I forgot to add that the more people who leave their cars for other travel modes, the
lower the emissions and the air pollution to which all travellers are exposed. Though I
expect there would need to be extensive modal shift to get measurable effects on AQ or
So when making the comparisons, you should consider not only the effect on the individuals
but also the population level effects (and the effects on inequalities -
'disparities' or 'variations' if you can't use the I word) from modal
shift. apart from physical activity, car drivers get the benefits and users of other
modes get the 'side effects' of car use.
1. AQ and AT (Mindell, Jenny)
2. Re: H+T--Friends Digest, Re: AQ Impacts vs Active Transport
Benefits (John Eberhard) (Abildso, Christiaan)
Date: Mon, 11 Nov 2013 10:34:53 +0000
From: "Mindell, Jenny" <j.mindell(a)ucl.ac.uk>
Subject: [H+T--Friends] AQ and AT
To: "h+t--friends(a)ryoko.chrispy.net" <h+t--friends(a)ryoko.chrispy.net>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="Windows-1252"
(Note that each statement needs to have 'in general' added!)
Research in the UK showed that the highest levels of air pollution are in cars (which have
their air intakes directly behind other vehicles' exhaust pipes), regardless of air
conditioning or open windows, with public transit intermediate and cyclists and
pedestrians exposed to lower levels as they're at the edge of the street which usually
has lower levels than the centre of the street.
Secondly, most pedestrians and cyclists would prefer to use side roads where possible as
it's quieter and there's less traffic, so the air quality is also better.
Signposting 'walking routes' and 'cycling routes' can help people with
this - as can slower speed limits on residential roads (eg 20mph / 30kph areas).
A few studies have been done, which have found the benefits of AT substantially outweigh
the air pollution and injury risks. eg
* Rojas-Rueda D, de Nazelle A, Tanio M, Nieuwenhuijsen MJ (2011) The health risks and
benefits of cycling in urban environments compared with car use: health assessment study.
BMJ. 343: d4521.
* De Hartog JJ, Boogaard H, Nijland H, Hoek G (2010) Do the health benefits of cycling
outweigh the risks? Environmental Health Perspectives (118) 1109?16.
Dr Jennifer Mindell
Clinical senior lecturer
Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, UCL (University College London)
Journal of Transport and Health:
Transport and Health Study Group: www.transportandhealth.org.uk
Date: Mon, 4 Nov 2013 21:00:01 +0000
From: Thera Black <blackvt(a)trpc.org>
Subject: [H+T--Friends] AQ Impacts vs Active Transport Benefits
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Greetings, all - I'm reaching out to Health and Transportation listserv members in the
hopes someone can point me in a productive direction.
I have a planning commission that is struggling with the public health benefits/impacts of
compact, walkable urban development. On the one hand they understand and appreciate the
active transportation benefits associated with this built form. On the other hand, the
epidemiologist on the commission argues that the increased impacts of air pollution in an
urban area more than offsets the benefits associated with active lifestyle and so is
working to prohibit urbanization measures along our key transit corridors - density, mix
of uses, transit oriented development.
I can find reams of articles on the benefits of active transport. And I can find scholarly
articles about transportation-related air quality impacts on public health. What I cannot
find is anything that brings the two together in a way that sheds light about these
considerations in combination - air quality impacts trumping active transport benefits (or
vice versa). This is further complicated by the studies she is referencing which were done
in major metropolitan areas. We are a small, low-density metro area with a population of
about 175,000 between three cities. Our principal arterials carry anywhere from 10,000 -
18,000 vehicles per day. We have very little "urban" land use form and are
trying to more effectively stimulate that kind of private sector investment along our
premier transit corridors where we have the beginnings of walkable, mixed-use
neighborhoods taking shape.
Are you aware of any research that has looked at the trade-offs between active transport
and air quality impacts that might be useful in this regard?
Any insights are appreciated - thank you!
Thurston Regional Planning Council
2424 Heritage Court SW, Ste A
Olympia, WA 98502
360.956.7575 ext 2545
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