The Effects of Traffic on Human Health of Local Residents

Meijer, A. (2003). The Effects of Traffic on Human Health of Local Residents. IIASA Interim Report. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: IR-03-047

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In this study, a model is proposed to evaluate the local human health damage caused by (changes in) road traffic on a particular road. These damages are due to global health effects occurring due to the traffic life cycle, as assessed in standard life cycle assessments, and to exposure of local residents to noise and outdoor pollutants originating from road traffic on the road considered. The results of this model were compared with the global human health damage occurring in the life cycle of both traffic and dwellings.

The fate factor calculation for pollutants is based on the Dutch CAR model, which relates traffic densities to pollutant concentrations at the facade of dwellings, and on an indoor airflow and exposure model. The effect and damage factors for pollutants are derived from the Eco-Indicator 99 methodology. For noise, the calculation of the fate, effect and damage factor is derived from a methodology developed by the Swiss Agency for the Environment, Forests and Landscape SAEFL to integrate the human health effects of noise due to road traffic in life cycle assessments.

It appears that for someone living in a dwelling along a street local health damage due to changes in road traffic situations may be of the same order of magnitude as the human health damage associated with the life cycle of dwellings as calculated by standard LCA methodologies. Compared to the human health damage occurring in the life cycle of vehicles as calculated by standard LCA procedures, the local human health damage may be two to three orders of magnitude larger. The local human health effects due to (changes in) road traffic situations thus cannot be neglected when carrying out life cycle assessments of dwellings or complete residential areas.

For the road studied, the magnitude of the effect of a decrease in road traffic density on the human health are smaller when the initial number of cars per hour is smaller than 50 or when the distance of the facade to the road axis is more than eight meter. This is because for noise levels there are thresholds to impact.

In the future, the improvement of the model, the addition of the effects of other means of transport and the assessment of real neighborhoods might be carried out.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Interim Report)
Research Programs: General Research (GEN)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 02:15
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:18

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