Ziaur Rahman

ORCID Identifier(s)


Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Civil Engineering


Civil Engineering

First Advisor

P Stephen Mattingly


Pollutants emitted into the atmosphere from static and mobile sources pose a threat to human health. The detrimental impact associated with air pollution varies by the type of pollutant, the magnitude, frequency and duration of exposure, and the associated toxicity. While stationary sources play an important role in air pollution, motor vehicle exhaust emissions represent the single largest source of regional air pollution in urban areas. Moreover, outdoor physical activity requires an increased oxygen level with an increase in exercise intensity. Research has shown that both the ventilation and deposition fractions increase significantly during outdoor activities, which may lead to temporary decreases in lung function, increased levels of inflammatory markers in the pulmonary system, reduced vasodilation and impairments in exercise performance. Moreover, studies indicate that populations living, working, or going to school near major roads may be subjected to an increased risk for a number of adverse health effects. The reason behind this increased risk may lay in the presence of elevated concentrations of pollutants emitted directly by motor vehicles. On the other hand, the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards and Air Quality Index use measurements from fixed monitoring stations, which are usually strategically placed to cover broad regional areas. Evidently, none of these assessment tools exclusively identifies higher levels of acute exposure near urban arterials and intersections due to high concentrations of vehicular movements. Hence, a simple and readily available assessment tool of the air quality near urban arterials and intersections appears important for identifying pedestrian and bicyclist exposure levels, which ii will in turn help in encouraging transportation infrastructure investment that fosters physical activity. Furthermore, the inclusion of project-level variables will help identify the changes due to variations in design elements and may eventually help predict network level performance. While the study acknowledges the importance of these issues, it also recognizes that civil engineering students mostly receive exposure to engineering concepts related to motorized travel, and less to concepts related to nonmotorized or active forms of transportation. This study also considers a specific type of learning intervention designed for better learning achievement and proposes a new assessment tool for the evaluation of learning improvement. The sketch planning tools developed in this study does not consider background level pollutants for any particular site, and instead, it focuses on generating the emission concentrations due to only the traffic impacts. Since this generalized version of the arterial air quality risk assessment tool only requires an arterial’s speed limit and volume, it can easily be used by practitioners and policymakers for evaluating current and future infrastructure with respect to air quality. The study along an arterial show that the concentration levels at different receptor locations increases with the increase of both volume and speed (except both PM decrease with an increase in speed). The study also identified that the exposure level is higher for children compared to adults. The findings from this study will help decision makers quantify the potential health risk of a pedestrian and bicycle facility along an urban arterial (or corridor) and consider suitable alternatives for better public health. When similar approach taken for intersection analysis, the study identified that the further the distance from the intersection, the lower the concentration is. The analysis also indicates that the exposure level remains higher closer to the intersection and it changes with speed, volume and intersection geometry. Inclusion of two-fluid model will help decision makers identify potential risk prone intersection and compare that with their model parameters to assess the network performance. Characterizing the transportation related air pollution exposure level at the intersection level with run time and stop time is potentially beneficial for transportation practitioners. Planners can use this two planning tools to include the local air quality needs and impacts in future project-level planning and policy recommendations. While most of the cases, the civil iii engineering students get less exposure to the concepts of active commuting in class room learning, the assessment of project-based learning intervention using the MAstery Level Achievement method strengthens by specifically identifying the different level of mastery achieved for various categories of the concepts of active commuting. These results improve the overall understanding of the success of a project-based learning intervention from traditional assessment methods. Planners and agencies can use the developed assessment tools to evaluate potential air quality risks along a particular road segment or an intersection which may eventually help assess the network performance.


Mastery Level Achievement, Air Pollution, Exposure, Public Health, Assessment tool, Cancer, physical activity, walking and biking


Civil and Environmental Engineering | Civil Engineering | Engineering


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington