Proposed Methodology for Estimating the Impact of Highway Improvements on Urban Air Pollution

Report No: 71-R2

Published in 1971

About the report:

The aim of this methodology is to indicate the expected change in ambient air quality in the vicinity of a highway improvement and in the total background level of urban air pollution resulting from the highway improvement. Both the jurisdiction in which it is located and groups living adjacent to the proposed improvement should be made aware of the total and relative change to be expected. This change should be related to levels of air pollution which have known effects on human, animal, and crop health, property values, and activity operating costs such as cleaning and air filtering in urban areas. If the construction of a highway network will itself lend to air pollution exceeding established air quality standards, or in conjunction with the land uses it encourages will exceed such standards, the local jurisdictions should be aware of the tradeoffs between highway and other types of pollution needed to stay below the standards set for the area. In addition, the procedure for estimating vehicle emission levels and concentrations on the improvement right-of-way can also be used to estimate the effects of air pollution on driver behavior and highway safety.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


  • Wallace E. Reed

Last updated: February 9, 2024

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