How Do Electric Fields under High Voltage Power Lines Compare to Those Near Highways?

Comparison of charged nanoparticle concentrations near busy roads and overhead high-voltage power lines (Abstract, E.R. Jayaratne, X. Ling, L. Morawska, May 28, 2015)

Also discussed here: Roadside air can be more charged than under a high-voltage power line (Science Daily, May 28, 2015)
Today we review research from Brisbane, Australia, comparing the number of charged particles emitted by vehicles near highways to what is found under power lines. Results indicate more than twice as many charged vehicles near roads. The charges alone do not present a health hazard but the fact that the particulates are charged means that they adhere more closely to the lungs when they are breathed in – and this as earlier research has shown presents a number of health impacts which would be increased by the electrical charging.

freeway electric field

To see Key Quotes and Links to those in key reports, click HERE

 

Modelling the Dynamics of Traffic Congestion and Urban Air Pollution Hot Spots

MIT Study devises new algorithm to predict traffic patterns (Becca DeGregorio, The Daily Free Press, Nov. 13, 2014)

Also discussed here: Understanding Road Usage Patterns in Urban Areas (6 page pdf, Pu Wang, Timothy Hunter, Alexandre M. Bayen, Katja Schechtner & Marta C. Gonzalez, Scientific Reports, Nature, Dec. 20, 2012)

And here: Phone data helps pinpoint source of traffic congestion (On Balance, Dept. Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Jan. 2013)

And here:

(48 sec You-Tube, Marta Gonzalez, Dec. 8, 2013)

And here: Gridlock Traced to Just a Few Key Commuters (Rocket News, Dec. 21, 2012)

Today we review research from MIT aimed at diagnosing the dynamics of traffic congestion using mobile phone records and population and origin-destination statistics to identify key congested road segments that lead to major congestion across major cities such as San Francisco and Boston. These congested areas rapidly lead to high levels of pollution that affect the entire urban area which puts both drivers and others such as cyclists who use the roads at risk to their health. Better design of the road network and method to reduce traffic peaks such as congestion pricing are offered as solutions.

traffic congestion

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE

 

How Much of a Health Threat is it to Live Near a Highway?

Residential Proximity to Major Roadways and Prevalent Hypertension Among Postmenopausal Women: Results From the Women’s Health Initiative San Diego Cohort (12 page pdf, Kipruto Kirwa, Melissa N. Eliot, Yi Wang, Marc A. Adams, Cindy G. Morgan, Jacqueline Kerr , Gregory J. Norman, Charles B. Eaton, Matthew A. Allison and Gregory A. Wellenius, J Am Heart Assoc., Oct. 1, 2014)

Also discussed here: Hypertension risk rises closer to major roadways (ScienceDaily, Oct. 1, 2014)

And here: Living Near a Highway May Be Bad for Your Blood Pressure (MedlinePLus, Oct. 1, 2014)
Today we review research into the possible links between the prevalence of hypertension for older women (average age 65) and how far they live from a busy roadway or highway. Results indicate that women living within 100 m of a busy road have a 22% higher risk of developing high blood pressure which equates to aging two additional years, compared to women living more than 1000 m from a busy road. The reason for hypertension which affects 1/3 of the USA population may be either noise or air pollution related to emissions from traffic or both.

distance to highway

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE

Are HOT Lanes Coming to Ontario’s Highways and How do they Work?

HOT Lanes: A Better Way to Attack Urban Highway Congestion – High-occupancy toll lanes benefit all highway users—not just the affluent (6 page pdf, Robert W. Poole Jr. and C. Kenneth Orski, Regulation, 2000)

Also discussed here: HOT Lanes: A Better Way to Attack Urban Highway Congestion (Robert W. Poole Jr. and C. Kenneth Orsk, CATO Institute)

And here: 2014 Ontario Budget Passes in Legislature – Plan Will Create Jobs, Build Modern Infrastructure and Transportation, Enhance Retirement Security (Press Release, Ontario Ministry of Finance, Jul. 24, 2014)

And here: Budget 2014 Building Modern Infrastructure (9 page pdf, Ontario Ministry of Finance, May 1, 2014)

And here: 495 Express Lanes Usage Update – July 2014

And here: Metrolinx: HOT lanes should be used to break the ice for VMT charging (Grush Hour, Apr. 18, 2013)

Today, we review a paper that was written 14 years ago but is still highly relevant in today’s world of congested urban highways that are getting worse, in the US and Canada at least. The authors review the state of car-pool or transit-only lanes (or high occupancy lanes as the transportation planners dub them), conclude that these lanes tend to be underused and are ineffective and point out the advantages of converting that the HOV lane to a HOT lane which introduces supply and demand pricing to the argument. Given also the great pressure for politicians against introducing any tolls but the equally great pressure to generate revenue and lower taxes, HOT lanes seem inevitable.

One must think that the government in Ontario is thinking along the same lines as they propose HOT lanes for all 400-series highways in the province, included in the May 1, 2014 budget and repeated in a budget bill that received Royal Assent on Jul. 24, 2014 as part of the “economic tools” to pay for over $30B needed for public transit over the next 20 years. A first step to more comprehensive road and congestion pricing perhaps?

how HOT lanes work

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE

Does “Free” Parking Downtown Make Any Sense?

How to Tax Parking (And How Not To) (Transport Providence, July 8, 2014)

Also discussed here: What’s the Best Way to Tax Parking? (Angie Schmitt, StreetsBlog, Jul. 25, 2014)

And here: Parking Taxes – Evaluating Options and Impacts (21 page pdf, Todd Litman, Victoria Transport Policy Institute, Aug. 29, 2013)

Today we review a blog post that discusses the equity or fairness in how parking spaces and lots are taxed, noting that many parking lots next to stores offer “free’ parking and these are taxed at a lower rate. A better approach from a fairness and environmentally wise point of view is to tax all spaces at the same rate. Parking rates are key to lowering congestion as well as discouraging casual use of roads by cars in the downtown- and as we see in San Francisco (SfPark), applying varying parking rates according to demand goes even farther.

providence parking

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE

What is the Next Biggest Environmental Health Problem After Air Pollution?

Lessening the Severe Health Effects of Traffic Noise in Cities by Emission Reductions (28 page pdf, Tor Kihlman, Wolfgang Kropp, and William Lang, The CAETS Noise Control Technology Committee and the International Institute of Noise Control Engineering, May 2014)

Also discussed here: Traffic noise is dangerous for your health: Solutions exist for dense cities (ScienceDaily, Jul.1, 2014)

Today we review a report that looks at the second biggest environmental cause of health problems after air pollution, noise. As with air pollution, the single biggest source is road traffic from the interaction between tires and pavement or “rolling noise”. Solutions call for “quiet pavements” and improved design of tires although the authors report that present regulations and that most actions by government and industry fall well short of solving the problem. An interesting point was made about safety concerns about electric cars being too quiet to the point that government wants to require noise emitters – a step that is seen as unnecessary and counterproductive. Again, as with air pollution, an effective solution is to reduce roads traffic by promoting quiet forms of transportation, such as walking and cycling. Steps to reduce road noise would also benefit efforts to reduce greenhouse gases and climate change impacts.

noise in cities

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE

Monitoring Roadside Pollution with Sensors on Bikes

Cyclists will monitor air pollution in Hamilton (CBC News, Mar. 13, 2014)

Also discussed here: Bicycle Air Monitoring Program – Pittsburg (GASP)

Today we review two citizen initiatives in Hamilton and Pittsburg to monitor air pollution levels along roads and bike paths used by cyclists in these cities. The program that began first in Pittsburg with the Group Against Air Pollution and Smog, collects and displays the Particulate Matter on maps of the urban core in real-time. The Bicycling Air Monitoring program in Hamilton just began on June 26 with over 60 cyclists volunteering to use the 20 GPS and air monitors which were funded with only $25 K from contributions from volunteers and a local city Councillor. These data fill gaps in the map of air pollution measured by much more expensive provincial air quality monitors (over $250K each) or by using a specialized mobile van dedicated to roadside monitoring.

pittsburg pollution

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE

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