Resource scarcity may slow EV transition

Numerous factors may scuttle an anticipated fuel-price driven boost to electric vehicle adoption. Due to shortages, manufacturers may not be able to ramp up production to meet demand, and the cost and availability of materials may raise the sticker price, along with the environmental sacrifice. EV manufacturers are also not immune to the resistance faced by industrial development in general.

Surging demand for goods increases pollution risks to vulnerable communities

Low-income neighborhoods and communities of color are burdened disproportionately with pollution from the transportation sector, say researchers and journalists. Often these neighborhoods, sometimes clustered in proximity to high traffic or industrial areas, show elevated disease levels when compared to majority white communities located in areas of lower emissions. Not only does the proximity to heavily trafficked roads and highways increase risk, the recent rise in consumer demand, and other supply chain factors, have increased the risk of exposure to harmful emissions emanating from ports.

Planning for an uncertain future

Traffic forecasts and other projections are often presented as a single line on a graph or number in a chart. But we know—now more than ever—that these predictions are full of uncertainties. The Sacramento Council of Governments (SACOG), for a new study in JAPA, puts hard numbers to some of those uncertainties in order to plan better for them.

Exposure to particulate pollution shown to increase COVID-19 death rate

A new paper under review presents evidence that exposure to pollution—including that from motor vehicles—reduces the survival rate of individuals who have contracted COVID-19. Those most at risk of death have underlying diseases which may be due to, or exacerbated by, long-term pollution exposure. This adds to the mounting awareness that disadvantaged communities may disproportionately bear the brunt of the effects of COVID-19.

Major American automakers eying SUVs over electric vehicles

Transitioning to electric power has been a major focus of state and local agencies trying to meet ambitious emissions reduction goals. That involves rolling out more charging stations, bolstering the grid, and offering incentives for drivers to go electric; but consumers will also need plenty of cars to choose from. American-made options, however, are going to be limited.

Residential exposure to local traffic emissions associated with higher risk of stroke

A recent study finds that long-term residential exposure to locally emitted black carbon—primarily from traffic exhaust—is associated with higher stroke incidence. BC comprises a significant portion of particulate matter. Although BC is a known health hazard with health effects that are especially pronounced in populations in dense urban areas, the U.S. does not currently include it as a separate criteria pollutant in its National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

Proximity to highways affects long-term school performance

A study from the National Bureau of Economic Research extends our knowledge of the effects of attending school near major roadways. Previous studies have found short-term effects on test scores, behavior, and school absences on days of poor air quality, but this new research shows that long-term school performance and test scores can be affected by attending school downwind of highways.

Nine states and DC move forward on transportation carbon pricing alliance

Nine Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, plus the District of Columbia, announced Tuesday that they would design a joint climate strategy over the next year and then put it up for state-by-state adoption. The policy will, according to the joint announcement, “reduce carbon emissions from the combustion of transportation fuels through a cap-and-invest program or other pricing mechanism, and allow each … jurisdiction to invest proceeds from the program into low-carbon and more resilient transportation infrastructure.”