A microscale three-dimensional model of urban outdoor thermal exposure (TUF-Pedestrian)

Jacob A. Lachapelle, E. Scott Krayenhoff, Ariane Middel, Samuel Meltzer, Ashley M. Broadbent, Matei Georgescu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Urban street design choices relating to tree planting, building height and spacing, ground cover, and building façade properties impact outdoor thermal exposure. However, existing tools to simulate heat exposure have limitations with regard to optimization of street design for pedestrian cooling. A microscale three-dimensional (3D) urban radiation and energy balance model, Temperatures of Urban Facets for Pedestrians (TUF-Pedestrian), was developed to simulate pedestrian radiation exposure and study heat-reducing interventions such as urban tree planting and modifications to building and paving materials. TUF-Pedestrian simulates the spatial distribution of radiation and surface temperature impacts of trees and buildings on their surroundings at the sub-facet scale. In addition, radiation absorption by a three-dimensional pedestrian is considered, permitting calculation of a summary metric of human radiation exposure: the mean radiant temperature (TMRT). TUF-Pedestrian is evaluated against a unique 24-h observational dataset acquired using a mobile human-biometeorological station, MaRTy, in an urban canyon with trees on the Arizona State University Tempe campus (USA). Model evaluation demonstrates that TUF-Pedestrian accurately simulates both incoming directional radiative fluxes and TMRT in an urban environment with and without tree cover. Model sensitivity simulations demonstrate how modelled TMRT and directional radiative fluxes respond to increased building height (ΔTMRT reaching -32 °C when pedestrian becomes shaded), added tree cover (ΔTMRT approaching -20 °C for 8 m trees with leaf area density of 0.5 m2 m−3), and increased street albedo (ΔTMRT reaching + 6 °C for a 0.21 increase in pavement albedo). Sensitivity results agree with findings from previous studies and demonstrate the potential utility of TUF-Pedestrian as a tool to optimize street design for pedestrian heat exposure reduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)833-848
Number of pages16
JournalInternational journal of biometeorology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • Human biometeorology
  • Mean radiant temperature
  • Numerical modelling
  • Simulation
  • Street trees
  • Thermal comfort
  • Urban climate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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