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Analysis of various transport modes to evaluate personal exposure to PM2.5 pollution in Delhi

Maji, Kamal Jyoti; Namdeo, Anil; Hoban, Dan; Bell, Margaret; Goodman, Paul; Nagendra, S.M. Shiva; Barnes, Jo; De Vito, Laura; Hayes, Enda; Longhurst, James; Kumar, Rakesh; Sharma, Niraj; Kuppili, Sudheer Kumar; Alshetty, Dheeraj


Kamal Jyoti Maji

Anil Namdeo

Dan Hoban

Margaret Bell

Paul Goodman

S.M. Shiva Nagendra

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Dr Laura De Vito
Research Fellow in Air Quality Management Resource Centre

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Enda Hayes
Professor in Air Quality and Carbon Management

Rakesh Kumar

Niraj Sharma

Sudheer Kumar Kuppili

Dheeraj Alshetty


Access to detailed comparisons of the air quality variations encountered when commuting through a city offers the urban traveller more informed choice on how to minimise personal exposure to inhalable pollutants. In this study we report on an experiment designed to compare atmospheric contaminants, in this case, PM2.5 inhaled during rickshaw, bus, metro, non-air-conditioned car, air-conditioned (AC) car and walking journeys through the city of Delhi, India. The data collection was carried out using a portable TSI SidePak Aerosol Monitor AM520, during February 2018. The results demonstrate that rickshaws (266 ± 159 μg/m3) and walking (259 ± 102 μg/m3) modes were exposed to significantly higher mean PM2.5 levels, whereas AC cars (89 ± 30 μg/m3) and the metro (72 ± 11 μg/m3) had the lowest overall exposure rates. Buses (113 ± 14 μg/m3) and non-AC cars (149 ± 13 μg/m3) had average levels of exposure, but open windows and local factors caused surges in PM2.5 for both transport modes. Closed air-conditioned transport modes were shown to be the best modes for avoiding high concentrations of PM2.5, however other factors (e.g. time of the day, window open or closed in the vehicles) affected exposure levels significantly. Overall, the highest total respiratory deposition doses (RDDs) values were estimated as 84.7 ± 33.4 μg/km, 15.8 ± 9.5 μg/km and 9.7 ± 0.9 μg/km for walking, rickshaw and non-AC car transported mode of journey, respectively. Unless strong pollution control measures are taken, the high exposure to PM2.5 levels will continue causing serious short-term and long-term health concerns for the Delhi residents. Implementing integrated and intelligent transport systems and educating commuters on ways to reduce exposure levels and impacts on commuter's health are required.


Maji, K. J., Namdeo, A., Hoban, D., Bell, M., Goodman, P., Nagendra, S. S., …Alshetty, D. (2021). Analysis of various transport modes to evaluate personal exposure to PM2.5 pollution in Delhi. Atmospheric Pollution Research, 12(2), 417-431.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 4, 2020
Online Publication Date Dec 10, 2020
Publication Date Feb 1, 2021
Deposit Date Dec 11, 2020
Publicly Available Date Dec 11, 2021
Journal Atmospheric Pollution Research
Print ISSN 1309-1042
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 12
Issue 2
Pages 417-431
Keywords Personal exposure; Travel modes; Air pollution; PM2.5; Delhi
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