Assessing Mobility-Based Real-Time Air Pollution Exposure in Space and Time Using Smart Sensors and GPS Trajectories in Beijing

Jing Ma, Yinhua Tao, Mei Po Kwan, Yanwei Chai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using real-time data from portable air pollutant sensors and smartphone Global Positioning System trajectories collected in Beijing, China, this study demonstrates how smart technologies and individual activity-travel microenvironments affect the assessment of individual-level pollution exposure in space and time at a very fine resolution. It compares three different types of individual-level exposure estimates generated by using residence-based monitoring station assessment, mobility-based monitoring station assessment, and mobility-based real-time assessment. Further, it examines the differences in personal exposure to PM2.5 associated with different activity places and travel modes across various environmental conditions. The results show that the exposure estimates generated by monitoring station assessment and real-time sensing assessment vary substantially across different activity locations and travel modes. Individual-level daily exposure for residents living in the same community also varies significantly, and there are substantial differences in exposure levels using different approaches. These results indicate that residence- or mobility-based monitoring station assessments, which cannot account for the differences in air pollutant exposures between outdoor and indoor environments and between different travel-related microenvironments, could generate considerably biased estimates of personal pollution exposure. Key Words: indoor environment, real-time exposure to air pollution, smart technologies, travel modes, the uncertain geographic context problem.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)434-448
Number of pages15
JournalAnnals of the American Association of Geographers
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 3 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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