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Evaluating atmospheric pollutants from urban buses under real-world conditions: Implications of the main public transport mode in São Paulo, Brazil

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DateAccepted/In press - 11 Feb 2019
DatePublished (current) - 1 Mar 2019
Issue number3
Number of pages20
Original languageEnglish


The broad expanse of the urban metropolitan area of São Paulo (MASP) has made buses, the predominant public transport mode for commuters in the city. In 2016, the bus fleet in the MASP reached 56,354 buses and it was responsible for more than 12 million daily trips. Here, we evaluate for the first time, the emission profile of gaseous and particulate pollutants from buses running on 7% biodiesel + 93% petroleum diesel and their spatial distribution in the MASP. This novel study, based on four bus terminal experiments, provides an extensive analysis of atmospheric pollutants of interest to public health and climate changes, such as CO2, CO, NOx, VOCs, PM10, PM2.5 and their constituents (black carbon (BC) and elements). Our results suggest that the renovation of the bus fleet from Euro II to Euro V and the incorporation of electric buses had a noticeable impact (by a factor of up to three) on the CO2 emissions and caused a decrease in NO emissions, by a factor of four to five. In addition, a comparison with previous Brazilian studies, shows that the newer bus fleet in the MASP emits fewer particles. Emissions from the public transport sector have implications for public health and air quality, not only by introducing reactive pollutants into the atmosphere but also by exposing the commuters to harmful concentrations. Our findings make a relevant contribution to the understanding of emissions from diesel-powered buses and about the impact of these new vehicular technologies on the air quality in the MASP.

Bibliographical note

© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

    Research areas

  • Air quality, Biodiesel, Bus, Direct emissions, Metal, Vehicular emissions

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