Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Thesis Type

Honors College

First Advisor

Gregory Rowangould

Second Advisor

Dana Rowangould


Air Dispersion Modeling, HPMS data, Emission Densities, Emission Concentrations, Block Census Level, Boston, Massachusetts


The purpose of this study is to compare and validate the use of emission density as an exposure surrogate through ambient air quality modeling. Federal Highway Administration’s Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS) vehicle data was applied to pollutant emission rates produced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency MOVES model for light duty vehicles (LDV) in the study area of Boston, Massachusetts. These emission rate estimations were inputted into AERMOD, an air quality dispersion model, to produce emission concentrations at the U.S. Census block level. There are limited studies on conducting air quality modeling using HPMS data. HPMS data is easily accessible and the only national level traffic dataset providing more comprehensive and accurate vehicle information when compared to the Four- Step Travel Demand Model (4TDM) and traffic counts. A strong correlation between emission density and emission concentration would negate the time-consuming and arduous task of air dispersion modeling. Emission densities could then replace emission concentrations as the input for health impacts modeling, allowing for nationwide analysis. The study concluded that there is a somewhat linear relationship between emission densities and emission concentrations, but further study is needed to determine if the association is adequate to support replacing emission concentrations with emission density.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.