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Measuring neighbourhood air pollution: the case of Seattle's international district


  • Alon Bassok
  • Phil Hurvitz
  • C.-H. Christine Bae
  • Timothy Larson


Current US regulatory air quality monitoring networks measure ambient levels of pollutants and cannot capture the effects of mobile sources at the micro-scale. Despite the fact that overall air quality has been getting better, more vulnerable populations (children, the elderly, minorities and the poor) continue to suffer from traffic-related air pollution. As development intensifies in urban areas, more people are exposed to road-related air pollution. However, the only consideration given to air quality, if any, is based on ambient measures. This paper uses an inexpensive, portable Particle Soot Absorption Photometer (PSAP) to measure Black Carbon (BC) emissions, a surrogate for diesel fuels emissions, in Seattle's International District. With the aid of a GPS receiver, street-level BC data were geocoded in real space-time. It was found that pollution levels differed substantially across the study area. The results show the need for street-level air pollution monitoring, revisions in current land use and transportation policies, and air quality planning practice.

Suggested Citation

  • Alon Bassok & Phil Hurvitz & C.-H. Christine Bae & Timothy Larson, 2010. "Measuring neighbourhood air pollution: the case of Seattle's international district," Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 53(1), pages 23-39.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jenpmg:v:53:y:2010:i:1:p:23-39
    DOI: 10.1080/09640560903399640

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