Carmageddon or Carmaheaven? Air Quality Results of a Freeway Closure

We all suspect that the air quality near freeways probably isn’t the best.  But did you know that shutting down one small section of a freeway could create better air quality up to a hundred miles away?

In the latest issue of ACCESS Magazine, Arthur Winer, Yifang Zhu, and Suzanne Paulson show that both local and regional air quality dramatically improved during the 405 freeway closure in their article, “Carmageddon or Carmaheaven? Air Quality Results of a Freeway Closure.” The authors measured emissions and air pollutants both near the freeway closure and several miles away. They found that the reduced traffic levels dramatically improved both the local and regional air quality, up to one hundred miles away. To improve local and regional air quality on a more permanent basis, the authors urge policy makers to promote ultra-low and zero-emissions vehicles and provide alternatives to single-occupancy driving.