Bicyclists’ Uptake of Traffic-Related Air Pollution: Effects of the Urban Transportation System

Alex Bigazzi, Portland State University


While bicyclists and other active travelers obtain health benefits from increased physical activity, they also risk uptake of traffic-related air pollution. But pollution uptake by urban bicyclists is not well understood due to a lack of direct measurements and insufficient analysis of the determinants of exposure and ventilation (breathing). This knowledge gap impedes pollution-conscious transportation planning, design, and health impact assessment. The research presented in this dissertation generates new connections between transportation system characteristics and pollution uptake by bicyclists. The primary research questions are: 1) how do urban bicyclists’ intake and uptake of air pollution vary with roadway and travel characteristics and 2) to what extent can transportation-related strategies reduce uptake. Breath biomarkers are used to measure absorbed doses of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). This research is the first application of breath biomarkers to travelers and the first uptake measurements of any pollutant to include roadway-level covariates. Novel methods to collect and integrate bicycle, rider, traffic, and environmental data are also introduced.

Project Details

Project Type:
Project Status:
End Date:
December 31,2014
UTC Grant Cycle:
Tier 1 Dissertation Fellowships Spr. '14
UTC Funding:

Downloadable Products

Other Products

  • Breath Biomarkers to Measure Uptake of Volatile Organic Compounds by Bicyclists AY Bigazzi, MA Figliozzi, W Luo, JF Pankow - Environmental science & technology, 2016; (PUBLICATION)
  • Dynamic ventilation and power output of urban bicyclists AY Bigazzi, MA Figliozzi - Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 2015; DOI: (PUBLICATION)