Assessing population exposures to motor vehicle exhaust

Chris Van Atten, Michael Brauer, Tami Funk, Nicolas L. Gilbert, Lisa Graham, Debra Kaden, Paul J. Miller, Leonora Rojas Bracho, Amanda Wheeler, Ronald H. White, Jeffrey Brook, Timothy Buckley, Verónica Garibay Bravo, Fernando Holguin, Hortencia Moreno-Macias, Alvaro R.Osornio Vargas, Matiana Ramírez Aguilar, Iris Xiaohong Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The need is growing for a better assessment of population exposures to motor vehicle exhaust in proximity to major roads and highways. This need is driven in part by emerging scientific evidence of adverse health effects from such exposures and policy requirements for a more targeted assessment of localized public health impacts related to road expansions and increasing commercial transportation. The momentum for improved methods in measuring local exposures is also growing in the scientific community, as well as for discerning which constituents of the vehicle exhaust mixture may exert greater public health risks for those who are exposed to a disproportionate share of roadway pollution. To help elucidate the current state-of-the-science in exposure assessments along major roadways and to help inform decision makers of research needs and trends, we provide an overview of the emerging policy requirements, along with a conceptual framework for assessing exposure to motor-vehicle exhaust that can help inform policy decisions. The framework includes the pathway from the emission of a single vehicle, traffic emissions from multiple vehicles, atmospheric transformation of emissions and interaction with topographic and meteorologic features, and contact with humans resulting in exposure that can result in adverse health impacts. We describe the individual elements within the conceptual framework for exposure assessment and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of various approaches that have been used to assess public exposures to motor vehicle exhaust.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-214
Number of pages20
JournalReviews on Environmental Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2005


  • Air pollution
  • Diesel
  • Epidemiology
  • Exposure assessment
  • Traffic
  • Vehicle exhaust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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