Traffic-generated fugitive dust on gravel roads impairs visibility and deposits on the adjacent environment. Particulate matter smaller than 10 mu m in diameter (PM10) is also associated with human health problems. Dust emission strength depends on the composition of granular material, road moisture, relative humidity, local Climate (precipitation, wind velocity, etc.), and vehicle characteristics.
The objectives of this study Were to develop a reliable and rapid mobile methodology to measure dust concentrations on gravel roads, evaluate the precision and repeatability of the methodology and correspondence with the currently used Visual assessment technique. Downwind horizontal diffusion was studied to evaluate the risk of exceeding the maximum allowed particulate matter concentration in ambient air near gravel roads according to European Council Directive [European Council Directive 1999/30/EC of 22 April 1999 relating to limit values for sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and oxides of nitrogen, particulate matter and lead in ambient air. Official Journal of the European Communities. L163/41.].
A TSI DustTrak Aerosol Monitor was mounted on an estate car travelling along test sections treated with various dust suppressants. Measured PM10 concentrations were compared to Visual assessments performed at the same time. Airborne particles were collected in filters Mounted behind the vehicle to compare the whole dust fraction with the PM10 concentration. For measuring the horizontal diffusion, DustTraks were placed at Various distances downwind of a dusty road section.
The mobile methodology was vehicle and speed dependent but not driver dependent with pre-specified driving behaviours. A high linear correlation between PM10 of different vehicles makes relative measurements of dust concentrations possible. The methodology gives continuous data series, mobility, and easy handling and provides fast, reliable and inexpensive measurements for estimating road conditions to make road maintenance more efficient.
Good correlations between measured PM10-values, visually assessed dust generation and dust collected in filters were obtained. PM10 seems to be correlated to the whole dust fraction that impairs visibility on gravel roads.
A decay in PM10 concentration as a function of distance from the road was observed. Measured particles principally did not travel further than 45 m from the road. The risk of exceeding the PM10 concentration stated in the EC-directive seems small.
2009. Vol. 43, no 4, 889-896 p.
Gravel roads, Dust emission, PM10, Methodology evaluation, European Council Directive, UNPAVED ROADS