The associations between residential outdoor and ambient particle mass, fine particle absorbance, particle number (PN) concentrations, and residential and traffic determinants were investigated in four European urban areas (Helsinki, Athens, Amsterdam, and Birmingham). A total of 152 nonsmoking participants with respiratory diseases, not exposed to occupational pollution, were included in the study, which comprised a 7-day intensive exposure monitoring period of both indoor and home outdoor particle mass and number concentrations. The same pollutants were also continuously measured at ambient fixed sites centrally located to the studied areas (fixed ambient sites). Relationships between concentrations measured directly outside the homes (residential outdoor) and at the fixed ambient sites were pollutant-specific, with substantial variations among the urban areas. Differences were more pronounced for coarse particles due to resuspension of road dust and PN, which is strongly related to traffic emissions. Less significant outdoor-to-fixed variation for particle mass was observed for Amsterdam and Birmingham, predominantly due to regional secondary aerosol. On the contrary, a strong spatial variation was observed for Athens and to a lesser extent for Helsinki. This was attributed to the overwhelming and time-varied inputs from traffic and other local sources. The location of the residence and traffic volume and distance to street and traffic light were important determinants of residential outdoor particle concentrations. On average, particle mass levels in suburban areas were less than 30% of those measured for residences located in the city center. Residences located less than 10 m from a street experienced 133% higher PN concentrations than residences located further away. Overall, the findings of this multi-city study, indicated that (1) spatial variation was larger for PN than for fine particulate matter (PM) mass and varied between the cities, (2) vehicular emissions in the residential street and location in the center of the city were significant predictors of spatial variation, and (3) the impact of traffic and location in the city was much larger for PN than for fine particle mass. Copyright 2007 Air & Waste Management Association.