Original Article

Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology (2013) 23, 223–231; doi:10.1038/jes.2012.126; published online 16 January 2013

Monitoring intraurban spatial patterns of multiple combustion air pollutants in New York City: Design and implementation

Thomas D Matte1, Zev Ross2, Iyad Kheirbek1, Holger Eisl3, Sarah Johnson1, John E Gorczynski3, Daniel Kass1, Steven Markowitz3, Grant Pezeshki1 and Jane E Clougherty4

  1. 1New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, New York, New York, USA
  2. 2ZevRoss Spatial Analysis, Ithaca, New York, USA
  3. 3Center for the Biology of Natural Systems, Queens College, Flushing, New York, USA
  4. 4University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Correspondence: Dr. Thomas D. Matte, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Bureua of Environmental Surveillance and Policy, 125 Worth Street, CN 34E, Room 326, New York, NY 10013, USA. Tel.: +1 212 788 1219. Fax: +1 212 788 5380. E-mail: tmatte@health.nyc.gov

Received 19 December 2011; Accepted 15 October 2012
Advance online publication 16 January 2013



Routine air monitoring provides data to assess urban scale temporal variation in pollution concentrations in relation to regulatory standards, but is not well suited to characterizing intraurban spatial variation in pollutant concentrations from local sources. To address these limitations and inform local control strategies, New York City developed a program to track spatial patterns of multiple air pollutants in each season of the year. Monitor locations include 150 distributed street-level sites chosen to represent a range of traffic, land-use and other characteristics. Integrated samples are collected at each distributed site for one 2-week session each season and in every 2-week period at five reference locations to track city-wide temporal variation. Pollutants sampled include PM2.5 and constituents, nitrogen oxides, black carbon, ozone (summer only) and sulfur dioxide (winter only). During the first full year of monitoring more than 95% of designed samples were completed. Agreement between colocated samples was good (absolute mean % difference 3.2–8.9%). Street-level pollutant concentrations spanned a much greater range than did concentrations at regulatory monitors, especially for oxides of nitrogen and sulfur dioxide. Monitoring to characterize intraurban spatial gradients in ambient pollution usefully complements regulatory monitoring data to inform local air quality management.


urban air pollution; fine particles (PM2.5) nitrogen oxides; sulfur dioxide; ozone; spatial variability