Exposure to ultrafine particles and PM2.5 in four Sydney transport modes

Luke D. Knibbs*, Richard J. de Dear

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

74 Citations (Scopus)


Concentrations of ultrafine (<0.1 μm) particles (UFPs) and PM2.5 (<2.5 μm) were measured whilst commuting along a similar route by train, bus, ferry and automobile in Sydney, Australia. One trip on each transport mode was undertaken during both morning and evening peak hours throughout a working week, for a total of 40 trips. Analyses comprised one-way ANOVA to compare overall (i.e. all trips combined) geometric mean concentrations of both particle fractions measured across transport modes, and assessment of both the correlation between wind speed and individual trip means of UFPs and PM2.5, and the correlation between the two particle fractions. Overall geometric mean concentrations of UFPs and PM2.5 ranged from 2.8 (train) to 8.4 (bus) × 104 particles cm-3 and 22.6 (automobile) to 29.6 (bus) μg m-3, respectively, and a statistically significant difference (p < 0.001) between modes was found for both particle fractions. Individual trip geometric mean concentrations were between 9.7 × 103 (train) and 2.2 × 105 (bus) particles cm-3 and 9.5 (train) to 78.7 (train) μg m-3. Estimated commuter exposures were variable, and the highest return trip mean PM2.5 exposure occurred in the ferry mode, whilst the highest UFP exposure occurred during bus trips. The correlation between fractions was generally poor, and in keeping with the duality of particle mass and number emissions in vehicle-dominated urban areas. Wind speed was negatively correlated with, and a generally poor determinant of, UFP and PM2.5 concentrations, suggesting a more significant role for other factors in determining commuter exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3224-3227
Number of pages4
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number26
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010

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