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Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Archive for January 7th, 2008

Effect of exposure to traffic on lung development from 10 to 18 years of age: a cohort

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This study was published a year ago.

Experts already know toxic traffic fumes can trigger lung conditions such as asthma. But new research suggests pollution can stop the lung from growing to its full potential, even in children who are otherwise healthy. Researchers at the University of Southern California have examined the lung function of 3,677 children annually from the age of 10 until they reached 18. Those who had lived within 500 metres of a motorway had much poorer lung function at the age of 18 than those who had lived 1,500 meters away or more, even when factors such as smoking in the home were taken into account. Scientists do not know exactly how air pollution hampers lung development, but they believe lung inflammation in response to daily irritation by air pollutants may play a role. As background air quality did not alter the picture, children living in the countryside but close to a main road would also be at risk, the researchers add. Children living close to big roads in cities with high levels of background air pollution were likely to be at a greater risk of lung problems, however, because of the double effect on their lungs, they suggest.

Source: Effect of exposure to traffic on lung development from 10 to 18 years of age: a cohort study.”
Dr W James Gauderman PhD, Hita Vora MS, Prof Rob McConnell MD, Kiros Berhane PhD, Prof Frank Gilliland MD, Prof Duncan !omas PhD, Fred Lurmann MS, Edward Avol MS, Nino Kunzli MD, Michael Jerrett PhD and Prof John Peters MD.

Lancet Early Online Publication, 26 January 2007.

The report is available for free on-line at:

Written by Stephen Rees

January 7, 2008 at 7:58 pm

Posted in air pollution

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Safer roundabouts sprouting up all over New York, nation

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Associated Press in the Boston Globe

Roundabouts have been covered extensively in this blog, because while Britain has been using them for years to reduce collisions at intersections, the “not invented here” syndrome has kept them out of most North American cities. ICBC actively promoted them for some years – and has an impressive data set to back up the experience. But talk to many City engineers and they will be dismissive – and, mostly, appallingly ignorant. And will repeat twaddle like “drivers here will never understand them”, which always prompts me to ask what is so different to drivers “here” than North Vancouver, or Agassiz, or Pemberton?

At intersections with stop signs or traffic lights, the most common — and serious — accidents are right-angle, left-turn, or head-on collisions that can be severe because vehicles may be moving fast. Roundabout virtually eliminate those types of crashes because vehicles all travel in the same direction.

Roundabouts also tend to keep cars moving steadily in all directions. That cuts down on fuel-wasting stop-and-go traffic and reduces air pollution, giving planners another reason to use them

The Federal Highway Administration — which oversees federal money spent on highway construction and maintenance — estimates 150 to 250 roundabouts are being built each year and supports a goal to raise that to roughly 1,000 per year, said Doug Hecox, an agency spokesman.

So my hope is that since most of our traffic engineers seem to keep their eyes on what happens in the US we will at long last see some movement on reducing intersection collisions here. And the first and easiest thing to do is to change the signs and pavement markings at existing traffic circles.

Written by Stephen Rees

January 7, 2008 at 9:48 am

Posted in Traffic