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You are here: Home / Data and maps / Indicators / Exceedances of air quality objectives due to traffic / Exceedances of air quality objectives due to traffic (TERM 004) - Assessment published Sep 2010

Exceedances of air quality objectives due to traffic (TERM 004) - Assessment published Sep 2010

Indicator Assessment Created 07 Aug 2009 Published 03 Sep 2010 Last modified 07 Jul 2011, 02:44 PM
Topics: , ,
 
Contents
 

Indicator definition

The indicator compares concentrations at background stations to those at traffic stations. This comparison provides an estimate of the increased levels of air pollution that the population is exposed to when accessing areas with increased road traffic, as well as a measure of the impact of the technical and non-technical measures adopted to reduce the contribution of the road transport sector to the observed concentrations. 

The indicator makes use of the data submitted to Airbase. Data permitting, a pan-European coverage is attempted and the indicator focuses on selected station pairs (traffic and urban background stations) from capital cities across and where data in capital cities is not available the next largest city is chosen.

Values are presented for single monitoring stations that provide reliable time series data for the period 2000 to 2011.

Units

Average yearly, average daily and average weekly variations of the concentrations at traffic and urban background stations (in micro g/m3).


Key policy question: Is the contribution of the transport sector to air quality reducing?

Key messages

The data analysed from selected stations in major urban agglomerations, indicate that during the period 1999-2007 mean values of NO2 concentrations at road traffic stations remain relatively stable (trend is smaller than the statistical uncertainty on estimate) whereas an increase is observed in the maximum observed concentrations after 2003 and then again a slight reduction in 2007. The background concentrations remain relatively stable throughout the period 1999-2007. For PM10, a slight increase was observed in 2003 in the maximum background concentrations, but these have followed a downward trend since. In 2004 and 2005 a reduction was observed in the maximum concentrations at traffic stations, but this trend was not continued in subsequent years. Throughout the period 2002-2007 mean traffic and mean background concentrations remain relatively stable, with a slightly downward trend observed in the mean background concentrations.

NO2 mean and maximum values of annual averages for traffic and urban background stations

Note: Station pairs from capital cities were preferred, but when not available the next largest city for which data was available was chosen

Data source:

AirBase

Downloads and more info

PM10 mean and maximum values of annual averages for traffic and urban background stations

Note: Station pairs from capital cities were preferred, but when not available the next largest city for which data was available was chosen

Data source:

AirBase

Downloads and more info

Key assessment

In 2007 road transport still remained the largest contributor to NOx emissions in the EEA, the second largest contributor to particulate formation pollutants overall (PM10, SO2, NOx and NH3) and primary PM2.5 and the third largest contributor for primary PM10. Despite the significant reduction of NOx, SO2, CO, PFP and TOFP (Total Ozone Formation Pollutants) road transport emissions achieved since 1990 across the EEA, the decrease in emissions does not appear to have a statistically significant influence on the air quality in urban agglomerations and the increase in the number of vehicles is off-setting the technological and fuel quality improvements. During 1999-2007, the maximum NO2 concentration at traffic stations is observed in London, whereas the maximum background concentration is observed in Paris. The maximum PM10 traffic value during 2002-2006 was observed in Rome, but as data from the traffic station was not available in 2007 the maximum PM10 traffic value for this year was observed in London. The maximum background concentration is observed in Prague for the period 2002-2004 and 2006-2007 and in Bratislava for 2005.

Data sources

Policy context and targets

Context description

This indicator is relevant information for the current European air quality legislation related to the setting of national emission targets (National Emission Ceiling Directive 2001/81/EC), the reduction of transport related emissions (discussed in detail in TERM 34) and the protection of human health from harmful air pollutant levels (Directives 1999/30/EC for sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter and 2002/3/EC for ozone, both discussed in detail in CSI 004). The Directive on ambient air quality and cleaner for Europe (Directive 2008/50/EC) also sets target and limit values for PM2.5 (particulate matter which passes through s size-selective inlet with a 50% efficiency cut-off at 2.5 um aerodynamic diameter), since 2010.

Targets

EU limit values on concentrations of nitrogen dioxide in ambient air

Both limit values have to be met by 1 January 2010:

  • In the Council Directive 1999/30/EC (section 1 of Annex II) an annual mean limit value for nitrogen dioxide of 40 mg NO2/m3 has been set for the protection of human health.
  • An hourly limit value of 200 mg NO2/m3 not to be exceeded more than 18 times a calendar year has also been set.

EU limit values on concentrations of PM10 in ambient air

Both limit values had to be met by 1 January 2005:

  • a limit value for PM10 of 50 mg/m3 (24 hour average, i.e. daily), not to be exceeded more than 35 times a calendar year is set for the protection of human health has been set in Council Directive 1999/30/EC (Annex III)
  • a limit value of 40 mg/m3 as annual average has also been set.

 

EU limit values on concentrations of other pollutants:

- sulphur dioxide

Two limit values have been set for the protection of human health. Both limit values had to be met by 1 January 2005

  • a limit value of 125 mg SO2/m3 as an daily average, not to be exceeded more than three times a calendar year, has been set for the protection of human health in the adopted Daughter 1999/30/EC, Section I of Annex I.
  • an hourly limit value for the protection of human health has been set at 350 mg

- ozone 

A combined ozone and acidification abatement strategy has been developed by the European Commission, resulting in a new Ozone Daughter Directive (2002/3/EC) and a National Emission Ceiling Directive (2001/81/EC). In this legislation, target values for ozone levels and for precursor emissions have been set.

  • The Ozone Daughter Directive sets a target value for the protection of human health of 120 mg O3/m3 as maximum daily 8 hour mean, not to be exceeded more than 25 days per calendar year, averaged over three years. This target should be met in 2010.
  • The Ozone Daughter Directive has also set a long-term objective of 120 mg O3/m3 as a maximum daily 8 hour average within a calendar year (not to be exceeded any day).

Related policy documents

  • COM(2001) 245 final. The Clean Air for Europe (CAFE).
    The Clean Air for Europe (CAFE) Programme: Towards a Thematic Strategy for Air Quality COM(2001) 245 final
  • Council Directive 96/62/EC of 27 September 1996
    Council Directive 96/62/EC of 27 September 1996 on ambient air quality assessment and management.
  • Council Directive 1999/30/EC of 22 April 1999
    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
  • Directive 2001/81/EC, national emission ceilings
    Directive 2001/81/EC, on nation al emissions ceilings (NECD) for certain atmospheric pollutants. Emission reduction targets for the new EU10 Member States have been specified in the Treaty of Accession to the European Union 2003  [The Treaty of Accession 2003 of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia. AA2003/ACT/Annex II/en 2072] in order that they can comply with the NECD.
  • Directive 2002/3/ EC...ozone in ambient air
    Directive 2002/3/ EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 February 2002 relating to ozone in ambient air
  • Directive 2008/50/EC, air quality
    Directive 2008/50/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2008 on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe.

Methodology

Methodology for indicator calculation

Concentrations:
Data submitted to Airbase has been used. The average diurnal variation was obtained by averaging each hour of the hourly data available at the selected measurement station. Average weekly variation was obtained by averaging the daily average for each day of the week (hourly or average daily data where used, depending on data availability) at the selected measurement station. Average yearly data was obtained from average hourly or average daily data, whichever was available at the selected measurement station (see data availability table for details). For all of the above, data gaps were not filled in.

Methodology for gap filling

No gap-filling is applied for this indicator, however the databases and spreadsheets used for the production of the indicator contain gap-filled values.

Methodology references

No methodology references available.

Uncertainties

Methodology uncertainty

The air quality data is officially submitted data. It is assumed that data has been validated by the national data supplier. Station characteristics and representativeness is often insufficiently documented. The data is thought to be representative for the urban population in each city. Locally (at the city level) the indicator is subject to year-to-year variations due to meteorological variability.

Data sets uncertainty

Strengths and weaknesses (at data level): officially reported data by the countries to Airbase is used, however the data reported across countries varies in quantity. Also the station characterisation (urban background or traffic) is difficult to compare across countries. Reliability, accuracy, robustness, uncertainty (at data level): The uncertainties are discussed separately for each graph. The data quality cannot be commented upon, since it data reported by the individual countries, but data availability is sometimes low and does not allow for robust conclusions/intercomparisons (see data availability table for details). Main problem is the lack of data and not the actual quality of the data available.

Rationale uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

More information about this indicator

See this indicator specification for more details.

Generic metadata

Topics:

Transport Transport (Primary topic)

Air pollution Air pollution

Tags:
transport indicators | transport
DPSIR: State
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
Indicator codes
  • TERM 004
Dynamic
Temporal coverage:
1999-2007
Geographic coverage:
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom

Contacts and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Cinzia Pastorello

Ownership

EEA Management Plan

2009 2.10.2 (note: EEA internal system)

Dates

Frequency of updates

Updates are scheduled once per year

Comments

European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Denmark
Phone: +45 3336 7100