Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)

Modelling socioeconomic effects of transport pollution in urban areas

Supervisor: Dr Haibo Chen

Environmental policy making and regulatory processes have become increasingly concerned with the problem of the inequity or injustice of exposure to air pollution for different socioeconomic groups, especially those with low socioeconomic status. A substantial body of research has been carried out to understand and quantify the association between health problems and local air quality. Transport, in particular road traffic in urban areas, is the largest emission source of many health-related air pollutants. The aim of this project is to undertake a city-scale study of the disparate health effects of air pollution using the vast quantities of spatially and temporally varying socioeconomic and sensor data collected and available at the host institution and via other public databases. This will be facilitated by what we believe will be the most comprehensive sweep of data ever undertaken in this area, supported by advanced mathematical, statistical and numerical techniques, and ultimately leading towards a fair, equal and justified assessment of transport initiatives.

The successful applicant will have a first or upper second class degree (or equivalent) or a commendation level MSc in Applied Mathematics/Statistics, Physics, Civil Engineering or Social Sciences along with a broad knowledge of Transport.

Suggested reading, or email H Chen (h.chen(at) for the papers:

Jephcote C. and Chen H. (2012), "Environmental injustices of children's exposure to air pollution from road-transport within the model British multicultural city of Leicester: 2000-09", Science of the Total Environment, 414 (2012), pp. 140-151.

Munir S., Chen H. and Ropkins K. (2013), "Quantifying temporal trends in ground level ozone concentration in the UK", Science of the Total Environment, 458-460 (2013), pp. 217-227.

Gyarmati-Szabo J., Bogachev L. and Chen H. (2011) "Modelling threshold exceedances of air pollution concentrations via non-homogeneous Poisson process with multiple change-points", Atmospheric Environment (3.584), 45(31), pp. 5493-5503.

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