Does Exposure to Traffic-Related Pollution Affect Dementia in Older Women?

Particulate air pollutants, APOE alleles and their contributions to cognitive impairment in older women and to amyloidogenesis in experimental models (8 page pdf, M Cacciottolo, X Wang, I Driscoll, N Woodward, A Saffari, J Reyes, M L Serre, W Vizuete, C Sioutas, T E Morgan, M Gatz, H C Chui, S A Shumaker, S M Resnick, M A Espeland, C E Finch and J C Chen, Translational Psychiatry, Jan. 31, 2017)
Also discussed here: Air pollution may cause 21 percent of dementias worldwide, study suggests (The San Diego Union-Tribune, Feb. 1, 2017)

And here: Early Onset Familial AD (Gabrielle Strobel, ALZFORUM)

Today we review research based on longer term exposure by female mice to PM 2.5 and how this could affect older women exposed to traffic-related air pollution in their risks of having dementia. Results indicate that women in the late 60s and 70s are 92% more likely to develop dementia if they live in areas that exceed EPA’s standards for PM2.5. The increase in the elderly and the greater risk of dementia has resulted in an overall increase in this disease, despite the improvements in levels of PM 2.5 over the last decade or two, as well as in the increase of deaths from Alzheimer’s, the sixth leading cause of death nationwide.

dementia-alzheimers

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How is the Brain Damaged by Exposure to Traffic Related Air Pollution?

The Polluted Brain – Evidence Builds that Dirty Air Causes Alzheimer’s, Dementia (AAAS Science, Emily UnderwoodJan. 26, 2017)

Also discussed here: Particulate Air Pollutants and White Matter Brain Aging (Abstract, Jiu-Chiuan Chen, Xinhui Wang, Mark A. Espeland, Helena Chui, Alzheimer’s and Dementia, Jul. 2014)
And here: Traffic-related air pollution and brain development (21 page pdf, Nicholas Woodward, Caleb E. Finch and Todd E. Morgan , AIMS Environmental Science. May 6, 2015)

Today we review a series of research articles that reaffirm the health risks presented to people (and mice) who breathe in air polluted by vehicles and containing ultra-fine particles, in particular. Signs of memory loss and Alzheimer’s are evident in mice exposed to UFP. Levels of fine air particles within 50 m of  major roadways are 10 times higher than at 150 m and those within 50 m stand a 12% higher risk of developing dementia. Tests involving prenatal mice showed that fetal damage can be done by fine particles without entering the placenta. The closer people live to major roadways, the smaller their celebral brain volume. What more do city planners and public health officials need to know about running highways and traffic through cities?

brain-pollution

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How Will We Get Around Town in 30 years and What Obstacles Need to be Overcome?

What will the local transport system look like in 2045? The future local transport system (David Levinson, Transportist, Dec.19, 2016)

Also discussed here: What key factors do you see driving these changes over the next 30 years? (David Levinson, Transportist, Dec.19, 2016)

And here: Future Demand – New Zealand transport and society: Scenarios to 2042 (23 page pdf, New Zealand Government, Nov. 2014)

Today we review an interview on the future local transportation with Marcus Enoch by David Levinson and a report looking ahead to 2042 as part of New Zealand project PT2045. Enoch sees the automation of vehicles, their conversion to electric and the rise of shared mobility, as opposed to owning a vehicle, as the three most important changes. There will be a lot more single passenger, two wheeled e-cars and goods will be delivered by robot cars. Manually driven cars on public roads will be prohibited in 25 years. Urban congestion will end before 2042 with fewer, if any, private vehicles on the road. Carbon emissions will fall dramatically.

nz-scenarios-for-2042

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Impact of Nanoparticulates from Traffic Emissions on Viral Lung Infection

Nanoparticle exposure reactivates latent herpesvirus and restores a signature of acute infection (19 page pdf, Christine Sattler, Franco Moritz, Shanze Chen, Beatrix Steer, David Kutschke, Martin Irmler, Johannes Beckers, Oliver Eickelberg, Philippe Schmitt-Kopplin, Heiko Adler and Tobias Stoeger, Particle and Fibre Toxicology, Jan. 10, 2017)

Also discussed here: Nanoparticle exposure can awaken dormant viruses in the lungs (ScienceDaily, Jan. 17, 2017)

Today we review a lab experiment on cells in mice that examined the impact of exposure to nanoparticles (NP). Results indicate that these nanoparticles can “reawaken” latent herpes viruses in the lung by weakening the immune system and allowing viruses to invade the host cell. The researchers would like to examine if these results can be transferred to humans and if so, if exposure to emissions from combustion and traffic-related emissions suggest another serious impact.

nanoparticles-and-virus

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How Does the Environment Affect Perceived Wait Times at Transit Stops?

Transit Stop Environments and Waiting Time Perception Impacts of Trees, Traffic Exposure, and Polluted Air (Abstract, Marina Lagune-ReutlerRelated information, Andrew GuthrieRelated information, Yingling FanRelated information, and David Levinson, Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, Jan. 9, 2017)

Also discussed here: Transit Riders’ Perception of Waiting Time and Stops, Surrounding Environments (17 page MS Word, Marina Lagune-Reutler, Andrew Guthrie, Yingling Fan, David Levinson, Draft submitted to Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, July 2015)

Today we review research based on over 800 responses from users of public transit in  Minneapolis, MN. The key factor studied was the wait times –both real and perceived- and how this varied with the type of environment found at bus and transit stops. Results indicate that  polluted air and the presence of heavy traffic near the stops tended to increase the length of perceived wait time when this was over 5 minutes while the presence of trees and light traffic shortened the perceived wait time. Conclusions and recommendations to encourage more transit use include locating transit lines away from traffic and heavily polluted areas and planting trees and foliage near the stops. Canadians and those in cold climates would be heartened by the finding that more or less snow has little effect on transit users who, if anything were more likely to happy they were not driving a private car.

transit-and-aq

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The Impact of Traffic-Related Air Pollution on Cloud Formation

Effect of vehicular traffic, remote sources and new particle formation on the activation properties of cloud condensation nuclei in the megacity of São Paulo, Brazil (22 page pdf, Carlos Eduardo Souto-Oliveira, Maria de Fátima Andrade, Prashant Kumar, Fábio Juliano da Silva Lopes, Marly Babinski, and Eduardo Landulfo, Atmos. Chem. Phys., Nov. 24, 2016)

Today we review research on the impact vehicle emissions have on cloud formation in the largest city in South America with a 20M population and 7 M vehicles. Such a concentration of emissions may have global impacts on precipitation. Cloud condensation nuclei in this city originate from three sources: vehicle emissions, biomass burning in the vast tropical forests and from sea-salt. Careful direct and indirect (lidart) measurements over a four month period revealed that vehicles were predominant in producing these nuclei with two diurnal maxima during rush hours.

trap-and-clouds

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How Does Air Pollution Accelerate Aging?

Long-term exposure to air pollution is associated with biological aging (16 page pdf, Cavin K. Ward-Caviness, Jamaji C. Nwanaji-Enwerem, Kathrin Wolf, Simone Wahl, Elena Colicino, Letizia Trevisi, Itai Kloog, Allan C. Just, Pantel Vokonas, Josef Cyrys, Christian Gieger, Joel Schwartz, Andrea A. Baccarelli, Alexandra Schneider and Annette Peters, Oncotarget, Oct. 25, 2016)

Also discussed here: Telomere (Wikipedia)

Today we review research conducted with older men and women (median age 74) where several measures of aging and old age illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and cognitive  abilities, were studied including chromosome characteristics (telomere length) and immune cell counts. Results indicate that air pollution exposure over a long time can damage the DNA, alter immune cell counts and add to oxidative stress with greater impact on men than women.

Telomere

Telomere (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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How does Air Pollution and Noise from Road Traffic affect Blood Pressure?

Long-term exposure to ambient air pollution and traffic noise and incident hypertension in seven cohorts of the European study of cohorts for air pollution effects (ESCAPE) (Abstract, Kateryna B Fuks, Gudrun Weinmayr, Xavier Basagaña, Olena Gruzieva, Regina Hampel, Bente Oftedal, Mette Sørensen, Kathrin Wolf, Geir Aamodt, Gunn Marit Aasvang, Inmaculada Aguilera, Thomas Becker, Rob Beelen, Bert Brunekreef, Barbara Caracciolo, Josef Cyrys, Roberto Elosua, Kirsten Thorup Eriksen, Maria Foraster, Laura Fratiglioni, Agneta Hilding, Danny Houthuijs, Michal Korek, Nino Künzli, Jaume Marrugat, Mark Nieuwenhuijsen, Claes-Göran Östenson, Johanna Penell, Göran Pershagen, Ole Raaschou-Nielsen, Wim Swart Jr, Annette Peters, Barbara Hoffmann, European Heart Journal, Oct. 24, 2016)

Also discussed here: World’s largest study shows effects of long-term exposure to air pollution and traffic noise on blood pressure (ScienceDaily, Oct. 25, 2016)

Today we review research based on the effects of traffic –related air pollution and noise in five countries for 5-9 years. Results indicate that the risk of high blood pressure or hypertension increased by 20%  for those who live in more polluted areas (for every increase of 5 µg/m3 of PM2.5) and by 6% for those living in areas with a higher level of noise. Air pollution was higher in Germany and Spain than in Scandinavian countries and the combination of air and noise pollution was higher in Spain and Sweden.

Car owners request measures against traffic no...

Car owners request measures against traffic noise for the road at their home, a typical Nimby (Not In My Backyard) situation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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The Tire and Brake Share of Traffic-Related Air Pollution

Air pollution: Tyre and brake fatigue compound an exhausting problem (OECD, Shayne MacLachlan, OECD Environment Directorate, Sep.8, 2016)

Today we review research into the impact of particles generated from tires and brake wear. The amount of particulate matter for an average urban arterial road with 25K vehicles per day can produce up to 9 kg of dust per km- bigger roads or highways with 100K VPD can produce four times that. Recycled tires from the billion cars in the road globally into materials used in playgrounds is being called the new asbestos. Banning petrol powered cars from cities to encourage e-cars and cycling means less emissions from the tailpipe and good for carbon emission reduction but it also means the same wear and particles from brakes and tires, in terms of air pollution and health, even from bicycles!

Studded tyre Español: Neumático de invierno co...

Studded tyre Español: Neumático de invierno con clavos, modelo Nokian Hakkapeliitta 4 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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The Future of the World and Cities in It

Urban futures: anticipating a world of cities (6 page pdf, Geci Karuri-Sebina, Karel-Herman Haegeman and Apiwat Ratanawaraha, Foresight, Sep. 10, 2016)

Today we review an introduction to a series of papers on cities from a foresight point of view. It begins with a prediction that the city has evolved from the city-state in Ancient Greece to city-worlds in the next 100 years. By 2050, 70% of the world’s population will live in urban areas, compared to 54% today. While cities can improve economic prosperity, reducing poverty and becoming more inclusive socially, there are also downside risks of unemployment and poverty, as well as tensions based on religion, race and values – in addition to the major health threats that resulting congestion and emissions from downtown traffic where city government has not taken steps to alleviate. While cities are good at generating problems they also have a problem solving capability. The paper ends on an optimistic note: “In a world that increasingly appears ungovernable, cities – not states – are the islands of governance on which the future world order will be built”- something that those who try to come to grips with climate change and urban air pollution need to acknowledge and take count of in reducing carbon emissions and adapting to the challenge.

Indoor and Built Environment

Indoor and Built Environment (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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How Polluted is Rome’s Air?

Assessment of the Air Pollution Level in the City of Rome (Italy) (15 page pdf, Gabriele Battista, Tiziano Pagliaroli, Luca Mauri, Carmine Basilicata and Roberto De Lieto Vollaro, Sustainability, Aug. 23, 2016)

Today we review an assessment of urban pollution in Italy’s largest city, Rome, whose population in the metropolitan area reaches 4.3 million. Emissions from private vehicles, used by 60% of the population, are the main source of pollution, particularly in winter,  with peaks twice daily at rush hour, like many other large cities in the developed world. PM2.5 is one of a small number of pollutants with major health impacts as well as damage to monuments and historical buildings n the urban area which are many in this city with a long history. Reduction or elimination of the post polluting vehicles (Euro class 0,1  and 2) is seen as the most effective way to reduce pollution levels.

rome-obs-stns

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How well did London’s Congestion Charge Perform?

London Congestion Pricing – Implications for Other Cities (5 page pdf, Todd Litman, CESifo DICE Report 3/2005, Mar. 2005)

Today we review a paper that assessed the performance of the London Congestion Charge after it had operated for 2 years. The winners include bus and taxi users, pedestrians and cyclists  and motorists with high value trips and most city centre businesses with congestion delays reduced reduced by 50% and net annual revenue of 97 million UK pounds to support transit/pedestrian and cycling infrastructure. Losers include motorists with marginal value trips and riders and motorists in border areas who a 10% increase in  spillover traffic (but no more delay because of proactive action to adjust traffic signals).  The London congestion charging system was a first for Europe and probably stimulated similar initiatives in Stockholm, Sweden Trondheim, Norway and Singapore in Asia.

london-cong-ch

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How Feasible are Electric-Powered Cars for Widespread Use?

Potential for widespread electrification of personal vehicle travel in the United States (Abstract, Zachary A. Needell, James McNerney, Michael T. Chang & Jessika E. Trancik, Nature Energy, Aug. 15, 2016)
Also discussed here: Today’s electric vehicles can make a dent in climate change: Electric vehicles can meet drivers’ needs enough to replace 90 percent of vehicles now on the road (Science Daily, Aug. 15, 2016)
And here: Low-carbon infrastructure strategies for cities (Abstract, C. A. Kennedy, N. Ibrahim & D. Hoornweg, Nature climate change, Mar.16,2014)

Today we review research into the feasibility of widespread use of e-cars for urban transportation. Results indicate that 87% of current needs can easily be met by today’s electric vehicle technology, noting the obstacles that are holding back their full acceptance can or will be overcome. The need to charge batteries can be done overnight or during the day in parking facilities. The relative short driving range can be overcome for driving long distances by utilizing alternatives such as car-sharing with conventional vehicles or by purchasing a second car for those needs. Converting 90% of today’s vehicles to electric power would reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the USA by 30% – or more if power came from utilities with lower carbon fuel use.

charging-ecar
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Exposure to Traffic-Related Air Pollution (TRAP) by Children up to 15 Years Old

Long-term air pollution exposure and lung function in 15 year-old adolescents living in an urban and rural area in Germany: The GINIplus and LISAplus cohorts (Abstract,  Elaine Fuertes, Johannes Bracher , Claudia Flexeder , Iana Markevych , Claudia Klümper, Barbara Hoffmann , Ursula Krämer, Andrea von Berg , Carl-Peter Bauer , Sibylle Koletzko , Dietrich Berdel, Joachim Heinrich, Holger Schulz, International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, Mar. 2015)

Today we review research that tries to answer the question of whether exposure to traffic-related air pollution by children has both a short term and long term effect on their lung development. Results indicate that while no link was found between long term exposure on lung development, that those who had asthma did show a link with long term exposure to NO2. It was also observed that the impact of short term exposure may be reversible later in their lives.

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How Can Self-Driving Cars Improve Mobility in Cities?

NACTO Policy Statement on Automated Vehicles (4 page pdf, National Association of City Transportation Officials, Jun. 22, 2016)

Also discussed here: NACTO Releases Policy Recommendations for the Future of Automated Vehicles – New disruptive technology has the potential to remake city streets, and policies must directly address their expected widespread impact on safety, mobility, and land use (Press Release, National Association of City Transportation Officials, Jun. 23, 2016)

Today we review a policy statement by an association made up of municipal transportation planners from 40 major cities in the USA that transforming cities constrained by congestion and old vehicle technology to future ones where automated cars improve mobility and safety by all modes of transportation, not just for cars but even that could be much better. Automated cars offer a way to dramatically increase the capacity of (and lower the capital and maintenance costs) city roads and highways as well as making them safer for pedestrians and cyclists by imposing a speed limit of 25 mph. They will also offer more space in cities for homes and businesses by virtually eliminating the need for on and off street parking – a function that today covers as much as 40% of urban areas in the form of parking lots and driveways

English: Disruptive technology graph

English: Disruptive technology graph (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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A Congestion Charge for Downtown Toronto: An Analysis

Revenue Options Study: Cordon Congestion Charges (185 page pdf, KPMG for City of Toronto, Jun. 2016)

Also discussed here: Report lays out hundreds of millions in potential new tax dollars for Toronto (Jeff Gray, Toronto Globe and Mail, Jun. 21, 2016)

Today we review a report by KPMG for the City of Toronto in which the option of a morning rush hour congestion charge is considered in the Toronto downtown south of the 401 between Bathurst and Bayview. Another road pricing option:applying a toll on the Don Valley Expressway is not included in this study and is being considered separately. A daily charge of $5 to $20 at each cordon would yield up to $377M/year in net revenue with 33% overhead. This in turn would cost the average household in Toronto $120 /year with 35% of the revenue coming from visitors.

The overall conclusion: “In general, a cordon charge would have a positive impact by reducing traffic, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing transit ridership.” and “The net revenue from cordon charges should have a high degree of stability in the long-term.” Implementation costs for congestion charges are high enough to consider as well the option of increasing parking rates in the downtown which would bring in similar revenues (and this seems to be favoured by the Mayor).

English: Toronto Downtown Core, at nite from C...
English: Toronto Downtown Core, at nite from CN Tower. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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How Does the Cost of Urban Sprawl Compare Internationally?

Sprawl Tax: How the US stacks up internationally  ( Joe Cortright, City Commentary, Jun.7, 2016)

Also discussed here: Transportation Costs and the Spatial Organization of Economic Activity (Abstract, Stephen J. Redding, Matthew A. Turner, National Bureau of Economic Research, Jun. 2014)

Today we review a comparison of the costs of sprawl in terms of extra transportation costs for commuting and added time in traffic. Results show that the average daily commute time in the US and Canada is well above (50-62 minutes) that of 17 countries in Europe. As a percent of household income transportation costs are highest for the US at 18% (or $1,500/household )followed by Austria, Canada and Portugal at 15-16% and an average of 12.8% overall (where the higher fuel prices in Europe are countered by the longer commute trips in the US and Canada).

sprawl tax

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Are Plug-In Hybrids the Best Option until Electric Cars Become More Common?

Going the Extra Mile – Intelligent Energy Management of Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (6 page pdf, Kanok Boriboonsomsin, Guoyuan Wu, and Matthew Barth, ACCESS, University of California, May 2016)

Today we review some testing of energy management strategies to find the optimum use of the battery in a plug-in hybrid while minimizing the use of carbon fuel. This is in the context of the fact that electric cars are less than 1% of all cars in many parts of the USA and Canada and that in some regions of those countries (for example, California, Ontario, Quebec) electric power is produced from carbon free energy sources. Results indicate that if electric energy use is restricted to when the battery level is between 20 and 80% charged (such as in stop and go traffic or going downhill) then the fuel use is minimized.  Overall gasoline consumption can be reduced by between 9 and 14% over what a normal hybrid electric car would achieve which in turn is twice as efficient as car that uses only gasoline. This is true if the power used to charge the battery some from renewable energy (hydro or nuclear).

plug in hybrid diagram

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Microspatial Hotspot Variability of Urban Air Pollution

Use of an exposure model to explore the impact of residential proximity to a highway on exposures to air pollutants of an ambient origin (Abstract, Woodrow Pattinson , John Langstaff, Ian Longley, Simon Kingham, Atmospheric Environment, May 2016)

Today we review research into the distribution of air pollution at a higher resolution than many urban studies, looking at how it changes during the day and within neighbourhoods and between streets in New Zealand’s capital city of Auckland. Fixed air monitoring stations either close to traffic or away from it tend to miss high resolution pollution hotspots both in time and space. In this study, a specially instrumented bicycle was used to measure carbon monoxide (CO) and particulate matter (PM10) over different times of the day and for different streets in an area that was subdivided by a highway with traffic. Results indicated that while emissions from highway traffic dominated the morning rush hour, that the queued stop and go nature of street level pollution reached a peak during the mid-day and afternoon. Studies such as this need to be considered for the placement of populations whose health is at risk due to air pollution, such as early childhood centres and the elderly in retirement homes (which should be separated by at least 100 m from major roads).

bycycle AQ monitoring

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When Will the Corner Gas Station Disappear?

End Of Gas Stations III: Coming To A Corner Near You (Walker Angell , Streets.mn, Apr.8, 2016)

Today we review a forward looking article that predicts, on the basis of recent sales of electric vehicles and longer range because of battery technology improvements, that this may well be the last decade that we see, let alone buy an internal combustion engine vehicle. Several car manufacturers are already planning on major increased production of BEVs [battery electric vehicles] by 2020 and the market share of these vehicles has been increasing by 60% per year in recent years. Further, as battery efficiency continues fewer people will buy hybrid cars, preferring to jump to all electric with greater ranges. On the horizon this will have a major and positive impact on urban air quality.

gas station

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What is the Local Environmental Impact of Fracking?

Investigating the traffic-related environmental impacts of hydraulic-fracturing (fracking) operations (13 page pdf, Paul S. Goodman, Fabio Galatioto, Neil Thorpe, Anil K. Namdeo, Richard J. Davies, Roger N. Bird, Environment International, Feb. 1, 2016)

Today we review an aspect of fracking, not often investigated: the impact of local fracking wells which is a combination of the air pollution emissions from the fracking itself and the removal of waste water by tanker trucks which adds vehicle emissions and noise. There is a requirement for 9,000 to 29,000 cubic metres per well, or 54,000 to 174,000 cubic metres for a six-well pad. Total CO2 emissions associated with extraction of shale gas from a well were small (0.2–2.9%) compared to the combustion of the gas from the well. Modelling of NOx emissions showed increases reaching 30% over non-fracking periods and noise levels doubling.

fracking traffic

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What are the Overall Benefits of Road Pricing beyond Revenue Generation and Congestion Management?

Next Generations of Road Pricing: Social Welfare Enhancing (15 page pdf, Omid M. Rouhani, Sustainability, Mar.11, 2016)

Today we review a paper that looks beyond the two factors often used to justify road pricing: raising cash and reducing traffic congestion. Some of those factors are public acceptability, equity and the fact that only 26% of the important factors are generic- much depends on local factors that differ from one location to another – which perhaps explains why congestion pricing (and carbon taxes for that matter) are overwhelmingly accepted in places such as Stockholm and British Columbia but vigorously rejected by the public in many US and Canadian cities.

Some of the implementation decisions involve the spillover of traffic from a tolled road to its neighbours (which supports the notion of tolling existing roads and not just new ones) and then need for alternatives to road use (i.e. walking, cycling, public transit) for those who need to travel and the need for flexibility in terms of the rate to be charged and finally the need to make clear at the onset the overall benefits or welfare to the travelling public.

road pricing welfare

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The Relationship between Traffic-Related Air Pollution and the Incidence of Parkinson’s Disease.

Traffic-Related Air Pollution and Parkinson’s Disease in Denmark: A Case–Control Study (6 page pdf, Beate Ritz, Pei-Chen Lee, Johnni Hansen, Christina Funch Lassen, Matthias Ketzel, Mette Sørensen, and Ole Raaschou-Nielsen, Environmental Health Perspectives, Mar. 1, 2016)

Today we review research into the relationship between exposure to traffic-related air pollution and the incidence of Parkinson’s Disease, the second most common neurodegenerative disorder. Results from a large sample over 15 years  in Denmark indicates that this exposure increases the incidence of PD.

Histological sample of Substantia nigra in Par...

Histological sample of Substantia nigra in Parkinson’s disease. A. SNpc neuron with a Lewy body, extracellular neuromelanin and pigment-laden macrophages. Haematoxylin/Eosin stain, 500×. B. Alpha-synuclein-positive Lewy neurit, 400×. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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How is Traffic-Related Air Pollution Related to Dementia?

Traffic-Related Air Pollution and Dementia Incidence in Northern Sweden: A Longitudinal Study (7 Page pdf, Anna Oudin, Bertil Forsberg, Annelie Nordin Adolfsson, Nina Lind, Lars Modig, Maria Nordin, Steven Nordin, Rolf Adolfsson, and Lars-Göran Nilsson, Environmental Health Perspectives, Mar. 1, 2016)

Today we review research which assessed the exposure of a cohort of elderly patients (79-81 years old) to traffic related air pollution (represented by NO2) in a northern Swedish city. Conclusions included observed associations between dementia incidence and local traffic pollution. The magnitude of the association was similar for both Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.  The importance of further research  is underlined by the predicted tripling of Alzheimer’s Disease over the next 40 years unless preventive measures are taken.

sweden dementia no2

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Does the End of Privately-Owned Cars Mean the End of Parking ?

The High Cost of Minimum Parking Requirements (27 page pdf, Donald Shoup, Transport and Sustainability, 2014)

Also discussed here: Autonomous cars and the end of parking (Scott Forman, sjforman, Feb 21. 2016)

Today we review an intriguing column that looks at the problem presented in many cities by mandated indoor parking requirements and outdoor parking spaces that create as much as 40% of the paved urban surface area- as well as requiring the use of carbon-based asphalt in their construction and maintenance and an added building cost of $32K per space. One result of autonomous, self- driving cars could be no need for parking spaces, especially privately-owned ones, as the robot cars will continue to move around the city to meet demand and, when not needed, will simply drive to unused parking spaces in the outskirts.  Talk about killing two birds with one stone- end vehicles emissions with electric robot cars and make much better use of the wasted space now solely dedicated to parking.

LAPARKING CRATER

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What Toxic Metals Come out of the Catalytic Converters on Car Mufflers?

Analysis of model Pd- and Pt-containing contaminants in aqueous media using ESI-MS and the fragment partitioning approach (Abstract, Leonid V. Romashov, Gleb D. Rukhovichb and Valentine P. Ananikov, RSC Advances, Institute of Organic Chemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences, Dec. 7, 2015)

Also discussed here: What happens with the environment when your car moves? (ScienceDaily. Jan.13 2016)

Today we review research from Russia into the inadvertent release of toxic metals from catalytic converters (or autocatalyst as it is termed here) which convert exhaust gases such as NOx, CO and other dangerous compounds to CO2, water and nitrogen. However, contact with water leaches the precious metals such as paladium, platinum and rhodium into toxic clusters – how toxic must be evaluated in the future but may put into question the role of the converters.

muffler metals

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Reduce Carbon Gas Emissions using Diesel Vehicles or Eliminate Particulates – a choice between Mitigating Climate Change or Health Impacts

Beyond a One-Time Scandal: Europe’s Ongoing Diesel Pollution Problem (4 page pdf, Charles W. Schmidt, Environ Health Perspect, Jan. 2, 2016)
Today we review a recent assessment of the role of diesel vehicles in causing PM2.5 and NO2 and greater mortality as a result while also being the technology of choice, particularly in Europe with over 50% of vehicles with it, to reduce C02 emissions and mitigate climate change. The comparison with the US and Canada is striking where less than 3% of vehicles are diesel and CO2 emissions have soared from gasoline powered vehicles and less attention to emission reduction than in the EU. Clearly an optimum choice or balance needs to be made that looks at both the immediate health impacts of diesel and the equally important need to reduce carbon emissions.

diesel pm eu

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Where is the Worst Traffic Congestion in Canada?

How Bad is the Traffic Where You Live? (Zack Gallinger and Arik Motskin, The 10 and 3, Dec. 10, 2015)

Also discussed here: Which Canadian city has the worst traffic? (Alexandra Pope, Canadiana Geographic, Dec. 10, 2015)
And here: Vancouver has the worst traffic in Canada, new congestion study claims (Jake Edmiston, National Post, Mar. 31, 2015)

And here: TomTom Traffic Index – Measuring congestion worldwide (TomTom, 2016)

Today we review new data showing which city has the worst traffic. By one measure, TomTom’s 2014 traffic index show Vancouver with 35% as the worst, followed by Toronto (31%), Ottawa (28%) and Montreal during the day but this changes during the evening rush hour to Toronto and Vancouver tied at 66% followed by Ottawa at 63%. Another measure, the average stretch multiplier, the ratio between free flowing and congested traffic, shows Toronto as the clear winner/loser with 2.8 with Calgary and Ottawa gaining rapidly as equally sprawled and growing large cities.

canada_traffic_map

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Where does the Particulate Matter in Cities Come From?

Contributions to cities’ ambient particulate matter (PM): A systematic review of local source contributions at global level (9 page pdf, Federico Karagulian, Claudio A. Belis, Carlos Francisco C. Dora, Annette M. Prüss-Ustün b, Sophie Bonjour b, Heather Adair-Rohani b, Markus Amann, Atmopsheric Environment, Nov. 2015)

Also discussed here: Urban air pollution: What are the main sources across the world? (Science Daily, Dec. 1, 2015)

Today we summarize the results of a paper that reviewed sources of PM2.5 and PM10 in 51 countries. By far the greatest source globally is traffic-related urban air pollution which amounted to 25% of ambient PM. The highest traffic emissions come from North America, Western Europe, Turkey and the Republic of Korea. The highest industrial pollution was found in Japan, Middle East and Southern Asia, Turkey, Brazil, Central Europe, and South Eastern Asia.

pollution sources

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Is Now the Time to Price Traffic Congestion in Large Canadian Cities?

We Can’t Get There From Here: Why Pricing Traffic Congestion Is Critical To Beating It (59 page pdf, Chris Ragan, Elizabeth Beale, Paul Boothe, Mel Cappe, Bev Dahlby, Don Drummond, Stewart Elgie, Glen Hodgson, Paul Lanoie, Richard Lipsey, Nancy Olewiler, France St-Hilaire, Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission, Nov. 1, 2015)

Today we review a comprehensive and up to date look at the state of traffic congestion in Canada and has key recommendations to implement congestion pricing in its four largest cities. The first recommends tailoring the approach to the particular needs of the city- whether it is HOT lanes in the GTA and Calgary or applying variable pricing to the bridges or tunnels that connect Vancouver and Montreal to the mainland. Provincial governments are essential to provide funding for pilot projects to get the public used to and supportive of pricing, as well as providing the legislative authority to implement them in municipal jurisdictions that often overlap responsibility for roads and corridors. The federal government as well must share the costs- what a better time than now for the newly elected government in Ottawa? The drop in oil and gas prices (which may rise again in the next few years) also presents an opportunity to generate revenue from traffic congestion pricing without inflicting undue harm on the economy and the driving public.

cdn traffic pricing

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Is Exposure to Short-term Roadside Emissions a Greater Health Risk for Children?

Greater nitrogen dioxide concentrations at child versus adult breathing heights close to urban main road kerbside (7 page pf, Hannah S. Kenagy, Chun Lin, Hao Wu & Mathew R. Heal, Air Qual Atmos Health, Sep. 3, 2015)

Roadside emissions have been shown to pose a health threat for people living or travelling close to the roads but the studies have been restricted to measuring the exposure several metres above ground rather than at the same level as the exhaust itself or for people breathing in the pollution at different heights. Today we review research into this question with a focus on how this may pose a greater threat for children either walking or in a stroller/buggie at lower heights than their accompanying adults. Results indicate that NO2 concentration levels are 5 to 15% higher closer to the ground within 1.2 m of the side of the road or curb- with other actors such as windspeed kept constant. This has health implications for children near roads with heavy traffic (above 12,000 vehicles per day which is typical for a 2 lane busy urban road) and might suggest a greater setback for sidewalks for example.

Nitrogen dioxide, a large contributor to the p...

Nitrogen dioxide, a large contributor to the production of smog (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Why Not Apply the User Pay Principle to Road Users? A Case for Road Pricing

Who Pays for Roads? – How the “Users Pay” Myth Gets in the Way of Solving America’s Transportation Problems (45 page pdf, Tony Dutzik and Gideon Weissman, Phineas Baxandall, Frontier Group U.S. PIRG Education Fund, May 5, 2015)

Also discussed here: Report: 21st Century Transportation (Press Release, Frontier Group U.S. PIRG Education Fund, May 5, 2015)

Today we review an analysis of road costs in the USA (also applies to Canada) which shows increasingly that the tax on fuel for vehicles pays less and less of the overall costs for roads which include construction and maintenance, snow clearance, the health costs of air pollution from vehicle emissions, etc that amount to $10 to $40 B/ year attributable to driving. This is more than the costs of transit, passenger rail travel, cycling and walking combined. The balance of the costs not funded from gas taxes is borne by property taxes and general tax revenue which, in cities such as Ottawa, Canada’s capital, is more than the cost of police services or public transit. This is a clear call for road pricing which would relieve the tax burden of those who do not use roads and go beyond flat and partially subsidized road tolls.

user pay for roads

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Is there a Link between Childhood Leukemia and Roadside Emissions from Traffic?

Residential Proximity to Heavy-Traffic Roads, Benzene Exposure, and Childhood Leukemia—The GEOCAP Study, 2002–2007 (Abstract, Jennifer Houot, Fabienne Marquant, Stéphanie Goujon, Laure Faure, Cécile Honoré, Marie-Hélène Roth, Denis Hémon and Jacqueline Clavel, Am. J. Epidemiol., Sep. 15, 2015)
Also discussed here: Study of leukemias in children living close to heavily used roads. (ScienceDaily, Sep. 17, 2015)
Today we review research conducted in France with 5 years of data to explore the incidence of leukemia for children exposed to roadside emissions. Results indicate that while there is no significant link with nitrogen dioxide, there is a 30% greater frequency of myeloblastic type leukemia for children living within 150 m of heavy traffic when there is also a higher concentration of benzene in the emissions.

BONE MARROW: ACUTE MYELOBLASTIC LEUKEMIA WITH ...

BONE MARROW: ACUTE MYELOBLASTIC LEUKEMIA WITH MATURATION (AML-M2) Bone marrow smear from a patient with acute myeloblastic leukemia with maturation showing several blasts with prominent nucleoli, a promyelocyte, and a myelocyte. Two of the blasts contain prominent Auer rods. (Wright-Giemsa stain) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Using Congestion Pricing to Reduce Carbon Emissions

Research on Urban Road Congestion Pricing Strategy Considering Carbon Dioxide Emissions (20 page pdf, Yitian Wang, Zixuan Peng, Keming Wang, Xiaolin Song, Baozhen Yao, and Tao Feng, Sustainability, Aug. 6, 2015)

Today we review research into models of congestion pricing to reduce both traffic congestion and the emissions that are produced by stop and go traffic- something that is not usually considered when planning congestion pricing because of the difficulty in measuring actual road emissions. The fact that road emissions make up 80% of transportation GHG emissions makes this assessment very important when emission reduction, especially in cities, is the goal. Results indicate that achieving both objectives is feasible with emissions falling by 19%, and modal car use falling from 70% to 56% with increased use of public transit.

congestion pricing and ghgs

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The Main Question for Urban Planners to Resolve- Sprawl or Densification?

Density: Drivers, Dividends and Debates (32 page pdf, Greg Clark, Emily Moir, Urban Land Institute, Jun. 23, 2015)
Also discussed here: Density: Drivers, Dividends and Debates (Catherine Anderson , Urban Land Institute, Jun. 23, 2015)

A compact city tends to be more environmentally sustainable and has generally cleaner air than one that is spread out with emphasis on making it easier for people to drive to the centre of town with emphasis on roads wherever it allows them to drive more quickly. Today we review a research paper that examines the meaning(s) of urban density, explores the many myths about sprawl and intensification and suggests better designed and more sustainable cities for the future. Cities are categorized in terms of the density of their urban core, inner city and suburbs as Low-High-Low (typical of Europe), Low-Low-Low (typical of sprawled cities in USA/Canada/Australia), Low-Low-High (Toronto, Oslo), Medium-High- High (developing world cities). High density cities enjoy a number of advantages over low density ones, including walkability, natural habitats and economic waste disposal but fears of lower livability, traffic congestion and noise/pollution in high density cities need to be mitigated. Oslo and Toronto are seen as large cities where the balance is more nearly found.

Although an important factor, there is a compl...

Although an important factor, there is a complex relationship between urban densities and car use. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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How Does Traffic Related Air Pollution Affect Children’s Health?

Blood Pressure and Same-Day Exposure to Air Pollution at School: Associations with Nano-Sized to Coarse PM in Children (6 page pdf, Nicky Pieters, Gudrun Koppen, Martine Van Poppel, Sofie De Prins, Bianca Cox, Evi Dons, Vera Nelen, Luc Int Panis, Michelle Plusquin, Greet Schoeters, and Tim S. Nawrot, Environmental Health Perspectives, Jul. 2015)
Today we review research into the links between short term exposure to particulate matter of various sizes and impacts on blood pressure of school-age children who are particularly vulnerable because their higher breathing rate, as well as their generally greater activity than older people. Results indicate a clear association with Ultra Fine Particulates (diameter 20-30 nm) and higher blood pressure. In addition, repeated exposure to particulates may result in long-term chronically elevated pressures, as well as a chronic increase in arterial stiffness in children due to traffic-related air pollution.

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English: Southern end of the High Street, Keyn...
English: Southern end of the High Street, Keynsham, on a busy Saturday. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

When to Apply Maximum Charges to Relieve Congestion?

A Bathtub Model of Downtown Traffic Congestion ( 8 page pdf, Richard Arnott, ACCESS, University of California, Jun. 10, 2015)
Today we review an analysis of the degree of congestion as a function of the timing of commuting and how applying a congestion charge can alter the flow sufficiently to allow free flowing traffic. This approach is called the bathtub model as it resembles the flow of water through a drain- as the water depth builds up the drainage rate increases up to a critical point when it decreases. In the same way, traffic reaches full congestion and then the flow slows down. Applying higher tolls as the traffic begins to reach the critical point reduces the traffic density and allows the flow to increase again.

bathtub graph

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A Guide to Implement Congestion Charging

Introduction to Congestion Charging: A Guide for Practitioners in Developing Cities  (58 page pdf, Dirk Van Amelsfort and Viktoria Swedish, the Asian Development Bank,  2015)

Today we review a comprehensive guide that describes the various steps necessary to develop and then implement a successful congestion charging system, borrowing on examples of established systems in Stockholm, London and Singapore, among others. Although aimed at developing countries, many of the principles and preparations needed are common to the developed world as well – such as, being prepared with responses to eight objections or concerns often made to any such scheme. The underlying objective has to include elements of fairness of application, as well as environmental and economic benefits with as few exemptions to being charged as possible.

acceptance levels

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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

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Exposure of New Born Babies to Traffic-Related Air Pollution

Perinatal Exposure to Traffic-Related Air Pollution and Atopy at 1 Year of Age in a Multi-Center Canadian Birth Cohort Study (32 pge pdf, Hind Sbihi, Ryan W. Allen, Allan Becker, Jeffrey R. Brook, Piush Mandhane, James A. Scott, Malcolm R. Sears, Padmaja Subbarao, Tim K. Takaro, Stuart E. Turvey, and Michael Brauer, Environmental Health Perspectives, Mar. 31, 2015)

Also discussed here: Exposure to air pollution in the first year of life increases risk for allergies (ScienceDaily, May 4, 2015)

Today we review research into the impact of short and longer term exposure to traffic related pollution on one year old babies. Results indicate a greater risk of allergies, especially for those who did not attend daycares with older children who seem to offer protection.

Mast cells are involved in allergy. Allergies ...

Mast cells are involved in allergy. Allergies such as pollen allergy are related to the antibody known as IgE. Like other antibodies, each IgE antibody is specific; one acts against oak pollen, another against ragweed. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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How Will Norway Deal with Less Fuel Tax Revenue while Reducing Carbon Emissions?

Norway reviewing future of fuel tax (Road Pricing, Apr. 24, 2015)

Today we review a short note on the status of fuel taxes and road tolls in Norway which like Canada is blessed with both considerable hydroelectric power and oil and natural gas resources. Norway has a much greater network of roads with tolls as well as many more electric cars than Canada. With the drop in oil prices and, as a result, reduced revenue from fixed fuel taxes, both countries have to decide how to manage the revenue side from fuel taxes and road pricing, as well as the movement toward lower carbon emissions which has been boosted by various incentives for electric cars (which tends to favour higher income owners) which are not available for heavy vehicles and trucks. The resulting decision may favour higher tolls. This is one option not available to oil producing countries, such as the USA and Canada, where tolling is much less seen.

Norway toll roads

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If You Live Close to Traffic, Your Brain will Shrink

Long-Term Exposure to Fine Particulate Matter, Residential Proximity to Major Roads and Measures of Brain Structure  (Abstract, Elissa H. Wilker, Sarah R. Preis, Alexa S. Beiser, Philip A. Wolf, Rhoda Au, Itai Kloog, Wenyuan Li, Joel Schwartz, Petros Koutrakis, Charles DeCarli, Sudha Seshadri, Murray A. Mittleman, Strole, American Heart Association, Apr. 23, 20-15)
Also discussed here: Long-term exposure to air pollution may pose risk to brain structure, cognitive functions (ScienceDaily, Apr. 23, 2015)
And here: Air pollution could increase risk of dementia (Laura Donnelly, The Telegraph, Apr. 23, 2015)

And here: Smog may be harming your brain (Health24, Apr. 24, 2015)

Today we review research on heath impacts on the brain from long term exposure to vehicle emissions from nearby traffic. A slight increase in PM 2.5 (by 2 μg/m3) was associated with a decrease in cerebral brain volume equivalent to an extra year of aging. This suggests the air pollution is associated with structural brain aging, even in dementia, and with a 50% greater risk of having a silent stroke which results from a blockage in the blood vessels supplying the brain.. The mechanism that links the brain to air pollution is unclear but the authors suggest that inflammation from fine particles in the lungs is likely important.

 

brain_2502748b

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How Many Canadians Live Close to Vehicle Emissions from Major Roadways?

Development of a land-use regression model for ultrafine particles in Toronto, Canada (Abstract, Kelly Sabaliauskas , Cheol-Heon Jeong, Xiaohong Yao, Christopher Reali, Tim Sun, Greg J. Evans, Atmospheric Environment, Apr. 2015)

Also discussed here: Traffic emissions may pollute one in three Canadian homes (ScienceDaily, Apr. 21, 2015)
Today we review research into exposure to ultra-fine particles, especially those emitted by old vehicles. One third of all Canadians and half of the population of Toronto are exposed to health risks because they live within 250 m of a major roadway. 21,000 Canadians die prematurely each year because of air pollution and a large part of these deaths result from living too close to major roadways. Policy changes at the provincial and federal levels are needed to target older more polluting cars, as well as at the municipal level, to zoning plans to locate buildings and homes that house those most vulnerable from being close to traffic-related pollution – such as day cares, seniors residences, hospitals and schools.

toronto pm

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Urban Traffic Hotspots of Greenhouse Gas Concentrations

Cities, traffic, and CO2: A multidecadal assessment of trends, drivers, and scaling relationships (6 page pdf, Conor K. Gately, Lucy R. Hutyra, and Ian Sue Wing, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA (PNAS), Apr. 9, 2015)

Also discussed here: Maps pinpoint where cars pollute the most (Barbara Moran-Boston University, Futurity, Apr. 15, 2015)
Today we review research into the contributions that vehicles make to greenhouse gas emissions over the last 33 years on urban roads in the USA where 87% of the counties have low population densities (or are sprawled towns and cities). Results indicate that top-down estimates of national or regional GHG emissions may be as much as 50% in error unless these emissions are estimated at the scale of roads and streets (approx 1 km resolution) as opposed to estimating them from population only. The authors suggest that the contributions from on-road emissions will likely increase as population and road densities increase in the future, suggesting that carbon policy makers focus on per capita emissions (which in turn would be linked to low or high driving rates) to capture the greater emissions from urban hotspots.

CO2_map_770

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How does Traffic-Related Air Pollution Affect Babies’ Brains?

Prenatal and Childhood Traffic-Related Pollution Exposure and Childhood Cognition in the Project Viva Cohort (31 page pdf, Maria H. Harris, Diane R. Gold, Sheryl L. Rifas-Shiman, Steven J. Melly, Antonella Zanobetti, Brent A. Coull, Joel D. Schwartz, Alexandros Gryparis, Itai Kloog, Petros Koutrakis, David C. Bellinger, Roberta F. White, Sharon K. Sagiv, and Emily Oken, Environmental Health Perspectives, Apr. 3, 2015)

 

Today we review the impact of traffic- related air pollution (which includes tire wear particles and dust, as well as noise and tail pipe emissions) on the thinking or cognitive abilities of babies. Results indicate lower IQs (by 7.5 points) –both verbal and non-verbal– for children who, at birth, were living less than 50 m from heavy traffic. It also indicates that exposure during gestation or early childhood is more important than proximity to pollution later in childhood.

 

Category:Educational research

Category:Educational research (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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What are the Characteristics of Traffic Congestion?

Traffic Scorecard (INRIX)

Also discussed here: The 100 most congested cities in Europe and North America (The Guardian, Jul. 7, 2014)

And here: Economic & Environmental Impact of Traffic Congestion in Europe & the US (INRIX)

And here: Annual Cost of Gridlock in Europe and the US will Increase 50 Percent on Average to $293 Billion by 2030 (INRIX Press Release, Oct. 14, 2014)

And here: Key Findings (INRIX, 2013)

Today we review an analysis of traffic congestion in Europe and US/Canada carried out by INRIX which reveal a number of interesting trends and characteristics as well as a ranking of countries and cities where it is worse. Although many assume Canada and the USA are similar in many respects, in traffic congestion (and often in hockey) Canada is #1 as a country although its two of its biggest cities are #4 (Montreal) and # 10 (Toronto) – which means that its medium sized cities are likely more congested than their American counterparts. Traffic is highest during week-day rush hours but who knew that Tuesday morning and Friday afternoon were the worst? While Belgium’s congestion is the worst in Europe (followed by the UK, Holland and Italy) and North America, Milano, Italy tops the list as the most congested city (followed by Honolulu, London and Los Angeles). And, unchecked, it will get worse. Congestion cost individual drivers, on average, $1, 740 each year and this is predicted to more than double by 2030 to $2,902. Managing the flow of traffic in real-time is helped by the 80% of vehicles that will be able to monitor and manage traffic conditions by onboard GPS technology. This also suggests (to this reviewer at least) that an opportunity exists to apply real-time congestion charging as well to reduce peak flows and associated traffic-related air pollution.

congestion by hour

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How Does Public Policy Encourage Sprawl?

Analysis of Public Policies That Unintentionally Encourage and Subsidize Urban Sprawl (89 page pdf, Todd Litman, Victoria Transport Policy Institute, Mar. 2015)
Also discussed here: Sprawl costs US more than a trillion dollars a year (Robert Steuteville, Better Cities & Towns, Mar. 20, 2015)
Today we review a report on the costs produced by sprawl which is usually associated with low gas prices which leads to an addiction to cars and long commutes and all of the negative environmental impacts that follow. The report while acknowledging this also points to urban planning policies that encourage sprawl including underpricing of public infrastructure in the suburbs, underpricing of motor vehicle travel which leads to demands for more roadway supply (as shown below) and policy that favours mobility over accessibility and automobile travel over other less environmentally harmful modes. The other side of the coin is toward more compact urban areas which in turn favours walking and cycling and less road building and maintenance costs among others.

sprawl and demand for space

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Why is Vancouver the Greenest City in the world and How is it Planning to Be Better?

Eleven Reasons to Support Vancouver’s Transportation Tax  (11 page pdf, Todd Litman, Victoria Transport Policy Institute, Mar. 19, 2015)

Also discussed here: The case for the mayors’ transit plan — 10 reasons to vote Yes – For one thing, the tax increase of about $200 per household would finance savings of $1,000 (Don Cayo, Vancouver Sun, Mar. 31, 2015)

transit ridership

 

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How Much Does Idling at Red Lights Contribute to Urban Air Pollution?

Characterisation of nanoparticle emissions and exposure at traffic intersections through fast–response mobile and sequential measurements (17 page pdf, Anju Goela, Prashant Kumar, Atmospheric Environment, Feb. 3, 2015)

Also discussed here: Stopping at red lights exposes drivers to high levels of air pollution (ScienceDaily, Feb.12, 2015)

And here: Red Lights Are Air Pollution Hotspots (Jenna Iacurci, Nature World News, Feb. 21, 2015)

Today we review research into the role that traffic lights play in adding to the exposure of drivers, pedestrians and the nearby environment to toxic vehicle emissions. Results indicate that the 2% of time on the road spent idling at traffic lights contributes 25% to the exposure to particulate matter from emissions. The tendency for cars to be close together while waiting at red lights adds to the concentration of the pollution emitted and the development of urban “hot spots”. Adding to the pollution is frequent acceleration and braking that takes place along a road with signalized lights. Not directly mentioned are the benefits of using modern roundabouts to avoid these periods of pollution while idling.

traffic intersection hot spots

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How Well is Congestion Pricing Accepted?

How Does Congestion Pricing Affect Household Behavior? (Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, Mat. 4, 2015)

Also discussed here: Effects of Full-Facility Variable Tolling on Traveler Behavior: Evidence from a Panel Study of the SR-520 Corridor in Seattle

(115 page pdf, Report for Federal Highway Administration, Mar. 2014)
And here: Effects of an HOV-2 to HOT-3 Conversion on Traveler Behavior: Evidence from a Panel Study of the I-85 Corridor in Atlanta  (187 pg pdf, Report for Federal Highway Administration, Apr.11. 2014)
Today we review before and after reports from two large American cities (Seattle, Atlanta) following introduction of congestion pricing on a bridge (Seattle) and on a HOV lane (Atlanta). Results indicate a decline of trips by 15-18%, a greater use of tolled segments by drivers with high incomes, a greater acceptance (40%) for tolling after introduction compared to before (25%) and a large drop in concern about the impact of tolling on low income users (from 74% to 57%). The key to successful implementation appears to be clear prior communication to the public on the need for congestion pricing.

tolling bridge

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