We report in this study the magnetic properties and partitioning patterns of selected trace metals (Pb, Zn, Cu, Cd, Ni) in roadside and off-road (> 200 m distance from the road edge) agricultural soils collected along two major highways in Greece. Sequential extractions revealed that the examined trace metals for the entire data set were predominantly found in the residual fraction, averaging 37% for Cd up to 80% for Cu. Due to the strong influence of lithogenic factors, trace metal pseudototal contents of the roadside soils did not differ significantly to those of the off-road soils. Magnetic susceptibility and frequency dependent magnetic susceptibility determinations showed a magnetic enhancement of soils; however, it was primarily related to geogenic factors and not to traffic-derived magnetic particles. These results highlight that in areas characterized by strong geogenic backgrounds, neither pseudototal trace metal contents nor magnetic properties determinations effectively capture traffic-related contamination of topsoils. The vehicular emission signal was traced by the increased acid-soluble and reducible trace metal contents of the roadside soils compared to their off-road counterparts. In the case of Cu and Zn, changes in the partitioning patterns were also observed between the roadside and off-road soils. Environmental risks associated with agricultural lands extending at the margins of the studied highways may arise from the elevated Ni contents (both pseudototal and potentially mobile), and future studies should investigate Ni levels in the edible parts of plants grown on these agricultural soils. (C) 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.