In this study, we demonstrate that regression analysis of trajectories residence time estimates the contributions of geographical sectors to fine and coarse particle mass in urban receptor sites. We applied the methodology to coarse and fine particles in Amsterdam, Athens, Birmingham and Helsinki. The sectors with the highest contributions on PM2.5 and PM10-2.5 for Amsterdam and Birmingham were Central/Eastern Europe and the Atlantic Ocean/North Sea, respectively. For Athens, the four sectors within 500 km accounted for the largest fraction of PM2.5. The Mediterranean Sea and North Africa added more than half of PM10-2.5 in Athens. For Helsinki, more than 50% of PM2.5 and PM10-2.5 were from sources outside Finland. This approach may be applied to assess the impact of transport on particle mass levels, identify the spatial patterns of particle sources and generate valuable data to design national and transnational efficient emission control strategies. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.