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Researchers discover links between city walkability and air pollution exposure
Date:11/2/2009

concentrations reach their highest levels. Thus, reductions in vehicle emissions can benefit people who live near high-traffic areas and also people living in less dense areas."

Creating neighborhoods that are more walkable and that allow for alternative travel modes such as walking, biking or public transportation is one approach to reducing motor vehicle emissions, the study suggests. Another approach is reducing emissions per vehicle, for example through mandated emission standards. The research did not study conditions for individual people, but points out that high-rise buildings may allow people to live in walkable neighborhoods while being somewhat removed from street-level vehicle emissions.

The study's new findings indicate that neighborhood design is an important consideration for improving pollution levels and providing opportunities for daily physical activity. The study identified neighborhoods that are walkable yet have low levels of pollution, but those neighborhoods encompass a very small percentage of the population. Researchers hope that future investigation of those "win-win" neighborhoods will suggest urban design features that could usefully be applied elsewhere.

In the future, the researchers hope to investigate changes over time in pollution and walkability, and also study other urban areas to see how spatial patterns may differ elsewhere.


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Contact: Patty Mattern
mattern@umn.edu
612-624-2801
University of Minnesota
Source:Eurekalert

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