Airborne particle number concentrations and size distributions as well as CO and NOx concentrations monitored at a site within the central business district of Brisbane, Australia were correlated with the traffic flow rate on a nearby freeway with the aim of investigating differences between weekday and weekend pollutant characteristics. Observations over a 5-year monitoring period showed that the mean number particle concentration on weekdays was (8.8±0.1)×10³ cm⁻³ and on weekends (5.9±0.2)×10³ cm⁻³—a difference of 47%. The corresponding mean particle number median diameters during weekdays and weekends were 44.2±0.3 and 50.2±0.2 nm, respectively. The differences in mean particle number concentration and size between weekdays and weekends were found to be statistically significant at confidence levels of over 99%. During a 1-year period of observation, the mean traffic flow rate on the freeway was 14.2×10⁴ and 9.6×10⁴ vehicles per weekday and weekend day, respectively—a difference of 48%. The mean diurnal variations of the particle number and the gaseous concentrations closely followed the traffic flow rate on both weekdays and weekends (correlation coefficient of 0.86 for particles). The overall conclusion, as to the effect of traffic on concentration levels of pollutant concentration in the vicinity of a major road (about 100 m) carrying traffic of the order of 10⁵ vehicles per day, is that about a 50% increase in traffic flow rate results in similar increases of CO and NOx concentrations and a higher increase of about 70% in particle number concentration.
Atmospheric Environment Vol. 36, Issue 27, p. 4375-4383