Urban Ultrafine Particle Exposure Assessment with Land-Use Regression: Influence of Sampling Strategy

Environ Sci Technol. 2019 Jul 2;53(13):7326-7336. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.9b02086. Epub 2019 Jun 11.


Sampling strategies in the collection of ultrafine particle (UFP) data to develop land-use regression (LUR) models can strongly influence the resulting exposure estimates. Here, we systematically examine how much sampling is needed to develop robust and stable UFP LUR models. To address this question, we collected 3-6 weeks of continuous measurements of UFP concentrations at 32 sites in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania covering a wide range of urban land-use attributes. Through systematic subsampling of this data set, we evaluate the performance of hundreds of LUR models with varying numbers of sampling days and daily sampling durations. Our base LUR model derived from wintertime average concentrations explained about 80% of the spatial variability in the data (adjusted R2 ∼ 0.8). The performance of the LUR models degrades with decreasing number of sampling days and sampling duration per day. For our data set, 1-3 h of sampling per day for 10-15 days provided UFP concentration estimates comparable to models derived from the entire data set. Small numbers of repeated sampling per site (1-3 days) at short duration (∼15-60 min per day) result in poor performance ( R2 < 0.5), similar to previous UFP LUR models. This study provides guidelines for the design of future measurement campaigns and monitoring networks to generate robust UFP LUR models for exposure assessments. Further study in other locations with more sites is needed to evaluate these guidelines over a broader range of conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants*
  • Air Pollution*
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Particulate Matter
  • Pennsylvania


  • Air Pollutants
  • Particulate Matter