Fine particle emission factors from vehicles in a highway tunnel: Effects of fleet composition and season

Andrew P. Grieshop, Eric M. Lipsky, Natalie J. Pekney, Satoshi Takahama, Allen L. Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

151 Scopus citations


In-use, fuel-based motor vehicle emission factors were determined using measurements made in a highway tunnel in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Concentrations of PM2.5 mass, CO, CO2, and NOx were measured continuously. Filter-based measurements included PM2.5 mass, organic and elemental carbon (OC and EC), inorganic ions and metals. Fuel-based emission factors for each pollutant were calculated using a fuel-carbon balance. The weekday traffic volume and fleet composition varied in a consistent diurnal pattern with the estimated fraction of fuel consumed by heavy-duty diesel vehicle (HDDV) traffic ranging from 11% to 36%. The emission rate of most species showed a significant dependence on sample period. NOx, PM2.5, EC and OC emission factors were significantly larger during the early morning, truck-dominated period. Emissions of particulate metals associated with brake wear (Cu, Sb, Ba and potentially Ga) were emitted at higher rates during the rush-hour period, which is characterized by slower, stop-and-go traffic. Emission rates of crustal elements (Fe, Ca, Mg, Li), Zn and Mn were highest during the early-morning period when there was more heavy-truck traffic. A seasonal shift in average OC/EC ratio for the rush-hour period was observed; fall and summer OC/EC ratios are 1.0±0.6 and 0.26±0.06, respectively. Potential causes for this shift are increased partitioning of semi-volatile organic compounds into the gas phase during the summer months and/or effects of seasonal changes in fuel formulation. Emission factors for HDDV and light-duty vehicles (LDV) classes were estimated using a linear regression of emission factor as a function of fleet composition. The extrapolated emission factors generally agree with previously published measurements, though a substantial range in published values is noted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-298
Number of pages12
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue numberSUPPL. 2
StatePublished - 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Environmental Science
  • Atmospheric Science


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