication in Meteorology #96, Arctic Meteorology Research Group. Dept of Meteorology, McGill University, Montreal, PQ, Sep. 1970)
Today we review a topic close to my heart and the subject of my MSc thesis 40 years ago- the flows of energy and radiation in the atmosphere and with the earth’s and ocean surface. Dr Trenberth suggests that the balance that existed between outgoing and incoming radiation has changed recently with an unexplained or missing amount of energy that may be stored or accumulating in the deep ocean. He calls for better global atmospheric-oceanic modeling to account for this and to better anticipate the net impact that carbon fuel use has on atmospheric warming and climate change – which, as we have seen from previous posts, mainly affect people and their health in cities.

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE

How Does Waste Heat from MegaCities Affect the Global Atmospheric Circulation?

Energy consumption and the unexplained winter warming over northern Asia and North America(5 Page pdf, Guang J. Zhang, Ming Cai and Aixue Hu, Nature Climate Change, Jan 27, 2013)

Also discussed here: Cities change temperatures for thousands of miles(UCAR ATMOS News, Jan. 27, 2013)

And here: City heat affects temperatures 1,000 miles away(The Times of India, Jan. 28, 2013)

Today we review global climate modeling research that examined the contribution of the waste heat produced by buildings and vehicle emissions in very large cities. Although this heat is small compared to the warming from greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere for the entire world, the model simulations reveal large changes in the regional circulation near these cities which may intensify local weather events such as droughts or extreme storms.


To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE

Top 10 Posts for 2012 on Pollution Free Cities-WordPress Edition

At year end, bloggers sometimes look back at their posts to see which ones were the most popular- and I did just that with the list of links clipped below, in case you want to revisit any of them. There continues to be interest in pollution free cities such as Masdar City in the United Arab Emirates and advances being made to reduce or eliminate energy consumption, traffic congestion, pollution (including noise) in cities, along with an ongoing interest in the health impacts of all this. Perhaps surprising is that only one post in the last year was as popular as the older posts- the one on GEO Medicine and accumulated exposure to air pollution over a lifetime.

Masdar City – zero carbon, zero waste

Health Effects of Noise

Low and Zero Energy Buildings (ZEB)

Global Health Impact of Air, Land and Water Pollution

Managing Urban Noise

Traffic-Related Air Pollution Literature Review

The Cleanest (and Dirtiest) Cities in the World

Health Effects of Air Pollution from Motor Vehicles

Impact of Traffic Air Pollution on Health in Toronto

GEO Medicine and Lifetime Exposure to Poor Air Quality

Health and Urban Poverty

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Mapping Urban Greenhouse Gases down to the Street Level

Quantification of Fossil Fuel CO2 Emissions on the Building/Street Scale for a Large U.S. City(Abstract, Kevin R. Gurney, Igor Razlivanov, Yang Song, Yuyu Zhou, Bedrich Benes, and Michel Abdul-Massih, Environ. Sci. Technol., Aug. 15, 2012)

Also discussed here: Greenhouse Gas Emissions Mapped to Building, Street Level for U.S. Cities(ScienceDaily, Oct. 9, 2012)

Today we review research aimed at mapping greenhouse gases in cities down to the scale of streets using a variety of surface data which in turn permits agencies to monitor and identify sources of emission across the urban landscape. This “ground” data is to be used in conjunction with a satellite to ne lanced in 2013 that will permit the implementation of effective greenhouse gas legislation at ultimately the global level.

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE

What is the Future of Air Pollution Globally?

Effects of business-as-usual anthropogenic emissions on air quality(23 page pdf, A. Pozzer, P. Zimmermann, U.M. Doering, J. van Aardenne, H. Tost, F. Dentener, G. Janssens-Maenhout and J. Lelieveld, Journal of Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Aug. 1, 2012)

Also discussed here: Air Pollution Worsening Worldwide: Cut Emissions Further, Experts Urge(ScienceDaily, Jul. 31, 2012)

Today we review a paper that looks at the state of air quality globally for the next 40 years, using an index that represents the five major pollutants and a global circulation model to produce scenarios into the future if we continue with “business as usual” policies. These scenarios show that countries and large cities with the worst widespread pollution (in Indo-Asia, the Middle East and North Africa) will not surprisingly deteriorate. The rest of the world’s state of pollution will worsen on average to what we see today in East Asia with the negative health results and enhanced anthropogenic climate change that this implies. Clearly improved atmospheric environmental policy is called for in almost all countries.

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports abut this post, click HERE


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