Measurement and Prediction of Traffic-Induced Turbulence and Velocity Fields Near Roadways

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  • a Environmental Science Research Laboratory, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, NC 27711
  • | b Division of Air, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Albany, NY 12233
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Abstract

The primary objectives of this investigation are to determine the temporal and spacial resolution needed to adequately measure vehicle wake turbulence and the characteristics of turbulence near roadways using the knowledge gained in the General Motors (GM) Sulfate Dispersion Experiment, the Long Island (LI) Expressway Diffusion Experiments and wind tunnel experiments.

Observed wind velocity fluctuations at a fixed point near a roadway are due to three distinct causes: wake turbulence, ambient turbulence and the time variation in the wind velocity as a vehicle's wake passes the observation point, hereafter referred to as wake-passing effect. The wake-passing effect can be separated in the data from the ambient and vehicle wake turbulence because of the special spacing and timing of vehicles used in the GM experiment. The measured wake-passing effect is then compared with vehicle wake model predictions. The wake-passing effect, which is shown to constitute a significant portion of the measurable velocity variance near the roadway, does not diffuse pollutants.

In the Long Island Expressway experiment it was shown that most of the velocity variance associated with the vehicle traffic occurred at frequencies greater than 0.5 Hz. It is shown that the GM velocity data, which were recorded once per second, underestimated the velocity variance in short wavelengths and the magnitude of the wind velocity changes due to the vehicle wake.

Recommendations are made, based on wind tunnel and modeling results, as to the time resolution and vertical spacing that are necessary to resolve vehicle wake turbulence and the role of pseudoturbulence in modeling pollutant diffusion near roadways is discussed.

Abstract

The primary objectives of this investigation are to determine the temporal and spacial resolution needed to adequately measure vehicle wake turbulence and the characteristics of turbulence near roadways using the knowledge gained in the General Motors (GM) Sulfate Dispersion Experiment, the Long Island (LI) Expressway Diffusion Experiments and wind tunnel experiments.

Observed wind velocity fluctuations at a fixed point near a roadway are due to three distinct causes: wake turbulence, ambient turbulence and the time variation in the wind velocity as a vehicle's wake passes the observation point, hereafter referred to as wake-passing effect. The wake-passing effect can be separated in the data from the ambient and vehicle wake turbulence because of the special spacing and timing of vehicles used in the GM experiment. The measured wake-passing effect is then compared with vehicle wake model predictions. The wake-passing effect, which is shown to constitute a significant portion of the measurable velocity variance near the roadway, does not diffuse pollutants.

In the Long Island Expressway experiment it was shown that most of the velocity variance associated with the vehicle traffic occurred at frequencies greater than 0.5 Hz. It is shown that the GM velocity data, which were recorded once per second, underestimated the velocity variance in short wavelengths and the magnitude of the wind velocity changes due to the vehicle wake.

Recommendations are made, based on wind tunnel and modeling results, as to the time resolution and vertical spacing that are necessary to resolve vehicle wake turbulence and the role of pseudoturbulence in modeling pollutant diffusion near roadways is discussed.

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