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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(2), 2009-2025; doi:10.3390/ijerph120202009

School Locations and Traffic Emissions — Environmental (In)Justice Findings Using a New Screening Method

1
Institute for Transport Planning and Logistics, Hamburg University of Technology, 21071 Hamburg, Germany
2
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Stephen Thomas, Devon Payne-Sturges, Christiane Bunge and Kenneth Olden
Received: 10 November 2014 / Accepted: 28 January 2015 / Published: 11 February 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eliminating Health Disparities to Achieve Health Equity)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [916 KB, uploaded 11 February 2015]   |  

Abstract

It has been shown that the location of schools near heavily trafficked roads can have detrimental effects on the health of children attending those schools. It is therefore desirable to screen both existing school locations and potential new school sites to assess either the need for remedial measures or suitability for the intended use. Current screening tools and public guidance on school siting are either too coarse in their spatial resolution for assessing individual sites or are highly resource intensive in their execution (e.g., through dispersion modeling). We propose a new method to help bridge the gap between these two approaches. Using this method, we also examine the public K-12 schools in the Sacramento Area Council of Governments Region, California (USA) from an environmental justice perspective. We find that PM2.5 emissions from road traffic affecting a school site are significantly positively correlated with the following metrics: percent share of Black, Hispanic and multi-ethnic students, percent share of students eligible for subsidized meals. The emissions metric correlates negatively with the schools’ Academic Performance Index, the share of White students and average parental education levels. Our PM2.5 metric also correlates with the traffic related, census tract level screening indicators from the California Communities Environmental Health Screening Tool and the tool’s tract level rate of asthma related emergency department visits. View Full-Text
Keywords: school siting; children’s health; transport emissions; PM2.5; road traffic; screening; environmental justice; California school siting; children’s health; transport emissions; PM2.5; road traffic; screening; environmental justice; California
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Gaffron, P.; Niemeier, D. School Locations and Traffic Emissions — Environmental (In)Justice Findings Using a New Screening Method. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 2009-2025.

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