2011 - Research

A Methodology to Measure Emissions Generated by Automobile Trips to Schools Participating in Safe Routes to School

Vehicular emissions in close proximity to schools can have detrimental health effects on children. The Safe Routes to School program claims to improve air quality through implementation due to reduced volume of traffic generated to schools.

  • While a reduced volume of traffic may reduce the amount of emitted pollutants, the program lacks the ability to quantitatively track this air quality improvement.
  • A school participating in the Safe Routes to School program was selected based off of health risks associated with a high vehicular volume and the proximity of that traffic to the school. A survey was utilized to generate a vehicle inventory of faculty and parent drivers of this school. The inventory was applied to EPA equations to demonstrate the amount of emissions generated on a daily, weekly, monthly and school year basis. The equation was successful in generating quantitative data that demonstrate the total emissions generated by the school.
  • EPA equations can establish pre-emission levels versus post-emissions levels. This comparison demonstrates the effect the program has on reducing emission levels of traffic generated to the school. Once applied on a larger scale, trends and applicability of the program in different regions, demographic areas and community types (rural, suburban and urban) can be identified.
  • This identification will enable Safe Routes to School users to invest in individual initiatives that have been successful in similar areas.

Rickman, Joshua C. "A Methodology to Measure Emissions Generated by Automobile Trips to Schools Participating in Safe Routes to School." Landscape Architecture & Regional Planning Masters Projects. Paper 28 (2011).