Methods for Estimating the Environmental Health Impacts of SRTS Programs (National Center for Safe Routes to School, 2012)

This report explores environmental health and Safe Routes to School through a review of the relationship between environmental health and school travel, a discussion on measuring the environmental health impacts of school travel, and five examples of methods used by SRTS programs to estimate the impact of their activities on local air quality and carbon dioxide emissions.

Carmaggedon leads to significantly better air quality

As Los Angeles-area residents were preparing for “Carmageddon II” – the second scheduled closing in two years of 10 miles of Interstate 405, the busiest highway in the country, to complete bridge work – research findings were released showing almost instantaneous improvements in air quality during the original Camageddon in July 15-17, 2011. Unfortunately, the effect was reversed soon after the freeway re-opened.

Local air quality benefits of street-level foliage much greater than previously thought

In a recently released study, researchers in the UK have found that street-level plantings can reduce two of the dominant pollutants—particulate matter (PM10) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2)—by 60 and 40 percent, respectively, in urban street “canyons.” Previous city-scale studies had estimated that vegetation could only reduce levels of pollution by less than 5 percent.

Southern California Association of Governments adopts strong sustainability plan

On April 3, the Southern California Association of Governments unanimously adopted a 25 year transportation plan that focuses on transit, road maintenance, walking, biking, sustainability, land use, and reduction of greenhouse gases. Local officials and citizen’s groups alike hailed it as a significant change in strategy for a region notorious for clogged freeways and the worst air quality in the nation.

The Colorado Energy Smart Transportation Initiative: A Framework for Considering Energy in Transportation (SSTI and Colorado DOT, 2012)

The mission of Colorado’s Energy Smart Transportation Initiative was to develop a framework for considering energy efficiency and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in transportation decision-making. With SSTI assistance, a collaborative team composed of federal and state agencies, MPOs, and rural planning partners came together to leverage resources and promote efficiency and effectiveness among agencies by exploring ways to develop “energy smart transportation” strategies. This report includes strategies developed to incorporate energy efficiency and GHG emissions in transportation planning, increase energy efficiency and reduce GHG emissions from transportation, advance environmentally friendly alternative vehicle and fuel technologies, and increase efficiency through truck fleet enhancements, improved traveler information, and other methods.