Impact of overland traffic on heavy metal levels in highway dust and soils of Istanbul, Turkey

Mert Guney, Turgut T. Onay, Nadim K. Copty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of overland traffic on the spatial distribution of heavy metals in urban soils (Istanbul, Turkey). Road dust, surface, and subsurface soil samples were collected from a total of 41 locations along highways with dense traffic and secondary roads with lower traffic and analyzed for lead (Pb), zinc (Zn), and copper (Cu) concentrations. Statistical evaluation of the heavy metal concentrations observed along highways and along the secondary roads showed that the data were bimodally distributed. The maximum observed Pb, Zn, and Cu concentrations were 1,573, 522 and 136 mg/kg, respectively, in surface soils along highways and 99.3, 156, and 38.1 mg/kg along secondary roads. Correlation analysis of the metal concentrations in road dust, surface and 20-cm depth soils suggests the presence of a common pollution source. However, metal concentrations in the deeper soils were substantially lower than those observed at the surface, indicating low mobility of heavy metals, especially for Pb and Zn. A modified kriging approach that honors the bimodality of the data was used to estimate the spatial distribution of the surface concentrations of metals, and to identify hotspots. Results indicate that despite the presence of some industrial zones within the study area, traffic is the main heavy metal pollution source.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-110
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Monitoring and Assessment
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - May 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Geostatistics
  • Heavy metal
  • Overland traffic
  • Soil pollution
  • Urban soils

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Pollution

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