Intra-urban spatial variability in wintertime street-level concentrations of multiple combustion-related air pollutants: the New York City Community Air Survey (NYCCAS)

J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. May-Jun 2013;23(3):232-40. doi: 10.1038/jes.2012.125. Epub 2013 Jan 30.


Although intra-urban air pollution differs by season, few monitoring networks provide adequate geographic density and year-round coverage to fully characterize seasonal patterns. Here, we report winter intra-urban monitoring and land-use regression (LUR) results from the New York City Community Air Survey (NYCCAS). Two-week integrated samples of fine particles (PM(2.5)), black carbon (BC), nitrogen oxides (NO(x)) and sulfur dioxide (SO(2)) were collected at 155 city-wide street-level locations during winter 2008-2009. Sites were selected using stratified random sampling, randomized across sampling sessions to minimize spatio-temporal confounding. LUR was used to identify GIS-based source indicators associated with higher concentrations. Prediction surfaces were produced using kriging with external drift. Each pollutant varied twofold or more across sites, with higher concentrations near midtown Manhattan. All pollutants were positively correlated, particularly PM(2.5) and BC (Spearman's r=0.84). Density of oil-burning boilers, total and truck traffic density, and temporality explained 84% of PM(2.5) variation. Densities of total traffic, truck traffic, oil-burning boilers and industrial space, with temporality, explained 65% of BC variation. Temporality, built space, bus route location, and traffic density described 67% of nitrogen dioxide variation. Residual oil-burning units, nighttime population and temporality explained 77% of SO(2) variation. Spatial variation in combustion-related pollutants in New York City was strongly associated with oil-burning and traffic density. Chronic exposure disparities and unique local sources can be identified through year-round saturation monitoring.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Data Collection
  • New York City
  • Seasons*
  • Urban Population*


  • Air Pollutants