Study: Beltway to divert diesel trucks in Sao Paulo improved public health

phys.org | 4/27/2018 | Staff
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A study by researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the University of Sao Paulo revealed that a beltway constructed to divert heavy-duty diesel vehicles traffic in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo has reduced public health damage associated with exposure to diesel. The positive health outcomes of the intervention could guide the formulation of similar transport polices in other cities, where humans and diesel vehicles reside and transit in close proximity.

In densely populated cities like Sao Paulo, many vehicles running on diesel such as commercial trucks, vans and buses circulate right by where people live, causing them to be constantly exposed to high levels of diesel emission. It is critical to manage diesel emission in these cities as diesel emits highly pollutive particulate matter and nitrogen oxides that increase the risk of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, among other illnesses.

Sao - Paulo - Beltway - Areas - Kilometres

In 2010, Sao Paulo constructed a beltway along sparsely populated areas that are 25 kilometres away from the city centre. The original intent of building the beltway was to enable heavy-duty vehicles to bypass the densely populated neighbourhoods, and thereby ease traffic congestion in the inner-city roads.

While the intervention did immediately relieve road congestion by 20 per cent, the NUS researchers found that the effect was short-lived as passenger cars quickly replaced the inner-city road space which the heavy-duty vehicles had left behind. However, the researchers also found that the replacement of heavy-duty diesel vehicles with gasoline-ethanol passenger cars on the inner-city roads resulted in a sustained drop in the level of nitrogen oxides in the air, reducing air pollution in the city even after the traffic congestion rebounded.

Air - Quality - Sao - Paulo - Health

The improved air quality in Sao Paulo also translated into long-lasting positive health outcomes for its residents. The researchers observed that the compositional change in traffic in the inner-city roads resulting...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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