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Influence of roadside hedgerows on air quality in urban street canyons

Atmospheric Environment


Understanding pollutant dispersion in the urban environment is an important aspect of providing solutions to reduce personal exposure to vehicle emissions. To this end, the dispersion of gaseous traffic pollutants in urban street canyons with roadside hedges was investigated. The study was performed in an atmospheric boundary layer wind tunnel using a reduced-scale (M = 1:150) canyon model with a street-width-to-building-height ratio of W/H = 2 and a street-length-to-building-height ratio of L/H = 10. Various hedge configurations of differing height, permeability and longitudinal segmentation (continuous over street length L or discontinuous with clearings) were investigated. Two arrangements were examined: (i) two eccentric hedgerows sidewise of the main traffic lanes and (ii) one central hedgerow between the main traffic lanes. In addition, selected configurations of low boundary walls, i.e. solid barriers, were examined. For a perpendicular approach wind and in the presence of continuous hedgerows, improvements in air quality in the center area of the street canyon were found in comparison to the hedge-free reference scenario. The pollutant reductions were greater for the central hedge arrangements than for the sidewise arrangements. Area-averaged reductions between 46 and 61% were observed at pedestrian head height level on the leeward side in front of the building for the centrally arranged hedges and between 18 and 39% for the two hedges arranged sidewise. Corresponding area averaged reductions ranging from 39 to 55% and from 1 to 20% were found at the bottom of the building facades on the leeward side. Improvements were also found in the areas at the lateral canyon ends next to the crossings for the central hedge arrangements. For the sidewise arrangements, increases in traffic pollutants were generally observed. However, since the concentrations in the end areas were considerably lower compared to those in the center area, an overall improvement remained for the street canyon. The configuration of a sidewise arranged discontinuous hedgerow resulted in general in area averaged increases in concentrations in the range of 3-19%. For a parallel approach wind, reduced concentrations of up to 30% at the facades and up to 60% at pedestrian level were measured with a sidewise continuous hedgerow arrangement. It is concluded that continuous hedgerows can effectively be employed to control concentrations of traffic pollutants in urban street canyons. They can advantageously affect the air quality at street level and can be a significant remedy to the pedestrians' and residents' exposure in the most polluted center area of a street canyon. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Author(s): Gromke, C; Jamarkattel, N; Ruck, B

Journal: Atmospheric Environment

Year: 2016