The traffic microenvironment accounts for a significant fraction of the total daily dose of inhaled air pollutants. The adverse effects of air pollution may be intensified in high altitudes (HA) due to increased minute ventilation (MV), which may result in higher deposition doses compared to that at sea level. Despite this, air quality studies in regions with combined high pollution levels and enhanced inhalation are limited. The main goals of this study are to investigate how the choice of travel mode (walking, microbus, and cable car ride) determines (i) the personal exposure to equivalent black carbon (eBC) and (ii) the corresponding potential respiratory deposited dose (RDD) in HA. For this investigation, we chose La Paz and El Alto in Bolivia as HA representative cities. The highest eBC exposure occurred in microbus commutes (13 μg m-3), while the highest RDD per trip was recorded while walking (6.3 μg) due to increased MV. On the other hand, the lowest eBC exposure and RDD were observed in cable car commute. Compared with similar studies done at sea level, our results revealed that a HA city should reduce exposure by 1.4 to 1.8-fold to achieve similar RDD at sea level, implying that HA cities require doubly aggressive and stringent road emission policies compared to those at sea level.
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