Sunday, June 19, 2011

How Bad is Spending Time on the Road?

It is killing me, says a report in May, 2011, in Slate Magazine, which examined the social intricacies linking the travel patterns in growing number of cities. Some excerpts from the report are listed below.

Commuting is a migraine-inducing life-suck—a mundane task about as pleasurable as assembling flat-pack furniture or getting your license renewed, and you have to do it every day. If you are commuting, you are not spending quality time with your loved ones. You are not exercising, doing challenging work, having sex, petting your dog, or playing with your kids (or your Wii). You are not doing any of the things that make human beings happy. Instead, you are getting nauseous on a bus, jostled on a train, or cut off in traffic.

The Clean Air Initiative in Manila, Philippines, released "Walkability Assessment in 13 Asian Cities". The average walkability rating for the 13 cities was 58 out of 100. Cities included in the survey are Cebu, Davao and Manila (Philippines), Colombo (Sri Lanka), Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh (Vietnam), Hong Kong and Lanzhou (China), Jakarta (Indonesia), Karachi (Pakistan), Kathmandu (Nepal), Kota (India) and Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia).

“A sad fact is that there is a wide gap between investments made by cities for pedestrians and for motorized vehicles. Asian cities have traditionally been cities of walkers. If pedestrian facilities are more integrated and made comfortable, more people will choose to walk instead of drive resulting to less fuel consumption and less air pollution,” says Bert Fabian, Transport Program Manager of the Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities.

Which direction are we heading? These do not include the impacts due to daily exposure to high and toxic emissions from the vehicle exhaust and the road dust.

BBC ran an article on June 9th, 2009, "Road particles (PM) pose higher health risk". In a growing number of cities, especially in the developing countries, along the major roads, the contribution of transport sector is the main culprit to pollution exposure problems (source apportionment).

Previous posts on transport emissions, air pollution, and health

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