TRANSPHORM brings together leading air quality and health researchers and users to improve the knowledge of transport related airborne particulate matter (PM) and its impact on human health and to develop and implement assessment tools for scales ranging from city to Europe.
Over four years, TRANSPHORM will aim to develop and implement an integrated methodology to assess the health impacts of PM air pollution covering the whole chain from emissions to disease burden. The objectives will be: (i) To improve our understanding of transport sources of size-resolved and speciated PM air pollution including non-exhaust, shipping, aviation and railways; (ii) To improved emission factors of ultrafine particle number (PN0.1) and mass fractions of PM1, PM2.5 and PM10 for key transport sources; (iii) To conduct targeted measurements in Rotterdam, Helsinki and Thessaloniki for source apportionment, exposure assessment and model evaluation; (iv) To quantify exposure to airborne PM in urban environments resulting from traffic, road, shipping, rail and aviation; (v) To improve and integrate air quality dispersion and exposure models for urban and regional scales including long-range transport; (vi) To develop new concentration-response (CRF) linking long and short-term ambient residential exposure to size-resolved and speciated PM with key health endpoints; (vii) To develop and implement integrated assessment tool to investigate and analyse the whole chain of processes for selected cities and Europe; (viii) To incorporate micro-environmental PM concentrations, time-activity patterns, and estimates of internal dose into the health impact assessment; (ix) To conduct integrated health assessment of selected European cities; (x) To design and implement mitigation and adaptation strategies for European and international policy refinement and development; (xi) To exploit the results of TRANSPHORM through global dissemination and interactions with stakeholders.
Improving Europe's air quality
An EU project has improved on measures of air pollution associated with transport, allowing a more in-depth understanding of its effects on human health.
A large part of air pollution is made up of particulate matter (PM), which is associated with a range of human health problems. Despite this, the tools and information needed to quantify airborne PM and its effects on the population are sorely lacking.
For this reason, the EU funded the http://www.transphorm.eu/ (TRANSPHORM) project that looked specifically at airborne PM from urban traffic, road, shipping, rail and aviation sources. TRANSPHORM used targeted measurements in Thessaloniki (Greece), Rotterdam (the Netherlands) and Helsinki (Finland) to improve European air pollution policies.
The research team collected data on traffic activity and shipping emissions to model and develop new emission factors. This culminated in the development of baseline European emission inventories for the present (2005) and future (2020 and 2030).
Another model was also developed that accounts for the effect of buildings on particle size distribution and mass concentrations. Researchers integrated this model with a particle size-specific human respiratory tract model in order to estimate the accumulation of PM in human lungs.
Using all of the models created and data collected by the project, TRANSPHORM developed a way to estimate population exposure and human health impacts from airborne PM. This approach yielded a quantified health impact for various particles, including elemental carbon and benzo(a)pyrene.
Ultimately, TRANSPHORM efforts will support urban planning that encourages reduced emissions and better human health. The project results will also aid in the establishment of emission reduction targets for shipping and aviation.