May 3, 2013


Air Pollution Exposure and Physical Activity in Transportation Corridors


1:40pm - 3:00pm


1605 Tilia, Room 1103, West Village


This presentation will provide an overview of studies Dr. Houston conducted in three low-income communities in Los Angeles using mobile tracking devices to investigate the relationship of activity patterns, travel, air pollution exposure, and  physical activity.  The Harbor Communities Time Location Study (HCTLS) utilized portable Global Positioning Systems (GPS) devices to track the diurnal patterns and traffic exposure of residents of communities near the Los Angeles–Long Beach port complex and demonstrate methodologies to more precisely characterize exposure locations and to identify facility, roadway, and land use types of the greatest concern for mitigation efforts.  The Boyle Heights Activity and Exposure Study (BHAES) utilized GPS-based location tracking combined with portable air pollution monitoring to provide a more complete, diurnal characterization of air pollution exposures for residents of Boyle Heights, a neighborhood near downtown Los Angeles which experiences substantial port-related diesel truck traffic.  The Exposition Light Rail Line Study (Expo) utilized simultaneous accelerometer–GPS monitoring to characterize the influence of environmental and behavioral factors on physical activity of residents of south Los Angeles, a predominately low-income and non-white community.

Results demonstrate that mobile tracking technologies provide valuable tools for characterizing the influence of environmental and behavioral factors on air pollution exposure and physical activity in transportation corridors.

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Douglas Houston (BA, University of Texas, Austin; MA, PhD, UC Los Angeles) is an Assistant Professor of Planning, Policy, and Design at the University of California, Irvine.  His research focuses on the environmental and health implications of urban development and transportation systems. His recent work has appeared in the Journal of Transport Geography, Environment and Planning A, and the American Journal of Public Health and assesses the environmental and land use implications of vehicle-related air pollution for residents of goods movement corridors and to evaluate the implications of compact development and transit investments on travel behavior and activity patterns. This work has received support from the California Air Resources Board, the California Department of Transportation, the University of California Transportation Center, and the California Endowment and uses travel surveys and real-time location and pollution tracking techniques to inform policies seeking to make neighborhoods more compact, mixed-use, and transit accessible in hopes of reducing vehicle travel and associated air pollution.

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