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Near-Road Air Pollution Pilot Study

Black Carbon (BC) containing particles are produced by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels. Diesel engines create much more than cars so in cities they are a good indicator of diesel related traffic pollution. No standard exists yet for outside air. As a reference, the Netherlands has proposed a standard for workers exposed to diesel exhaust of 1400 ng/m3.

Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) such as nitrogen monoxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) are emitted in vehicle exhaust and other combustion sources. Diesel engines create much more than cars so in cities they are a good indicator of diesel related traffic pollution. The 2020 annual Canada Ambient Air Quality Standard for NO2 is 17 parts per billion (ppb).

Ultrafine Particles (UFP) are the smallest airborne particle with diameters less than 100 nanometres. In cities they are emitted by vehicles and other combustion sources but can also be produced naturally. No air quality standard exists yet. As a reference, clean indoor air typically contains less than 5000 UFP particles/cm3.

Near-Road Air Pollution Pilot Study

SOCAAR, in collaboration with Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, and Metro Vancouver conducted a two-year study into traffic-related pollutant concentrations near major roadways to evaluate the potential impacts on Canadians.

Download the final report of the pilot study and its appendices.

A summary report is also available in English and French.

Following the publication of the study's results, a national near road monitoring workshop was held in November 2019. It attracted participants from federal, provincial, regional and municipal government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and academia.

Breakout discussions identified many ways to further mobilize and follow-up on the findings from this study. These are compiled in this report in terms of 1) ways stakeholders can work together to reduce exposure, and 2) recommended follow-up actions.

This infographic describes the main results of the pilot study.

A short video presentation of the study and its findings is available in English and French.

Some examples of the media coverage of the study.

Press: The Globe and Mail, Vancouver Courier, Toronto Star

TV: CBC

Radio: CBC Radio, Ici Radio-Canada

Web: Global News, blogTO, Truck News 

NR_Report

Near-Road Air Pollution Pilot Study

SOCAAR, in collaboration with Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, and Metro Vancouver conducted a two-year study into traffic-related pollutant concentrations near major roadways to evaluate the potential impacts on Canadians. This summary report presents the study's results as well as recommandations to mitigate the impact of air pollution on health. Learn More

Video

Summary Report

PDF / 1 MB

(English) (French)

Full Report

PDF / 8 MB

(English only)

Near-Road Air Pollution Pilot Study

SOCAAR, in collaboration with Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, and Metro Vancouver conducted a two-year study into traffic-related pollutant concentrations near major roadways to evaluate the potential impacts on Canadians. This summary report presents the study's results as well as recommandations to mitigate the impact of air pollution on health. Learn More

Workshop on Near-Road Air Pollution

Recommendations_cover

Following the publication of the Near-Road Air Pollution Pilot Study, a national near road monitoring workshop was held in November 2019. It attracted participants from federal, provincial, regional and municipal government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and academia.

Breakout discussions identified many ways to further mobilize and follow-up on the findings from this study. These are compiled in this report in terms of 1) ways stakeholders can work together to reduce exposure, and 2) recommended follow-up actions.

Identifying Pollutant Sources

The pollutant mix people are exposed to is the result of emissions from many pollutant sources. We are measuring the detailed chemical composition of this mixture and then applying statistical data mining to identify the sources (indoor as well as outdoor). We then unravel their respective contributions and how particles change over time.

Healthy Living in Cities and Beyond

We are using different tools to estimate the exposure to air pollution and how it changes in space and time. We support cities as well as communities outside major urban areas to develop and implement air quality monitoring capacities. We notably help them better assess the levels of air pollutants by deploying networks of portable monitoring devices, AirSENCETM, that we developed in collaboration with AUG Signals. 

Linking Emissions and Health

Air pollution is the top environmental burden on health, contributing to over eight million premature deaths globally per year. We are investigating mechanisms through which exposure to air pollution is connected to different adverse health outcomes. We are evaluating the relative toxicity of different particle sources and how these effects vary across the globe.

Climate Impacts

Aerosol particles in the atmosphere can have both direct and indirect impacts on climate. We are investigating how the optical properties of particles are influenced by their composition and mixing state. We are also examining the contributions of different pollution sources to climate change.

The pollutant mix people are exposed to is the result of emissions from many pollutant sources. We are measuring the detailed chemical composition of this mixture and then applying statistical data mining to identify the sources (indoor as well as outdoor). We then unravel their respective contributions and how particles change over time.

We are using different tools to estimate the exposure from to air pollution and how it changes in space and time. We support cities and communities outside major urban areas to develop and implement air quality monitoring capacities. We notably help them better assess the levels of air pollutants by deploying networks of portable monitoring devices, AirSENCETM, that we developed in collaboration with AUG Signals. 

Air pollution is the top environmental burden on health, contributing to over eight million premature deaths globally per year. We are investigating mechanisms through which exposure to air pollution is connected to different adverse health outcomes. We are evaluating the relative toxicity of different particle sources and how these effects vary across the globe.

Aerosol particles in the atmosphere can have both direct and indirect impacts on climate. We are investigating how the optical properties of particles are influenced by their composition and mixing state. We are also examining the contributions of different pollution sources to climate change.