Development and evaluation of the RapidAir® dispersion model, including the use of geospatial surrogates to represent street canyon effects

Nicola Masey, Scott Hamilton, Iain J. Beverland

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We developed a dispersion model (RapidAir®) to estimate air pollution concentrations at fine spatial resolution over large geographical areas with fast run times. Concentrations were modelled at 5 m spatial resolution over an area of ∼3500 km2 in <10 min. RapidAir® was evaluated by estimating NOx and NO2 concentrations at 86 continuous monitoring sites in London, UK during 2008. The model predictions explained 66% of the spatial variation (r = 0.81) in annual NOx concentrations observed at the monitoring sites. We included discrete canyon models or geospatial surrogates (sky view factor, hill shading and wind effect) to improve the accuracy of model predictions at kerbside locations. Geospatial surrogates provide alternatives to discrete street canyon models where it is impractical to run canyon models for thousands of streets within a large city dispersion model (with advantages including: ease of operation; faster run times; and more complete treatment of building effects).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-263
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Modelling and Software
Early online date26 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2018



  • dispersion modelling
  • air pollution
  • street canyon

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