Pedestrians' perception of environmental stimuli through field surveys: Focus on particulate pollution

Maria-Heleni Nikolopoulou, Jan Kleissl, P F Linden, Spyros Lykoudis

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The between perception of individual exposure to different environmental stimuli; microclimate, noise and especially particulate matter (PM) was examined. Microclimate, noise and PM were monitored during field surveys with 260 questionnaire-guided interviews at a road construction site and a traffic site on the UC San Diego campus. The overall comfort was determined primarily by the thermal environment. The air quality was considered to be poor by 42% of the interviewees at the construction site, which was burdened with higher PM counts and sound levels. Overall, higher PM concentrations were correlated with perception of poor air quality. Similarity between the overall air quality and how dusty it feels suggests that visual clues of PM, such as dust, affect the perception of air quality and pollution. The effect of medical or smoking history on the perceived air quality was also examined. People with a medical history of hay fever voted more frequently for poor air quality conditions than those without, whereas current smokers were the least sensitive to ambient air quality conditions. Through the exposure-response relationships between the various perception votes and PM, it was possible to predict perceived air cleanness using the PM count. Understanding the human assessment of environmental stimuli could inform the design and development of urban spaces, in relation to the allocation of uses and activities, along with air quality management schemes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2493-2502
Number of pages10
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2011


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