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Improving the Health of Near Highway Communities
There is now considerable evidence that ultrafine particles (UFP) are associated with substantial health impacts. Due to levels of UFP being drastically elevated in areas within a close proximity of the highway, it is disproportionally low-income and minority populations that are at greater risk. Improving the Health of Highway Communities is a project intent on improving health protections for susceptible populations in two specific Boston locales: Chinatown and Somerville. Through the collaboration of Tufts University, Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC), Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), Chinese Progressive Association (CPA), and Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership (STEP), the project aims to use the volume of knowledge on the association between freeway pollution exposure and health outcomes, as well as specific air pollution monitoring data collected during the CAFEH study, to influence and enact changes in development and policy in these two areas.
The first phase of the project is an accumulation of expertise in the areas of highway air pollution and exposure assessment. The second phase is utilizing the accumulated knowledge to enact the necessary changes. In Chinatown, the project hopes to influence the design of new housing complexes and public use spaces to reduce the exposure of residents to UFP and other off-highway pollutants. In Somerville, the project hopes to influence the creation of municipal policies that will reduce the exposure to UFP near highways. The final stage of this project will be the dissemination of results and guidelines, with an intent to spur regional changes in other near highway communities.