Transportation plays a vital role
in promoting economic growth and development of any city. Due to increase in
population, because of both natural causes and migration from smaller cities to
urban cities, the transportation demand rises significantly. Availability of motorized
vehicles increases household income, increase in commercial as well as industrial
activities, which further adds to transport demand. But transportation is one
of the major causes of air pollution. Vehicles emit particulate matter and other
gases which deteriorates air quality which can cause respiratory problems in densely
populated areas. Also, owning a vehicle results in physical inactivity in some
cases, resulting obesity which is associated with many diseases. Thus, transit
has direct influence on human health. Several studies had been carried out in
past to correlate between transit and public well being.
Transit effect on Air Quality
Air pollution is major concern in
many urban cities. There are many sources to air pollution may industrial,
commercial and residential. In Toronto, transportation alone is responsible for
35% emission of pollutants (Topalovic et al., 2012). These particles are
responsible for various diseases like Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI), asthma,
cardiac illness and cancer. Areas with dense population, more trip generation
rate are more vulnerable to air pollution related health conditions.
According to Ling et al., (2010) more
green areas and forest can help in increasing ambient air quality. Based on
findings of his study, Transit Oriented Development approach in urban areas and
encouraging the use of public transport can help reducing the pollutants emission
and green house gases. Use of transit bring about decline in traffic congestion
and facilitates lower emission rates.
Light rail transits (LRT) are the
best solution to reduce traffic congestion and reduce air pollutants as its capacity
to accommodate an extensive number of travelers, and increased accessibility. Local
transit can reduce the total vehicle use by 2-12% where as LRT may be able to
reduce the total vehicle use by 18-58% (Topalovic et al., 2012).