Characterization of Spatial Air Pollution Patterns Near a Large Railyard Area in Atlanta, Georgia.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Railyards are important transportation hubs, and they are often situated near populated areas with high co-located density of manufacturing, freight movement and commercial enterprises. Emissions occurring within railyards can affect nearby air quality. To better understand the air pollution levels in proximity to a major railyard, an intensive mobile air monitoring study was conducted in May 2012 around a major railyard area in Atlanta, GA, constituted of two separate facilities situated side-by-side. A total of 19 multi-hour mobile monitoring sessions took place over different times of day, days of the week, and under a variety of wind conditions. High time resolution measurements included black carbon (BC), particle number concentration (PN), particle optical extinction (EXT), oxides of nitrogen (NO, NO₂, NOy), carbon monoxide (CO), and speciated air toxics. Urban background was estimated to contribute substantially (>70%) to EXT and CO, whereas BC, oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and toluene had comparably low background contributions (<30%). Mobile monitoring data were aggregated into 50 meter spatial medians by wind categories, with categories including low speed wind conditions (<0.5 m s-1) and, for wind speeds above that threshold, by wind direction relative to the railyard. Spatial medians of different pollutants measured had a wide range of correlation-gas-phase air toxics (benzene, toluene, acetaldehyde) had moderate correlation with each other (r = 0.46⁻0.59) and between toluene and CO (r = 0.53), but lower correlation for other pairings. PN had highest correlation with oxides of nitrogen (r = 0.55⁻0.66), followed by BC (r = 0.4), and lower correlation with other pollutants. Multivariate regression analysis on the full set of 50 m medians found BC and NO as having the strongest relationship to railyard emissions, in comparison to their respective background levels. This was indicated by an increase associated with transiting through the yard and inverse relationship with distance from the railyard; NO and BC decreased by a factor of approximately 0.5 and 0.7 over 1 km distance of the railyard boundary, respectively. Low speed, variable wind conditions were related to higher concentrations of all measured parameters.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Brantley, HL; Hagler, GSW; Herndon, SC; Massoli, P; Bergin, MH; Russell, AG

Published Date

  • February 13, 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 16 / 4

Start / End Page

  • E535 -

PubMed ID

  • 30781818

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC6407103

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1660-4601

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1661-7827

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.3390/ijerph16040535


  • eng