Spatial and Socio-Classification of Traffic Pollutant Emissions and Associated Mortality Rates in High-Density Hong Kong via Improved Data Analytic Approaches

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Jun 17;18(12):6532. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18126532.


Excessive traffic pollutant emissions in high-density cities result in thermal discomfort and are associated with devastating health impacts. In this study, an improved data analytic framework that combines geo-processing techniques, social habits of local citizens like traffic patterns and working schedule and district-wise building morphologies was established to retrieve street-level traffic NOx and PM2.5 emissions in all 18 districts of Hong Kong. The identification of possible human activity regions further visualizes the intersection between emission sources and human mobility. The updated spatial distribution of traffic emission could serve as good indicators for better air quality management, as well as the planning of social infrastructures in the neighborhood environment. Further, geo-processed traffic emission figures can systematically be distributed to respective districts via mathematical means, while the correlations of NOx and mortality within different case studies range from 0.371 to 0.783, while varying from 0.509 to 0.754 for PM2.5, with some assumptions imposed in our study. Outlying districts and good practices of maintaining an environmentally friendly transportation network were also identified and analyzed via statistical means. This newly developed data-driven framework of allocating and quantifying traffic emission could possibly be extended to other dense and heavily polluted cities, with the aim of enhancing health monitoring campaigns and relevant policy implementations.

Keywords: data analytic framework; mortality rates and health; spatial and socio-classification in high density cities; traffic NOx and PM2.5 emissions; urban environment and air quality management.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants* / analysis
  • Air Pollution* / analysis
  • Cities
  • Data Science
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Environmental Pollutants*
  • Hong Kong / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Particulate Matter / analysis
  • Vehicle Emissions / analysis


  • Air Pollutants
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Particulate Matter
  • Vehicle Emissions