Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

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


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.

This is a preview of subscription content

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3


  1. US Environmental Protection Agency. National Air Quality: Status and Trends Through 2010. US EPA Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards. 2012 EPA-454/R-12-001.

  2. US Environmental Protection Agency. Cross-State Air Pollution Rule 2011 available from (accessed on 24 August 2011).

  3. Bachmann J . Air pollution forecasts and results-oriented tracking. Air Qual Atmos Health 2009; 1 (4): 203–207.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. US Environmental Protection Agency. Final Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) for the NO2 National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) 2010 available from (accessed on 27 September 2012).

  5. Brunekreef B, Holgate ST . Air pollution and health. Lancet 2002; 360 (9341): 1233–1242.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  6. Kappos AD, Bruckmann P, Eikmann T, Englert N, Heinrich U, Hoppe P et al Health effects of particles in ambient air. Int J Hyg Environ Health 2004; 207 (4): 399–407.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. Krewski D, Jerrett M, Burnett RT, Ma R, Hughes E, Shi Y et al Extended follow-up and spatial analysis of the American Cancer Society study linking particulate air pollution and mortality. Res Rep (Boston, MA) 2009; 140: 5–114 discussion 115–136.

    Google Scholar 

  8. National Research Council. Air Quality Management in the United States. The National Academies Press Washington, DC. 2004.

  9. Bell ML, Ebisu K, Peng RD . Community-level spatial heterogeneity of chemical constituent levels of fine particulates and implications for epidemiological research. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol 2011; 21 (4): 372–384.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. Brugge D, Durant JL, Rioux C . Near-highway pollutants in motor vehicle exhaust: a review of epidemiologic evidence of cardiac and pulmonary health risks. Environ Health 2007; 6: 23.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  11. McCreanor J, Cullinan P, Nieuwenhuijsen MJ, Stewart-Evans J, Malliarou E, Jarup L et al Respiratory effects of exposure to diesel traffic in persons with asthma. N Engl J Med 2007; 357 (23): 2348–2358.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. Rosenlund M, Picciotto S, Forastiere F, Stafoggia M, Perucci CA . Traffic-related air pollution in relation to incidence and prognosis of coronary heart disease. Epidemiology 2008; 19 (1): 121–128.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. New York City. PLANYC 2030; available from (accessed on 24 August 2011).

  14. Clougherty JE, Kheirbek I, Eisl HM, Ross Z, Pezeshki G, Gorczynski JE et al Intra-urban spatial variability in wintertime street-level concentrations of multiple combustion-related air pollutants: the New York City Community Air Survey (NYCCAS). JESEE, (in press).

  15. Hoek G, Beelen R, de Hoogh K, Vienneau D, Gulliver J, Fischer P et al A review of land-use regression models to assess spatial variation of outdoor air pollution. Atmos Environ 2008; 42 (33): 7561–7578.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Beelen R, Hoek G, Fischer P, van den Brandt PA, Brunekreef B . Estimated long-term outdoor air pollution concentrations in a cohort study. Atmos Environ 2007; 41 (7): 1343–1358.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Brauer M, Hoek G . Estimating long-term average particulate air pollution concentrations: application of traffic indicators and geographic information systems. Epidemiology 2003; 14 (2): 228–239.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  18. Henderson SB, Beckerman B, Jerrett M, Brauer M . Application of land use regression to estimate long-term concentrations of traffic-related nitrogen oxides and fine particulate matter. Environ Sci Technol 2007; 41: 2422–2428.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  19. Kanaroglou PS, Jerrett M, Morrison J, Beckerman B, Arain MA, Gilbert NL et al Establishing an air pollution monitoring network for intra-urban population exposure assessment: a location–allocation approach. Atmos Environ 2005; 39 (13): 2399–2409.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Lebret E, Briggs D, van Reeuwijk H, Fischer P, Smallbone K, Harssema H et al Small area variations in ambient NO2 concentrations in four European areas. Atmos Environ 2000; 34 (2): 177–185.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Bari A, Dutkiewicz VA, Judd CD, Wilson LR, Luttinger D, Husain L . Regional sources of particulate sulfate, SO2, PM2.5, HCl, and HNO3, in New York, NY. Atmos Environ 2003; 37 (20): 2837–2844.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Ross Z, Jerrett M, Ito K, Tempalski B, Thurston GD . A land use regression for predicting fine particulate matter concentrations in the New York City region. Atmos Environ 2007; 41 (11): 2255–2269.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  23. US Environmental Protection Agency. National Emissions Inventory Data and Documentation; available from (accessed on 24 August 2011).

  24. Ito K, Xue N, Thurston G . Spatial variation of PM2.5 chemical species and source-apportioned mass concentrations in New York City. Atmos Environ 2004; 38 (31): 5269–5282.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Thurston GD, Ito K, Mar T, Christensen WF, Eatough DJ, Henry RC et al Workgroup report: workshop on source apportionment of particulate matter health effects — intercomparison of results and implications. Environ Health Perspect 2005; 113 (12): 1768–1774.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  26. Peltier RE, Hsu SI, Lall R, Lippmann M . Residual oil combustion: a major source of airborne nickel in New York City. J Expos Sci Environ Epidemiol 2009; 19 (6): 603–612.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Peltier RE, Lippmann M . Residual oil combustion: distributions of airborne nickel and vanadium within New York City. J Expos Sci Environ Epidemiol 2010; 20 (4): 342–350.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  28. US Environmental Protection Agency. Report to Congress on Black Carbon, Environmental Protection Agency, EPA-450/R-12-001 2012 Chapter 4, p87.

  29. Cyrys J, Heinrich J, Hoek G, Meliefste K, Lewné M, Gehring U et al Comparison between different traffic-related particle indicators: elemental carbon (EC), PM2.5 mass, and absorbance. J Exp Anal Environ Epidemiol 2003; 13 (2): 134–143.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Lena TS, Ochieng V, Carter M, HolguÃn-Veras J, Kinney PL . Elemental carbon and PM(2.5)levels in an urban community heavily impacted by truck traffic. Environ Health Perspect 2002; 110 (10): 1009–1015.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  31. Gilbert NL, Goldberg MS, Beckerman B, Brook JR, Jerrett M . Assessing spatial variability of ambient nitrogen dioxide in Montreal, Canada, with a land-use regression model. J Air Waste Manag Assoc 2005; 55 (8): 1059–1063.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  32. Ross Z, English PB, Scalf R, Gunier R, Smorodinsky S, Wall S et al Nitrogen dioxide prediction in Southern California using land use regression modeling: potential for environmental health analyses. J Expos Sci Environ Epidemiol 2006; 16 (2): 106–114.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Thoma ED, Shores RD, Isakov V, Baldauf RW . Characterization of near-road pollutant gradients using path-integrated optical remote sensing. J Air Waste Manag Assoc 2008; 58 (7): 879–890.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  34. US Environmental Protection Agency. Air Quality Criteria for Ozone and Related Photochemical Oxidants (2006 Final). US Environmental Protection Agency Washington, DC. 2006 EPA/600/R-05/004aF-cF.

  35. Brauer M, Henderson SB, Marshall J . A land use regression road map for the burrard inlet area local air quality study. 2006 available from (accessed on 27 September 2012).

  36. Ostro B, Kim JJ . Traffic pollution and children’s health: refining estimates of exposure for the East Bay Children’s Respiratory Health Study. California Air Resources Board. Final report: Contract Number 03-327, 2010; available from (accessed on 14 November 2011).

  37. Durant JL, Ash CA, Wood EC, Herndon SC, Jayne JT, Knighton WB et al Short-term variation in near-highway air pollutant gradients on a winter morning. Atmos Chem Phys 2010; 10 (17): 8341–8352.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  38. New York Metropolitan Transportation Council. General Final Report: New York Best Practice Model, Parsons, Brinckerhoff, Quade & Doublas 2005.

  39. New York City. BYTES of the BIG APPLE — New York City Department of City Planning 2008 available from (accessed on 24 August 2011).

  40. Ito K, Thurston GD, Silverman RA . Characterization of PM2.5, gaseous pollutants, and meteorological interactions in the context of time-series health effects models. J Expos Sci Environ Epidemiol 2007; 17 (Suppl 2): S45–S60.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Ogawa & Co., USA Protocol for Ozone Measurement Using the Ozone Passive Sampler Badge, Revision 3 2001 available from (accessed on 27 September 2012).

  42. Ogawa & Co., USA. NO, NO2, NOx and SO2 Sampling Protocol Using the Ogawa Sampler, V6.06 2008 available from

  43. RTI International. Standard Operating Procedure for Particulate Matter (PM) Gravimetric Analysis, Revision 9. Environmental and Industrial Sciences Division Research Triangle Park, NC. 2008 available from (accessed on 27 September 2012).

  44. International Organization for Standardization. ISO 9835, Ambient Air — Determination of a Black Smoke Index. International Organization for Standardization. 1993.

  45. DRI Standard Operating Procedure, X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) Analysis of Aerosol Filter Samples (PANalytical Epsilon 5), DRI SOP #2-209r3 2007 Reno, NV.

  46. Karner AA, Eisinger DS, Niemeier DA . Near-roadway air quality: synthesizing the findings from real-world data. Environ Sci Technol 2010; 44: 5334–5344.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  47. Kinney PL, Aggarwal M, Northridge ME, Janssen NA, Shepard P . Airborne concentrations of PM(2.5) and diesel exhaust particles on Harlem sidewalks: a community-based pilot study. Environ Health Perspect 2000; 108 (3): 213–218.

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  48. Maciejczyk PB, Offenberg JH, Clemente J, Blaustein M, Thurston GD, Chi CL . Ambient pollutant concentrations measured by a mobile laboratory in South Bronx, NY. Atmos Environ 2004; 38 (31): 5283–5294.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  49. US Environmental Protection Agency. Guidance on the Use of Models and Other Analyses for Demonstrating Attainment of Air Quality Goals for Ozone, PM2.5, and Regional Haze Standards. US Environmental Protection Agency Research Triangle Park, NC. 2007 EPA-454/B-07-002.

  50. Cohan DS, Boylan JW, Marmur A, Khan MN . An integrated framework for multipollutant air quality management and its application in Georgia. Environ Manage 2007; 40 (4): 545–554.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  51. Wesson K, Fann N, Morris M, Fox T, Hubbell B . A multi-pollutant, risk-based approach to air quality management: case study for Detroit. Atmos Pollut Res 2010, 296–304.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  52. New York City. Promulgation of Amendments to Chapter 2 of Title 15 of the Rules of the City of New York Rules Governing the Emissions from the Use of #4 and #6 Fuel Oil in Heat and Hot Water Boilers and Burners. NYC Department of Environmental Protection 2011 available from (accessed on 24 August 2011).

Download references


We are grateful to Michael Brauer, Michael Jerrett, Jonathan Levy, George Thurston, Andrew Darrell, Patrick Kinney and Lance Waller for comments and suggestions made the initial goals and design of the NYCCAS program. We thank Alyssa Benson, Andres Camacho, Jordan Werbe-Fuentes, Jonah Haviland-Markowitz, Rolando Munoz and Anna Tilles for their dedicated field work as well as J. Bryan Jacobson and Hollie Kitson for assistance with data management and analysis. We also thank Carter Strickland and Kizzy Charles-Guzman for their input on public dissemination of NYCCAS results. Janice Kim, Bart Ostro and Michael Jerrett generously made available data from prior studies to inform the NYCCAS sample size evaluation. This work was supported entirely by City of New York tax levy funds.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Thomas D Matte.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Matte, T., Ross, Z., Kheirbek, I. et al. Monitoring intraurban spatial patterns of multiple combustion air pollutants in New York City: Design and implementation. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol 23, 223–231 (2013).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


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

Further reading


Quick links