Modeling particle number concentrations along Interstate 10 in El Paso, Texas

Hector A. Olvera, Omar Jimenez, Elias Provencio-Vasquez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Annual average daily particle number concentrations around a highway were estimated with an atmospheric dispersion model and a land use regression model. The dispersion model was used to estimate particle concentrations along Interstate 10 at 98 locations within El Paso, Texas. This model employed annual averaged wind speed and annual average daily traffic counts as inputs. A land use regression model with vehicle kilometers traveled as the predictor variable was used to estimate local background concentrations away from the highway to adjust the near-highway concentration estimates. Estimated particle number concentrations ranged between 9.8 × 103 particles/cc and 1.3 × 105 particles/cc, and averaged 2.5 × 104 particles/cc (SE 421.0). Estimates were compared against values measured at seven sites located along I10 throughout the region. The average fractional error was 6% and ranged between -1% and -13% across sites. The largest bias of -13% was observed at a semi-rural site where traffic was lowest. The average bias amongst urban sites was 5%. The accuracy of the estimates depended primarily on the emission factor and the adjustment to local background conditions. An emission factor of 1.63 × 1014 particles/veh-km was based on a value proposed in the literature and adjusted with local measurements. The integration of the two modeling techniques ensured that the particle number concentrations estimates captured the impact of traffic along both the highway and arterial roadways. The performance and economical aspects of the two modeling techniques used in this study shows that producing particle concentration surfaces along major roadways would be feasible in urban regions where traffic and meteorological data are readily available.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)581-590
Number of pages10
JournalAtmospheric Environment
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Dispersion model
  • Land use regression
  • US-Mexico border
  • Ultrafine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Atmospheric Science


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