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Evolution of traffic flows and traffic induced air pollution due to structural changes and development during 1993-2006 in Tartu (Estonia)
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
2008 (English)In: Baltic journal of road and bridge engineering, ISSN 1822-427X, Vol. 3, no 4, 206-212 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Traffic is the main factor affecting air quality in most cities. After the Estonian re-independence in 1991, the increase of motorization has been fast and car usage has intensified. During the same period, the average age of cars has decreased and thanks to improvements in engine technology, the emissions per km have been reduced. The objective was to see how these factors have reflected in air quality. This paper also aim to present an analytical approach to estimate the air pollution levels in recent years, when air quality monitoring has not been conducted, and available traffic data are limited. Based on traffic counts in 25 points across the city the amounts of traffic were modelled for 680 street segments with CUBE software. As air quality is monitored irregularly in Tartu, dispersion modelling was used to estimate pollution levels. Annual concentrations of exhaust particles (PMexhaust), particulate matter (PM10) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) in 1993, 2000 and 2006 were calculated with AEROPOL software. The traffic increase in the city centre of Tartu was especially rapid in the 1990s. In recent years, it has slowed due to congestion. Overall, traffic levels have increased more than 3 times since 1993. In residential areas, the increase is still rapid – up to 6 times from 1993 to 2006. However, the changes in air quality are less dramatic. Increases from 1993 to 2000 were followed by stable or slightly increasing pollution levels in recent years, especially in case of PMexhaust. The study showed that 2 factors, namely, increase of traffic and improvement of vehicles, have been compensating each other in the dynamics of air pollution.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 3, no 4, 206-212 p.
Keyword [en]
traffic, flow, modelling, air pollution, emission coefficient, exposure, health
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-20774OAI: diva2:209528
Available from: 2009-03-25 Created: 2009-03-25 Last updated: 2015-04-02Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Exposure to particulate matter and the related health impacts in major Estonian cities
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exposure to particulate matter and the related health impacts in major Estonian cities
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Particulate matter (PM) is one of the most studied and problematic pollutants due to its toxicity and relati­vely high concentrations. This thesis aims to clarify the main sources and exposures of PM in Tallinn and Tartu, study the associations with health effects, and estimate the extent of those effects with health impact assessment (HIA).

It appeared that the main sources of particulate air pollution in Tallinn (the capital of Estonia) and Tartu (the second largest city of Estonia) are local heating and traffic, inclu­ding road dust. In addition to local emissions, particulate levels are affected by transboundary pollution. If the transboundary air masses originated from the Eastern European areas, the concentration as well as the oxidative capacity of fine particles was significantly higher in urban background air in Tartu compared to air masses coming from Scandinavian areas (Paper I).

During the last 15 years, traffic increase has been very fast in Tartu. However, due to the improvement in vehicle technology during this period, there has been only a slight increase in concentration of exhaust particles (Paper II). Nevertheless, a greater increase in road dust emissions was detected.

A statistically significant relationship between long-term exposure to those traffic induced par­tic­les and cardiac disease in the RHINE (Respiratory Health in Northern Europe) Tartu cohort was shown (Paper III). However, no significant associations with respira­tory health were found.

The HIA in Tallinn demonstrated 296 (95% CI = 76–528) premature deaths annually, because of PM (Paper IV). The average decrease in life expectancy was predicted to be 0.64 (95% CI 0.17–1.10) years. However, among risk groups it can be higher. In addi­tion, several cardiovascular hospitalizations are related. The costs to society be­cause of health effects reach up to €150 million annually (95% CI = 40–260) from pre­mature deaths and hospitali­zation constitute an additional €0.3 million (95% CI = 0.2–0.4).

The special HIA scenario, when more pollution fuel peat will be used in boiler houses was analysed as well (Paper V). It indicated that peat bur­ning would result in up to 55.5 YLL per year within the population of Tartu. However, the health effects of pollution from current traffic, local heating, and industry are at least 28 times bigger.

In conclusion, exposure to PM cause considerable health effects in the form of cardio­pulmo­nary diseases in main Estonian cities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå University, 2009. 68 p.
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1314
Particulate matter, traffic, health impact assessment, cardiopulmonary
National Category
Environmental Health and Occupational Health
Research subject
Occupational and Environmental Medicine
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-29769 (URN)978-91-7264-905-7 (ISBN)
External cooperation:
Public defence
2009-12-15, Sal B, 1D NUS 9tr, Umeå University, 09:00 (English)
Available from: 2009-11-26 Created: 2009-11-23 Last updated: 2016-09-01Bibliographically approved

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