How the Volume of Traffic Affected Air Quality During the Extreme Event of COVID-19 Lockdown in a Small City


  • Branka Trček University of Maribor, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Transportation Engineering and Architecture
  • Rok Kamnik University of Maribor, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Transportation Engineering and Architecture



road traffic, extreme event, COVID-19 lockdown, NO2 emissions, meteorological conditions, air pollution


The extreme traffic measures during the COVID-19 lockdown provided a unique opportunity to gain better insight into the relationship between traffic characteristics and NO2 concentrations in Maribor, a small Slovenian city. NO2, traffic and meteorological data were statistically processed in detail for March and April 2018, 2019 and 2020 to get a historical insight and to exclude the specifics of the lockdown period. The extreme event resulted in an average reduction of road traffic of 42%. The decrease in the number of passenger cars ranged from 33.9 to 60.3% per day with the largest decrease on the motorway. Daily averages of heavy goods traffic declined on the motorway and the expressway by 24.6% and 7%, respectively. Traffic characteristics were reflected in a 24–27% decrease in NO2 concentrations at the urban station. The change is smaller than the change in traffic volume, which could be explained by the change in the composition of the vehicle fleet due to the increase in NO2-dominant traffic sources, e.g. diesel heavy goods vehicles. The presented results are relevant for improving air quality and sustainable mobility management in small cities. They highlight the important role of reorganisation of heavy goods traffic in urban logistics.


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How to Cite

Trček, B., & Kamnik, R. (2022). How the Volume of Traffic Affected Air Quality During the Extreme Event of COVID-19 Lockdown in a Small City. Promet - Traffic&Transportation, 34(5), 789–800.