Case Studies Highlight Ways to Prevent Exposure to Traffic Related Air Pollutants

An article in the June, 2015, edition of the journal Environmental Justice notes that “the literature consistently shows associations of adverse cardiovascular and pulmonary outcomes with residential proximity to highways and major roadways.” Low-income communities and communities of color disproportionately reside near high-volume roadways and thus face increased exposures to such pollutants.

The authors write that “community-level tactics for reducing exposure include the following: 1) high-efficiency particulate arrestance (HEPA) filtration; 2) appropriate air-intake locations; 3) sound proofing, insulation; 4) land-use buffers; 5) vegetation or wall barriers; 6) street-side trees, hedges and vegetation; 7) decking over highways; 8) urban design including placement of buildings; 9) garden and park locations; and 10) active-travel locations, including bicycling and walking paths.”

A design team tested “the feasibility of incorporating these tactics into near-highway housing and school developments that were in the planning stages. The resulting designs successfully utilized many of the protective tactics and also led to engagement with the designers and developers of the sites.”

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