Down to the Meter: Localized Vehicle Pollution

Douglas Houston, Jun Wu, Paul Ong, and Arthur Winer

Air pollution control programs have helped improve many aspects of regional air quality over the past thirty years despite tremendous growth in both population and vehicle-miles traveled. However, regional strategies to confront vehicle-related pollution are proving to be insufficient to protect the health of those who live, work, attend school, or play near major roadways. Recent air pollution and epidemiological findings suggest that harmful vehicle-related pollutants and their associated adverse health effects concentrate within a couple hundred meters of heavily traveled freeways and thoroughfares. We’re just beginning to understand the health and economic costs of such localized effects, and we still know little about who is exposed to these pollutants.

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