Modelling wind flow and vehicle-induced turbulence in urban streets

Efisio Solazzo, Xiaoming Cai, Sotiris Vardoulakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Citations (Scopus)


Mechanically generated wind flow and turbulence in urban street canyons are the results of combined processes of atmospheric wind and vehicular traffic, both of which contribute to the transport and dilution of pollutants emitted by vehicles at street level. A good understanding of these processes is thus essential for predicting the spatial distribution of pollutants, and especially for deriving useful parameterisations to be included in urban air-quality models. In this study, a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling methodology for the simulation of the flow and turbulence induced by wind and vehicle motion within an idealised street canyon is presented. Initially, a CFD methodology for analysing the contribution of vehicle's movement to the production of flow and turbulence near street level is introduced. The effects of vehicle's motion are characterised in terms of mean wind flow and turbulence. The results obtained from this analysis are then used for the modelling of the combined effects of wind and vehicular traffic in the street canyon. The CFD methodology is tested by comparing the model results against wind tunnel data of mean velocity and turbulence. Evaluation of the results shows the capability of the methodology to reproduce measured flow field and turbulence patterns. This methodology can be used to gain insights into the mechanically driven turbulence for the dispersion of pollutants within urban streets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4918-4931
Number of pages14
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes


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