The exposure of cyclists, car drivers and pedestrians to traffic-related air pollutants

  • Joop H. van Wijnen
  • Arnoud P. Verhoeff
  • Henk W. A. Jans
  • Mark van Bruggen
Original Article


Volunteers provided with personal air sampling (PAS) equipment covered concurrently, by car or bicycle, various selected routes. These comprised two inner city routes in Amsterdam (ICR 1 and 2) as well as a route including a tunnel on a busy highway (TR) and a rural route just south of Amsterdam (RR). A third inner city route, a busy narrow street, was subsequently also selected, and covered by bicycle or walking (ICR 3). Each run lasted about 1 h; the sampling time on the TR route was approximately 30min. The sampling periods in January and May lasted 2 weeks with four sampling days per week. In August only ICR 3 was covered, this sampling period lasted 2 days. CO, NO2, benzene, toluene and xylenes were measured in the personal air samples. A monitoring vehicle covered the routes concurrently and measured CO, NO2 and pm10 (semi) continuously. Lead and PAH content in pm10 was determined. The ventilation of the volunteers was measured while they were using a car or a bicycle. The route and the type of transport influenced (P < 0.001) the concentrations of CO, benzene, toluene and xylenes. The daily average temperature was positively associated with the exposure of car drivers and cyclists to most compounds measured. A volunteer exhaled on average 2.3 times more air as a cyclist than as a car driver. Despite the much higher concentrations in the personal air samples of car drivers, the uptake of CO, benzene, toluene and xylenes of cyclists sometimes approached that of the car drivers. The uptake of NO2 of cyclists was clearly higher than that of car drivers.

Key words

Air pollution Motorised traffic Road users Personal exposure 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Adriaanse A (1990) Information on the environment, The Netherlands (in Dutch). Ministry of Housing, Physical Planning and Environment, Den HaagGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bevan MAJ, Proctor CJ, Baker-Rogers J, Warren ND (1991) Exposure to carbon monoxide, respirable suspended particulates and volatile organic compounds while commuting by bicycle. Environ Sci Technol 25:788–791Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Brice R, Roessler J (1966) The exposure to CO of occupants of vehicles moving in heavy traffic. J Air Pollut Control Assoc 16:597–600Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    CBS (1986) Statistics on the environment. Air pollution, emissions by the motorized traffic 1978–1984 (in Dutch). SDU Den HaagGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Chan CC, Özkaynak H, Spengler JD, Sheldon L (1991a) Driver exposure to volatile organic compounds, CO, ozone, and NO2 under different driving conditions. Environ Sci Technol 25:964–972Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Chan CC, Spengler JD, Ozkaynak H, Lefkopoulou M (1991b) Commuter exposures to VOCs in Boston, Massachusetts. J Air Waste Manage Assoc 41:1594–1600Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Chaney LW (1978) Carbon monoxide automobile emissions measured from the interior of a traveling automobile. Science 199:1203–1204Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Colwill D, Hickman A (1980) Exposure of drivers to carbon monoxide. J Air Pollut Control Assoc 30:1316–1319Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Eerens HC, Leeuw FRAM de, Onderdelinden D (1988) Role of motorised traffic in the ambient air contamination in The Netherlands (in Dutch). Milieu 4:98–104Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Fong N (1981) Determination of NO en NO2 concentrations in moving vehicles (in Dutch). IMG-TNO, DelftGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    IARC (1989) Monographs on the evaluation of carcinogenic risks to humans; diesel and gasoline exhausts and some nitroarenes. WHO/IARC, vol 46, LyonGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Liu CS, Shikiya D, Kahn MI, Juarros J (1989) In-vehicle air toxics characterization study in the Los Angeles region of California. In: Brasser LJ, Muder WC (eds) Proc. of the 8th World Clean Air Congress, The Hague, The Netherlands, vol 1. Elsevier Science, Amsterdam, pp 247–252Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Rudolf W (1982) Air quality inside cars compared to that on stationary sampling stations (in German). Verlag TUV Rheinland, FrankfurtGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Rudolf W (1986) Horizontal gradients in city streets. In: Muller H (ed) Cooperation between The Netherlands and the Federal Republic of Germany on air pollution problems. Measurements of automotive emissions. RIVM/UBA: 101–107, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Saltzmann BE (1954) Colorimetric microdetermination of nitrogen dioxide in the atmosphere. Anal Chem 26:1949Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Tonkelaar WAM Den, Tuin J van der (1983) In-vehicle air pollution. Investigation of the exposure of car drivers (in Dutch). Report G 995, IMG-TNO, DelftGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Tonkelaar WAM Den (1986) Air pollution by the motorised traffic (in Dutch). Report p 86/37, MT-TNO DelftGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Vrijkotte T (1990) Ventilation and heart rate in the urban traffic. Vrije Universiteit, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    WHO (1992) Motor vehicle air pollution. In: Madge DT, Zali O (eds) Public health impact and control measures. WHO/PEP/92.4, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    WHO (1987) Air quality guidelines for Europe. WHO Regional Publications, European Series No. 23, CopenhagenGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Willey MA, McCammon CS, Deomeney LJ (1977) A solid sorbent personal sampling method for the simultaneous collection of nitrogen dioxide and nitric oxide in air. Am Ind Hyg Assoc J 38:358–363Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joop H. van Wijnen
    • 1
  • Arnoud P. Verhoeff
    • 1
  • Henk W. A. Jans
    • 2
  • Mark van Bruggen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental MedicineMunicipal Health ServiceAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Environmental MedicinePublic Health Services Brabant/ZeelandBredaThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations